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Muscle confusion

Brent D.

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To all experienced in weight training,

I have an interesting question that begs for the personal experience of others.

Should a person consistently change specific exercises for each major muscle group or stick to very specific fundamental exercises to achieve the greatest overall strength gains? The fastest strength gains are what I am looking for.

Please note what works for you and why you think it works.

Thanks!

Brent D.
 

MikeS

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I think for good strength and size gains you have to stick to the same heavy basic exercises for large muscle group. Its the best way to get strong it them and thus the resulting size also. Also its the best way to gauge your progress-how can you do that if you always do different exercises?
You can switch around some of the 'finishers' done for a muscle group after the heavy stuff.
 

MAINEVENT

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my best gains

Have been from sticking with the basics but keeping with few sets and using drop sets. I use about 3 different workouts and repeat them every 3 weeks. For example (week 1 chest- bar work/ week 2-db work/ week 3- combo). I think for me though, it is more to keep my mind active and not get so bored, plus hitting the muscle at different angles.?????
 

xcelbeyond

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Well just because I have all the posts doesn't mean I know it all. :D I just try and keep a dialog going and keep it civil around here.

You don't really state if your main goal is strength, size or both - so I'll assume it's strength. My training has been gear towards increasing LBM so here's my thoughts:

1) Increased muscle size is a direct correlation of increasing the load placed on the body (lifting with "heavy" weights)

2) Like MikeS said (we're both "ol' school"), you need to perform heavy "basic" compound movements like bench press, squats, and deads/bent-over-rows.

3) It's been my experience that my body does "adjust" to an exercise. So I mix up exercises for non-basic exercises. Like do legs curls for a couple months then switch to stiff-legged deads for next series.

Now I know many of you will argue that inclines build the chest more than flat bench. I just know that I cannot press as much weight on incline as I can flat. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do incline - it does help develop upper chest more than flat. I've developed some "bad" shoulders over the years but am still continuing to progressively add more weight to my flat bench. Even 30 degrees from horizontal is too steep an angle and bothers my shoulders. Since I have a home gym, I've got an 8-inch block that I put under the bench and that "really" seems to hit my upper chest without bothering my shoulders.

I'm beginning to ramble-on now :(

xcel
 
Last edited:

PHIL HERNON

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Chest muscles

You have the pec major and the pec minor. When you do inclines, you are working more shoulder than pec major, unless you cheat and arc your body into a "flat bench position", so why not just do flat bench. The upper chest can "appear" bigger by working the pec minor. This has to be done on a dip bar with elbows locked and doing a reverse shrug motion. This can also be done on the flat bench.
Leg curls, with the rotation at the knee as opposed to stiff legged dead where the rotation is at the hip, is working far fewer muscle fibres.
Strength and muscle size go hand in hand.
 

LATS

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phil, is it any wonder why i love ya lol. i completely believe that inclines are basically worthless.. i have had this discussion before on other boards and you would have thought that i shot the pope. i believe that all pec work should be done in your strongest position..a little incline is fine (10 degress or so) but, for the most part it should be done on a flat bench..anyway, i believe that the muscle confusion thing is highly overstated..like the muscle has a brain of its own..the most important thing is overload in my opinion..but, how can ya overload if you are constantly taking the movement away to "confuse" the muscle?? the only way to get overload is to stick to the basic exercises that allow you to handle the most weight...day after day..BUT, I COULD BE WRONG..LOL
 

PHIL HERNON

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Damn Big sexy

Thats what I wanted to say!!!! People look at me all sideways when I bad mouth inclines, but never like I shot the Pope. LAts, you and I should write a book!!! With Brent D's help of course.
 

LATS

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YEAH. I HAD A SPECIAL DIP BAR MADE FOR MY GYM BY ELITE FITNESS.. it starts touching then v's out to a width that is way to wide lol. but, dips are a great pec builder but, most people cheat and do not get a long enough range of motion. i also just orderedf a decline adjustable bench for my home gym..i always thought of it this way...one tendon.. so use the most amount of weight your body will allow and inclines will not allow this because of too much shoulder involvement.. but, you see guys declining a tremendous amount of weight and having great upper pecs...all ya have to do is the math lol. in the gym i owned i had a guy there who had great pec.his plates on his car even said "pecman", he did flat dumbell work and heavy declines in a smith rack or freebar..he would finish with high rep dips...i asked him why he did not do inclines (just to get his reaction) he said "all i get is sore shoulders..just my front delts" he did not know the real reason why but, he figured it out on his own..and i would have killed for his upper pecs... as for the book..only if i am on the cover..pale, excessive bodyfat, and my fly strategically laid open....pulitzer here we come!!!
 

