You may have heard about muscle confusion. If you haven’t, read on. Muscle confusion is a great way to reduce your risk of injury (caused by the repetition of doing the same exercise day after day after day) as well as keeping you motivated and interested in working and and staying fit. It varies up your “routine” by making it, well, less routine.
Muscle confusion is great for those of you who have settled into a three-times-or-more-a-week regimen, have been consistent for a couple of months at it, and have increased your intensity. Also known as cross training, muscle confusion benefits you most by engaging a variety of muscle groups. Running’s great for your lower body and cardio system, but swimming, or kettle bell workouts or rowing obviously works out your upper body. And vice versa: if all you ever do is bench press and curls at the gym, you could look like those guys in college who appear to be ripping out of their shirts, but walk around on peg legs that have never lifted a weight. It looks funny, but also tells you they’re not getting the benefits of a truly full-body workout.
Muscles and joints can become stressed if they do the same thing day in and day out. Once your body becomes efficient at doing a certain type of exercise, instead of continuing to improve, you start to plateau. It’s that frustrating stage when interest in working out and staying fit starts to wane, because the benefits come more slowly than at the beginning. Cross training “confuses” your body, in a good way, to shake it awake like you did when you started working out for the first time. It just keeps repeating the best parts of that, which keeps the gains you make coming.
My FLEXability workout DVD works all of your body’s systems. Your cardiovascular system benefits from the constant flow of movement that increases the heart rate for extended periods of time. Pushups, squats, lunges, and isometric exercises build strength. Endurance moves lighten the weight, but demand high reps. And flexibility involves important stretching routines that lengthen muscles and help them recover and help prevent injuries. The beauty of the FLEXability DVD is that you can mix and match different chapters to confuse your muscles with different combinations of exercises.
What are your favorite exercises? What are your least favorite? I like anything that improves my fitness and shows results. I look forward to hearing from you about yours!