Muscle Confusion

Ever since P90X exploded onto the workout scene in 2003 it seems like the term “Muscle Confusion” has become a new buzzword in the fitness community. What is muscle confusion though, and does it really work? Certainly many people swear by the results they have obtained by using P90X, but were their results obtained through muscle confusion or through consistently performing a strict and regimented workout routine?

What is muscle Confusion

Tony Horton and the P90X team claim that by using the science of muscle confusion in their training program that they are able to create a training system that eliminates the potential of plateauing and will generate maximum results.

Here’s the true secret of how P90X works: Muscle Confusion. P90X uses targeted training phases so your body keeps adapting and growing. You’ll never “plateau”—which means your body will never get used to the routines, making improvements slow down or even stop.

P90X Team

Is layman’s terms muscle confusion is simply changing a workout routine. The idea is to continue to work different muscles or even the same muscles but in a different way.

Does Muscle Confusion Actually Work?

Whether or not muscle confusion generates superior results to “normal” training is a hotly discussed topic. Certainly people can obtain results using a training program centered around muscle confusion. But are these results a a obtained from the muscle confusion or obtained from practicing a strict workout routine?  Many fitness buffs on the web would argue that the only way to see muscle gains is from progressive overload and that the idea of muscle confusion is a hoax.

Progressive overload is a law that states you must continuously increase the amount of weight or reps lifted each workout in order to increase muscle mass.


In a sense the idea of progressive overload, or continuously increasing the amount of weight or reps lifted each workout, is a form of muscle confusion. Muscle confusion at its core is simply changing a workout routine.  This change could be a result of changing the exercises themselves, the number of sets performs, the number of reps performed, intensity or any other factor of a workout.

Muscle Confusion
To confuse or not to confuse? Photo Credit by NYC Fit

My Recommendation

I would recommend to change your workout up at least once month. Whether you call this change muscle confusion or progressive overload is your call. Most experts seem to agree that a change of some type is necessary to generate optimal results. It is also a good strategy to avoid becoming bored at the gyms as well as gives you a way to target even more muscles in a variety of different ways.

So get out there and start confusing those muscles! And let me know your thoughts below.


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