Muscle confusion, the afterburn effect, inner chest exercises, lower abs workouts and muscle memory – all of them buzzwords sold as spectacular ways to address your problem areas or as methods for fantastic workout results. Let’s cut them down to reality in one go.
5. Muscle Confusion
“Don’t always do the same workouts” is the simple truth behind “muscle confusion”, that these days some people try to sell as a “unique” and “revolutionary” workout method. But if you take that too far, you might actually limit your workout results.
4. Afterburn Effect
Supposedly the afterburn effect let’s you double the calories burned from endurance activities like jogging. But that assumption is based on research outdated by more than half a century. Recent research, done with better methods, shows that for most activities the afterburn effect is somewhere around 30 to 50 kcal.
3. Inner Chest Exercises
Some guys work their chests but are unfortunate enough that their chest muscles are attached to the rib cage in a way that leaves a wider gap between the two sides. Others feel that their chest muscles are much bigger on the outsides than the insides. For both cases, “workout experts” recommend special exercises that supposedly address the problem. But it can’t be done, because it’s one big muscle and it can only move as a whole.
2. Lower Abs
That pesky area around your lower abdomen: when you lose weight, some flab is sure to (literally) keep hanging around there. As with the inner chest, special exercises supposedly let you target the lower abs. But that won’t get rid of the flab, because the abs too are just one long muscle – it’s like trying to stretch only one side of a rubber band. Not to mention that you can’t spot-reduce, anyway.
1. Muscle Memory
What this supposedly does has been taken into the vicinity somewhere close of Jedi mind techniques: program your muscles into better workout results etc. In reality, it’s just your brain’s usual way of learning to do new things. Once it has learned all it can about the moves of an exercise, it will have to increase muscle size to become stronger. And if you take a longer break from working out, you may rebuild your strength faster.
Picture courtesy of “Official U.S. Navy Imagery“.