So as you all know, I have a Coaching Via Email program and a whole heap of ladies (and a few gentlemen are about to start, too) are following it and getting just about the most tremendous results you could hope for.
The email program is really the next best thing to training with me in person at Doherty’s (the world’s greatest) Gym in Brunswick, and it builds towards the creation of a custom training program that you can follow for as long as you like with your choice of exercises. Depending on the equipment available, you might go up to forty days without ever repeating the same routine. I was writing about the benefits of keeping variety in the program in this way, and it occurred to me that what I’ve worked into the program could be considered similar to the theory of “muscle confusion”.
The theory behind muscle confusion is that you have keep the muscles “confused”, and not let them get used to what you’re doing. Honestly… it’s just another marketing angle used to sell exercise programs, but there is some truth to it in essence. If you just did the same routine, with the same amount of resistance, for the same amount of reps, within the same amount of time… you’d adapt to it and stop seeing results. Also known as a plateau.
However, that’s not to say that you need to keep completely changing your routine or your approach. You could use the same very simple combination of exercises, but mix up the rep ranges, the level of resistance, the amount of time between sets and so on, and as long as you are also eating right you should expect to see continued results. It’s not due to “confusion”, but simply because you are forcing (and allowing through appropriate fuelling) the body to continue to adapt.
So in this program, we mix up our rep ranges, we change the angles of major pushing and pulling movements, we cycle through different accessory exercises, and we even switch up the order and timing of our exercies by using pre and post fatigue supersets when and where we see fit to do so. All of this would fit nicely under the “muscle confusion” marketing banner, but really it’s as simple as this…
All of this stuff is good, so let’s do all of it.
Heavier weights for lower reps is good. More reps with relatively lighter weights is good. Barbell exercises, dumbbell exercises, leverage machines, cable machines… all are good. Put these together strategically in the form of a comprehensive training program to produce a specific result and they become excellent.