Tips To Overcoming Your Plateau

Eric September 13, 2010

The human body is very adaptive. The first time you do an exercise or use a muscle a specific way, you are always sore. But after you’ve repeated that for several weeks, the soreness goes away and the muscle becomes adapted to that movement. When this happens, your muscle will no longer continue to grow because it’s adapted to the exercises that you’ve done to it. This is called reaching a plateau, or getting to a point where it seems that nothing you’re doing is getting you results.

There are many simple things you can do in order to switch up your routine and add variety in order to overcome your plateau. Here is a list of several of the easiest and most common:

1- Get a workout magazine or look online for a new routine.
One easy way to overcome a plateau is to simply do something different. Alter the exercises you’re doing and you’ll alter the angles from which you hit the muscle. By rotating the joints where the muscle attaches, the muscle lengthens and shortens and the exercise will hit different areas of your intended muscle. What better way to feel an exercise differently, than by focusing on an area of the muscle where you never have before?

(Read more after the break.)
Generally, people understand that to tone muscle they should do higher reps and lower weight and to put on more muscle they should do higher weight with less reps. If you’ve plateaued, change that up. Do a month of toning exercises to give your muscle some variety, then come back to bulking exercises.

3- Change the tempo of your reps.
This is frequently called “focusing on the negative.” But you can do any other number of things with the tempo of your exercise. For example, the default tempo while doing bench press is to lower the weight to a count of 2, hold at the bottom for 1, and lift back to the top for another 2 count, or 2-1-2. Mess around with each of those numbers. Try a tempo of 4-1-1, that’ll really blast your muscle on the negative while focusing on building explosive strength by pushing the weight up so quickly. While at the bottom of a specific motion during exercise try pulsing it, or moving it up and down several inches, then back up, or 2-5(pulse)-2.

4- Adjust your rest time.
Normal resting time between exercises is 60-90 seconds. If you want to blast your exercise, adjust that to 30-45 seconds. Doing so, you’ll have a little less strength than you’re used to, but you’ll hit your muscle harder and help blast past your plateau.

5- Adjust your diet.
Nutrition is 75% of what your body looks like. You can only get out of your body what you put into it. Seventy-five percent of my training clients are surprised to find that their diet is inadequate and unhealthy. We have a lot of nutrition tips at already, and we’re always adding more. Use these ideas to improve your diet so that your hard work at the gym can show!

6- Hire a trainer.
Without doubt, a trainer will always work you harder than you’ll work yourself. And further benefit is that a good trainer has slew of different exercises to hit your muscles differently. After all, helping people overcome plateaus is what trainers do full-time!

I’ve listed just a couple of ideas to overcome your plateaus. While on the quest to find your hot bod, you’ll hit many of them. But don’t be discouraged, your hot bod is always within your reach!
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