Science

Changing routines keeps muscles and tendons healthy

We all have favorite exercises, and while they can get us good and strong for a while, we really should change things up – and not just to keep boredom from setting in or because we’ve hit a plateau. A new study shows that mixing it up every so often with a new routine does more than just build muscle – it prevents your muscle-tendon complex from degrading.

Your muscle-tendon complex is the point at which your force-generating muscles connect to your tendons and transmit that force. Healthy tendons are essential because they must be fairly elastic and flexible to correctly transfer and bear the forces that your muscles place upon them during a brutal workout. Zero flexibility equals zero functionality. Researchers found that aging and disuse causes the muscle-tendon complex to degrade, and that the only way to keep our muscles and tendons in tip-top shape is to chronically switch things up, subjecting our muscles to different workout routines. By doing this, the muscle-tendon complex is always challenged to grow stronger, instead of simply bearing the same workout routines over and over and never adapting.

FUSION FACT

By switching it up at regular intervals, you’ll get the most muscle possible out of a program and keep your muscle-tendon complex healthy and in good shape.

SOURCE

Narici MV, Maganaris CN. Plasticity of the muscle-tendon complex with disuse and aging. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2007 Jul;35(3):126-34.

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