Muscle Confusion Explained (DOES IT WORK?)

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Muscle confusion is one of those buzzwords that gets thrown around often, and unfortunately, used incorrectly. In this video, I’m going to show you what muscle confusion really is and when it can be a really good thing. At the same time, I’m going to show you what muscle confusion and even functional training are absolutely not.

Often times, in a rush to jump on the latest fitness bandwagon people will adopt a method of training as their own and try to mystify it. Muscle confusion was one of these terms or methods that was borne from a very real and one time helpful way of guiding those that lifted weights to ensure continued progress.

What it was originally and what it always should be is a method of throwing continual challenges at your muscles in order to ensure muscle overload. If you are not providing a challenge to your muscles in some fashion, then are likely to adapt to the stresses you are applying to them and stop adapting in the form of new strength and growth.

The best part about this however is that you can introduce “confusion” to a muscle group with a single set of five pound plates! That’s right. If you are used to lifting a certain amount of weight for a prescribed number of reps, then introducing even another 5 or 10 pounds to the equation can be just the shock the muscles need to respond to your stress in the form of new strength and size.

The same can be said for the manner in which you perform the sets. Maybe you want to alter the tempo at which you do your reps. For instance, in the example shown in this video you can do a pause squat at the bottom of every rep. This demands much more command of the movement and increases the accrued time under tension which can have a much different impact on your legs than a normal paced squat if you aren’t used to training this way.

Even the order in which you perform your exercises can have a huge impact on the stress the muscles will feel from your training. If you always train your compound lifts first in your workout, it is definitely time to switch up the order of your movements. Use a lunge to pre-exhaust the quads a bit before your squats and you will feel an entirely different end result on your leg training just because the order was shuffled.

Regardless of the manner in how you change up the stress, the key thing is that you should always strive to find at least one way in which you can do this. Not in the name of being unique or creating your own pointless circus act in the middle of the gym but rather to ensure progressive overload and giving your muscles a reason to adapt to the stress of your training.

Jumping around and flailing a kettlebell like some magical wizard is more likely to get you killed than it will give you gains. A true understanding of function would steer you clear of this approach. A desire to be different would draw you closer to it. What you need is a blend of creative programming but one that is based in science not science fiction if you want to see results from your hard training. If you are looking for a science based training program that gets you training like an athlete, head to and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System.

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