Now this is going to be a very interesting blog post as I kind of answered this yesterday with “What trainers say vs what we mean” blog post. So, I will try not to regurgitate yesterday’s blog post.
Functional training, as I have been talking about all week on The Fitness Oracle basically comes down to two general topics (as I said yesterday) isolation and muscle confusion. Today we are going to answer the biggest falsehood with both of these topics.
First and foremost, let’s start off with a hypothetical scenario. Some genius has created a leg extension machine that has the ability to strap the user into it from head to toe and the only moving part that is available is the knee. The pad for the application of force (where you push to do the movement) is at one-third above the ankle, there is a “seat belt” that straps across the thighs, a strap that secures your torso to the pad for your back, a place for your arms to be placed in so they don’t move, and a pad for your head so you don’t lean forward. The only joint that can move is your knee.
Now with this scenario of a machine you still cannot isolate a joint to isolate the muscle. There is no way that this can happen. The rest of your body will still have to fire in order for it to be able to perform the movement without dislocating a joint or two, why? Well Newtons third law of motion states that every action that has an applied force on it has an equal and opposite reaction. So, if I apply 1 pound of force forward, there is 1 pound of force being applied backward. If I do 10 pound leg extension, the other end of that lever (my chin, or my knee) is going to want to move with 10 pounds of force towards it. This goes right up the chain of our skeleton and the muscles that we have are there as support systems so that it does not dislocate and cause injury. It’s just how the body (every body) is wired.
Which leads us to the next topic…
I laugh every time I hear someone talk about how they are going to change the workout so they can influence muscle confusion…
There is no such thing as muscle confusion, brain confusion absolutely, but muscle confusion!!! No. Not a chance.
What is being said here is actually, they are trying to stimulate muscle hypertrophy by changing the firing patterns and muscular recruitment by chaining the different movements that so you don’t create habitual firing patterns in your system (body). Now that’s a mouthful, so most trainers out there just say muscle confusion just to simplify this definition. As you can see muscle confusion can sometimes lead to brain confusion. This is why I never use the term at all as confusion of any kind always leads to someone getting hurt.