Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The CPB Muscle Confusion Principle & Varying Your Rep Range!

(Above: Autographed Photo of Steve Reeves in his 1961 film - "Duel of the Titans")

If you follow a good routine that is giving you gains for any length of time, you will find that the gains will slow down and eventually stop. Why? Because, in time, your muscles will adapt to any exercise or routine. So what can you do?

You can use the CPB "Muscle Confusion Principle." This principle was known by the pre-roid, Golden Age champs, but was given its name by Joe Weider. It essentially says that in order to prevent your muscles from fully adapting, you need to "confuse" them by doing something "different" - something that they are not used to - in order to provide them with the stimulation they need for growth.

The Muscle Confusion Principle can be implemented by changing an exercise - substituting another exercise that challenges the muscle from a different angle. Or, you can change your routine - by either including some new exercises or even just changing the order in which you do the exercises. You can also change the number of sets you do - by either adding or reducing sets. One can even take a "layoff" of a week - which allows the muscles to rest, recover, and lose some of its "adaptation."

But what if you don't want to change your routine, or the number of sets, and you don't want to take a layoff? If that is the case, then you can do what Steve Reeves did and vary your rep range!

In his book, Building the Classic Physique the Natural Way, Steve recommended varying your rep range monthly. So one month, your range might be 8 - 12 reps. The next month, you can change your range to 5 - 7 reps. Then the following month, you change to 11 - 15 reps. Then repeat.

By changing your rep range monthly, it results in using different poundages. For example, you can use much greater poundages when doing from 5 - 7 reps than you can if you are doing 11 - 15 reps. So the varying reps and, necessarily, the varying poundages keep your muscles from adapting and thus, keeps the gains coming!

Varying your rep range monthly can extend the productive time of a given routine and even potentially reduce the need for layoffs. So keep this method in your arsenal of Muscle Confusion techniques!


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jonny said...

cool post i have been thinking about using muscle confusion for some time now. after reading this i will try ir out

Anonymous said...


You could do a post about Mickey Hargitay?

Thank You

Johnny G said...

I think that most of the bodybuilders in any era move & change around their workouts - I think that most have a favorite program which is their bread and butter program - but it doesn't surprise me when I find conflicting views about Reeves and Grimek and others when it comes to their workouts - they were searching like everyone does as we are doing right now - so wish all ya strong healthy workouts, I am going to let others express their views as I sit out for awhile - later all