Muscles are dumb. Dumber than Dumb and Dumber even then some.
I don’t mean having muscle is dumb I mean it literally. The actual tissue of your muscles is dumb.
But you wouldn’t think so with some of the muscle lingo going through out fitness culture.
– Muscle confusion
– Muscle memory
– Smart muscle training and so on.
But muscle is dumb. It can’t think and it doesn’t have a memory. But that’s not to say there is no intelligence at work here. There is memory, confusion and smart work involved. It’s just those properties are the domain of the mind rather than the muscle.
Muscle is really simple. It does whatever the mind tells it to do. It’s training the mind that’s the hard part. It’s easy to confuse working muscle with training muscle. When the muscles are working hard they burn, and scream HEY I’M WORK’N HERE!” But when the mind is working it’s more like “hmmm let me contemplate that and get back to you.” It doesn’t feel hardcore and something you would film and cut it into a montage with Metallica playing.
But muscles are dumb. Sure they can work hard, but unless the head computer is contemplating advanced ways for them to operate then they just keep doing the same old thing. It may be difficult and very fitting of that rendition of Master of Puppets, but it won’t bring you anything you don’t already have. They just keep bumping into the same wall like a toy robot.
But muscles are dumb. The don’t know how to grow or adapt unless your mind tells them to do so in a very clear and direct manner. Otherwise, they have no clue what the hell you’re trying to do. If your mind is focused on using your muscles in a better way then those dumb muscles suddenly become Nobel Prize winning scientists on the topic of physical change.
As a rule, I fight like hell against working out for the sake of getting a pump or working up a sweat. Every workout, exercise, set and rep needs to have some sort of mental focus on it and that focus can’t be an endless mantra of “work harder” but instead I must focus on how I’m trying to use my muscles better. Examples might include trying to use my abs more or trying to prevent my elbows from flaring out to the side. Whatever it is, I never do anything without a clear intention of how I’m trying to do the exercise better.
If I’m not trying to use my muscles better then they just go right along with what they’ve always done. Given how dumb they are I’m not willing to bet that’s going to bring me much progress.