Muscle confusion. What a phrase that is. To think that “confusing” your muscles are going to lead into progress is the #1 mistake you can make in the gym. When has purposeful confusion ever been a good thing? Here’s why it is the worst thing you could do when you are looking to reach a specific goal. You don’t want to confuse your body, you want it to know exactly where you want it to go!
If you aren’t familiar with the SAID principle, now is the time to get familiar. The SAID principle refers to Specific Adaptations on Imposed Demands. This means that your body adapts to the specific stress you put on it.
For instance: A kickboxer who routinely kicks a punching bag with his shin will develop bone exactly where contact is made to prevent future injury. It’s not that your bones get thicker throughout your whole body, it gets thicker where the greatest stresses are on the body.
If your goal is to become a better athlete, you need to figure out where your weak points are and what needs to change for you to perform optimally. For some athletes who are very strong (pulling over 405 lbs in any deadlift variation), they still don’t produce the power that they want. Instead of throwing a ton of different modalities and techniques at the wall and seeing what sticks, you want to target the adaptations that you are looking for…..power.
When you switch the program all the time you get “ok” at everything instead of becoming awesome at whatever it is you are looking for. This might switch during different times of the year and you should have different training blocks where it does. Do you need to be powerful in the off-season? No. During the off-season, you want to build up your potential for power so that as the season nears you can develop a higher amount of power than ever possible before.
Again, we want our body to know exactly what it needs to get better at, exactly how it needs to adapt. How do we do this?
Follow a program, stick with the program for 4-16 weeks at a time and give your body time to adapt! Do not rush the program. For example, when I wanted to increase my clean and jerk, I found my front squat was limiting. To crush that, I front squatted 1-2x every week for 16 weeks. In turn, my body adapted and I gained 65 lbs on my front squat going from 255 x 3 to 330 x 1.
The main point is to have patience. Find somebody that you can trust. Trust the program and ask questions when you have concerns. If your coach is passionate about training, this is a great opportunity for your coach to geek out.
Stick to the program and Stay consistent. Good things will happen!