Muscles are like elephants.. they have memory too

Posted on June 15, 2010. Filed under: fat loss, fitness, get in shape, getting in shape, weight loss, workout |

At each fitness orientation I start off by having the client do a plank, pushups, wall sit and squats.  I watch them to see how their bodies move, to see what muscles are overactive and what muscles are underactive.  It gives me a general idea of where they are physically so I have a starting point for when I create their workouts.  This is how personal training goes.  It seems that all of the clients during that hour have lots of questions like..

How many reps should I be doing?

How long should I hold this position?

How many sets should I do?

How many times a week should I do this?

Simply put, I cannot answer those questions.  Not because I don’t want to, and I want money before I start giving away information… okay, well it’s sort of about that… But it’s mostly because everything you do is situational  Am I going to tell you whenever you do a squat you always have to do 12 reps?  NO.  If I tell you to do single leg squats I’m going to give you a different amount of reps.  What if I said to do 12 squats with a 90% of max weight on your shoulder.. is the number of reps going to be 12?  No.  It’s like I say back to them, I am thinking about investing my money with you.. can you tell me everything there is to know about the market in 60 minutes or less so I know how to invest my money wisely?  No.

Furthermore, as I said, I have the clients go through four different exercises.  These are very basic movements.  Are they great exercises to incorporate into a routine or fitness program?  Yes.  Should you do those four exercises every day after your 30 minutes of cardio?  No.  If you did that you will find your planks become very easy, which is great, if you decide to one day have a plank and squat off with 300 others, then you may win.  But that isn’t the point.  You have to trick your muscles.  Do the same things every day and you will be awesome at those four things.  But it’s when you break out of the routine that you will see the changes.  Your muscles have memory.  It’s like for example, say you go to a dance class to learn one dance.  The first day is harder, then it gets easier and easier because you practice it 3 times a week and after a month you know that dance well.  But let’s say you did that dance one day, then the next time you went to class you had to do another dance, and on the third day, you had to learn another dance.  You aren’t going to be a master of any of those dances, but you become capable of doing many dances.  It’s the same idea with muscles.  You can go from olympic lifts to yoga to Zumba and do it all and your muscles will never know what’s next.  You never want it t be routine or easy when it comes to working out.  The complexity and complication and difficulty is what is going to give you results.

Kyra Williams,

The Get In Shape Girl

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One Response to “Muscles are like elephants.. they have memory too”

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This is really well described for people who aren’t familiar with muscle memory and to learn about muscle confusion. Great explanation.


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