MikeS

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We are getting off course here, but Id like to expand some opinion on some of this! I think higher inclines are a bit too much shoulder, so I go at about 15degrees-and very important, bring the bar to the clavicle and no lower. Or else you may as well do flats. This crushes the up chest! And I agree for the barbell declines are way better than barbell flat, which because of the shoulder rotation causes too much stress and work to that area, and therfore minimize the action of the pecs. But on the Smith machine flats are great if bar is brought to the lower pec-the shoulder wont rotate and its all chest. Dips are great too-have you buddy hold your feet way behind you; head down-chin in chest; back rounded; med-wide grip.
 

raybravo

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always used to do a lot of inclines , low incline though , and that worked better than flat press becos my triceps were giving out faster with the flat press .
as far as the variation goes , i dont concentrate much on the variation ,but when i cant load weight more , then i start working the rotator cuff harder and do flyes for a few weeks , then i'm able to go up 10 pounds or so my bench every time . i'm kinda convinced u dont need to switch a lot of exercises , its basically progessive resistance which is important .
 

inclines500

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Going the other way.

I have to go the other way on the inclines for chest thing. I have concentrated on inclines most of my lifting years and I believe my chest development is the ending results. I will not argue that it does hit the shoulders a bit and I also agree that the incline of the bench should be around 20-30 degrees. Any steeper and it does become a worthless movement. I don't have pics of my chest so I can't back up what my development is, but I do incline in the 500s and of course that kind of weight will also add the muscle.

I certainly don't down the declines and the dips as I use both. For declines though I take a flat bench and put a quarter or two under the end of it. Just that slight decline works great. Dorian mentioned that in an article years ago and I've used it ever since.
 

Paul Bunyan

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Finally a strength question

Since I compete in powerlifting I have good knowledge on gaining strength. You can find some excellent info on www.elitefts.com. I am a national champion and the methods discussed at elitefts are the one s that took me to that level.

PB
 

slide

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Re: Chest muscles

PHIL HERNON said:
You have the pec major and the pec minor. When you do inclines, you are working more shoulder than pec major, unless you cheat and arc your body into a "flat bench position", so why not just do flat bench.
A guy in the gym does this exact thing...arches his back so much while doing inclines, that it litterally looks like he's doing flat bench. I remember you posting this a little bit ago so I asked him about why he arches so much, but I got a blank stare and an "I dont know."

I have switched it up but its probably more of because I dont know what Im doing than anything else. I think I get to a point where I think if I 'try' this and switch it up, Ill confuse the muscle and grow even more. :confused: I think I justify this by the level of soreness after the workout(s). Essentially not knowing any better and reading the magazines has probably played a role in this (in the sense that I see something 'different' and switch it up). Ignorance is bliss, I guess. :rolleyes: I dont know why I do this as I constantly read on this board from the "big boys" to stick with the basics...I have to learn more patience.

MikeS..with the dips explained earlier, are the elbows in close to the body or out? Thanks

-slide
 
Last edited:

Paul Bunyan

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To address muscle confusion. I attack this on Maximum effort day. There are 2 training days per week for this, one for bench press ad the second for squat/deadlift. We will use the bench press for this example.

You must address any technique problems first. Poor technique leads to strenght imbalances and injuries. Next you must identify weeknesses. Those could be off the chest, mid point in the lift, or lock-out strength. Bar speed is also an important component.

There are exercises to correct each of these week areas. Some examples are : floor press, chain suspended lockouts, board presses, pin presses. There are many more. These are done once per week to a 1 rep max or 3 rep max and excercises are rotated weekly in the advanced lifter.

I'll make further installments if the interest is there.

PB
 

preist943

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addressing muscle confusion

i belive a muscle contracts or it doesnt ,i do think a muscle needs to be hit from every angle it can but i have a hard time beliveing that the body gets used to a movement ,when you lift a weight muscle fiber has to fire off ,it will tear muscle down so ,your body must repair it all facts ,i think the problem lies in the fact that your body becomes used to the weight and or volume that has to change but,not the movement
 

crackerjack414

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iam training dc stye right now and basicaly i have 3 chest exercises that get roated on differnt days flat bench incline and db bench. ive found Iam doing extremely well this way
 

MikeS

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Re: Re: Chest muscles

slide said:


MikeS..with the dips explained earlier, are the elbows in close to the body or out? Thanks

-slide
Slide-

elbows out-the way I describe executing dips you are almost simulating a decline press.
 

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