• Muscle Confusion For Gains

      By Jim Stoppani, Ph.D. Flex

      Periodization refers to the systematic changing of workout variables every few weeks (i.e., weight, reps, sets, rest, exercises) to prevent plateaus in strength and muscle gains. A “newer” style of periodization — undulating periodization, which involves changing variables every workout — has exercise scientists very excited.

      Most exercise scientists think this is an innovative way to train, but Joe Weider has been promoting
      this style of training for decades. It’s called the Weider Muscle Confusion Training Principle. By constantly changing the training variables, this method prevents stagnation and better promotes gains in muscle strength and muscle mass than changing training every few weeks.

      For 12 weeks, researchers from Brazil had trained subjects follow either an undulating periodization program, a standard (linear) periodization program or a consistent program of 8-10 reps per set that was not periodized. The training program consisted of a two-day split with three or four total training days per week.

      They reported that the group following the undulating (muscle confusion) program increased their bench-press strength by about 60 pounds, almost 200% more than the linear periodization and the nonperiodized programs, which both led to an increase in their bench press by slightly more than 20 pounds. The undulating program also increased the subjects’ strength on the leg press by a staggering 275 pounds (400% more than the nonperiodized program) and leg-press strength by about 65 pounds (over 300% more than the linear program, which increased by 55 pounds).

      This study shows that the Weider Muscle Confusion Training Principle is one of the best ways to increase muscle strength. None of the subjects gained significant muscle mass, likely because the training programs were not bodybuilding-style regimens, but rather sport-conditioning programs. Therefore, they did not do enough exercises and total sets for each muscle group to experience decent gains in muscle mass. However, if you used muscle confusion (undulating periodization) in a bodybuilding workout, you would probably make serious gains in both strength and size.

      Change the weight you use and the corresponding rep ranges the weight allows. For example, when training legs, use light weight and high reps (12-15) one workout, heavy weight and low reps (5-7) the next leg workout, very light weight and very high reps (20-30) the following workout, and then moderate weight and moderate reps (8-10) in the session after that. Keep cycling your weight and rep ranges in a similar fashion every workout.

      Source: http://www.flexonline.com/training/g...e-and-strength
      Comments 3 Comments
      1. Cdavis's Avatar
        Cdavis -
        Progressive overload is ultimately needed for lean mass gains. However, anecdotally, and now with some scientific support, it seems like very frequent training variation may help speed up lean mass accrual (assuming strength increases is correlating with muscle growth).

        I don't agree with Dr. Stoppani's recommendation to use massive rep range variation with exercise variation. Layne Norton and others have made good arguments for using 5-7 reps to concentric failure as a primary hypertrophy base (for tension stimulus) with higher rep training (10-12) as a secondary rep range for (fatigue stimulus) to increase TUT while still utilizing a good percentage of muscle fibers. There is hardly ever a reason to use 20-30 reps is a hypertrophy program. It is not a good hypertrophy range for numerous, very well studied and elucidated reasons that have been discussed ad nauseum.

        What would be better than Dr. Stoppani's recommendation here, would be to use 3 or 4 primary exercises for each body part and cycle them WHILE USING PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD. Thta is the key. Add weight to the bar with each cycle and you have the benefits of exercise variation/novel stimulation with progressive overload.
      1. dcooper's Avatar
        dcooper -
        Just refer to Serious Growth 2 and Big Beyond Belief SG 3. Put out by Leo Costa Jr. Allegedly written by Jon Olsen & Phil Hernon. Apparently, Hernon's personal routine and how he trains his clients is similar to BBB. SG 4, Titan Training, came later. All good stuff.
      1. SixandaHalf's Avatar
        SixandaHalf -
        ^ My thoughts exactly. It can be a pain to log each cycle but otherwise I can see people just going in circles and lifting the same weight second time around and so on. I want to incorporate this with PO and Im pretty excited about it actually :D
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