Great article below from ezine on how to solve the pervasive struggle with exercise plateaus (in this case targeting resistance training/muscle building, but applicable everywhere). How can you apply the concept of muscle confusion to your cardio/weight loss routine? Change it up!
If you are used to walking/running, spend a week biking, swimming, playing tennis, or other type of cardio. Your body will eventually settle into the routine of whatever your primary method of weight loss/muscle building. Keep your body guessing by constantly throwing new things or new ways of doing old things its way. Do you normally walk a moderate pace on a flat surface? Find a steep incline and give it all you’ve got. Find a stair case and climb/descend repeatedly. The article is below:
Gaining muscle is one of the primary goals of anyone who uses weight training or resistance training as their chosen method of physical fitness. Although these are both excellent ways to gain lean, strong muscle, they both suffer from similar afflictions: eventually the muscle gets used to the stress caused by the weight training or resistance training and stops growing. When this happens, many people get discouraged and lose the drive to continue with their fitness routines. A muscle gaining plateau is nothing more than a small pot hole on the road to your fitness goals.
The best way to overcome this plateau is called muscle confusion. Muscle confusion is a simple concept: Confuse Your Muscles. The problem with most weight training and resistance training programs is it is too repetitive. After a while, the muscle group gets used to the program and its growth slows. Take for instance the biceps. If the weight lifter continually completes four sets of 10 repetitions each with dumbbells, increasing the weight as time goes on but never changing the method, the bicep will get used to this and expect it, thus not reacting the way it should.
When a muscle is trained, it needs to be torn down in order to be built up stronger. If the muscle is expecting what is coming, then it will not be torn down enough and will not be built back up. Muscle confusion is a training method that includes low repetitions with heavy weight, high repetitions with light weight, focusing on a slow negative (the negative is the portion of the move with which gravity helps), and any other variety of methods one can think of. If you keep your muscles guessing, they will continue to grow…and it might make your workout a little more interesting.