Muscles accommodate to a specific type of stress ("habituate" or "plateau") when you continually apply the same stress to your muscles over time, so you must constantly vary exercises, sets, reps and weight to avoid accommodation – Fred Hatfield describing Joe Weider’s “Muscle Confusion Principle”

    

     Look at what the author is saying: “Muscles accommodate to a specific type of stress when you continually apply the same stress to your muscles over time…”  So let’s say you’ve been doing 3 sets of 5 on bench.  Wouldn’t a new stress be 4 sets of 5?  Or maybe you could increase the weight and do 5 sets of 3?  That’d be a new stress, too.  Looky there, you’ve just altered your sets, reps, and weight with that last idea – a whole new stress to accommodate. 

     But why then do I see people lying on the ground doing cable curls and squatting concentration curls between their knees?  Does squatting somehow help bicep contraction?!  BECAUSE ALL THEY’VE PAID ATTENTION TO WAS THE “constantly vary exercises” BIT.  They don’t even know where the term “muscle confusion” originated, but they see it all over the place with Muscle Rags, P90X, and Crossfit.  Blasphemy I say!  I don’t even care for Weider’s thoughts on the Iron Game, but at least get your facts straight!  These gym-rats do this crap because they think it’s what MUST be done, and they’re running out of ideas on how to confuse a muscle, as if a muscle could be confused! 

     So, why does varying exercises help (when it’s not done in the above fashion)?  Well, let’s say you’re bench numbers are slowing down, and you think it might be because your triceps are weak.  You might try close-grip benching for a while before coming back to regular benching.  That didn’t involve tricep pushdowns or skull crushers (though they can sometimes be handy), and it was a simple change; nothing drastic!  The only other reason for varying exercises is out of boredom, which is another big reason I think most gym-rats do the crazy things they do.  I can’t argue there, except that progress is harder to track and harder to come by.

Views: 37

Comment

You need to be a member of Art of Manliness to add comments!

Join Art of Manliness

Comment by Carl Monster on March 3, 2011 at 1:51pm
but laying-on-the-ground cable curls are so relaxing....lol

Latest Activity

Michael J. K. left a comment for Rusty Rogers
"looking good there Rusty"
3 minutes ago
Shane replied to Padre's discussion Girls in football
"Title IX is overall a good thing. I find it odd that she made QB, "throws like a girl" is a physiological statement. But, good on her for making the cut."
6 minutes ago
Pat Bohm replied to John P's discussion Food Recipe Blogs?
"This is my go-to whenever cooking is involved: http://kirbiecravings.com/recipe-index-visual The mug-cake-things are to die for, and super simple."
8 minutes ago
Padre posted a discussion

Girls in football

I was just watching Sunday Night Football and they had the commercial talking about this high school girl who is the QB for football. Am I just out of step with things or does this just not seem like a good idea. I just do not see how having co-ed sports at higher levels is ever a good idea. Any thoughts?See More
35 minutes ago
Will replied to Christian's discussion 20 year old looking for advice from you "white collar" gents.....is the money worth it?
"I teach.  Money is good, and I get to pick my projects, and I'm doing two things I love:  teaching, and programming.  YMMV."
47 minutes ago
Mark Phillippo updated their profile
1 hour ago
Sean replied to Vytautas's discussion What Do We Learn From History?
"I minored in history at University.  It is my belief from this experience that, on the whole, the people who study the past or who read the old books are the academics, and they of all people are the ones least likely to gain any benefit from…"
3 hours ago
Sean replied to AlanR's discussion Picking up a side hustle - Investing the time and energy before you see a payoff.
"Have a side hustle or two. I used to have more. my main side hustle is being a woodworker and cabinet maker. Unfortunately, there is not much money in it for quality work. Too much competition from Nordic Surprise and their ilk. The woodworkers I…"
3 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service