Let's Get Back To The Basics

Changing up your workout every 6 to 8 weeks keeps the principle of muscle confusion working in your favor. If you do the same routine every time you hit the gym your muscles will adapt, so you have to 'confuse' them by varying resistance, number of repetitions, order of exercises, and so on. Trying new techniques is another good way to push past plateaus. But you'd do well to avoid gym fads.

Case in point. There's been a lot of talk about instability training lately. That is, training on an unstable surface. So scientists from Eastern Illinois University had volunteers perform squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and biceps curls while standing on air-filled balls. They found the technique no more effective for activating core muscles than basic heavy lifts performed with intensity.

The Bigger Picture: Because you have to focus more on balance and coordination when standing on an unstable surface, you don't exert the same intensity as you would on a regular cement gym floor. That's what made the difference in this study. Besides, you stand less of a chance of losing your balance when both feet are planted on firm ground.
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