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Muscle Memory or Muscle Confusion?

If you walk into the gym, you will inevitably see, the same people, working out on the same machines. The same ladies going for the same fitness classes. If you ask them, why don’t you use the rowing machine instead, or go for a dance class – they will say, oh, I am not good at it.

It is for this very reason that you should do the things you do not like, or are not good at.

You see, if you do the same workout every day or week then over time your body and muscles will develop a memory, called muscle memory. If you’re just working out to get  a sweat, and not too fussed about how your body looks, that’s fine. But if you are working out to have the perfectly sculpted and toned body that folks drool over in magazines, then muscle memory will be your undoing! Because if you do the same thing every time you will not challenge the muscles as much as you did, the first time you worked out. Your body already knows how to move in the way you are exercising. You need to mix it up and change it up.

Today I went for a run up Gasing Hill. It really knocked the air out of my lungs and made me feel weak – not a condition I like feeling or being in, but it was good for me. You see, my weakness is running in 1. the heat, and 2. uphill. Both of which I will keep challenging my body to do, so that I can improve my performance, and I can in fact confuse my body and trip it up, so it does not get too comfortable with what I am doing. Slightly masochistic yes.. but heck, it works! No point cruising through my run on auto pilot without thinking about what I am doing. This is the only way to create muscle confusion instead of muscle memory, and get a ripped body. And as soon as I get good at this, I’m going to go back to climbing or rowing. Something that makes me break a sweat!

Anyway, a good plan would be to look into different ways of doing weights and resistance work. Look into different cardio activities indoors and outdoors. By mixing up the way you do your fitness workout you will not give your muscles a chance to develop a memory and you will start to challenge them and also workout muscles that you may not have before, back when you did the same workout every time.

Having said that, there are still benefits to developing a muscle memory for certain sports. If you are playing a specific sport then you may want to exercise in the same manner every single time so your body does get used to the movement! Take for example squash, tennis or golf.. the more muscle memory the better..

So depending on what your objectives are you should work out accordingly. For general fitness and cardio or strength training, you should always try to confuse the muscles and reduce muscle memory. That’s the best way to a HOT, new body!

What are you views on muscle memory? Should we confuse the muscles or keep doing the things we do? 

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2 Responses to Muscle Memory or Muscle Confusion?

  1. Flabby Less September 16, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    Very true. I personally subscribe to this. Typically I would change my workout routine every 12 weeks.

    • ciki September 17, 2012 at 12:21 am #

      wow.. that’s great.. I change mine monthly and also throw in something different each week if i can;)

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