How to Burst Through Plateaus by Manipulating Your Training Variables
The struggle against the inevitable plateau bodybuilders reach is very, very real and extremely frustrating. When you are trying to reach a personal goal and everything seems like it is going well, to suddenly have no results can be extremely discouraging and confounding. However, you can relax, there are solutions available.
This plateau has and will happened to everyone that starts bodybuilding. It occurs when people don’t vary their exercise routines enough or at all. If you are experiencing weakness, weight gain and lack of muscle growth, you are on the dreaded plateau. It’s time to leave.
The plateau comes from you sticking to the same workout regimen, with the same weights and same rest periods. This is also true if you have changed your reps and sets but not your exercises and other aspects of your workout. Your body has no need to get stronger, to adapt to meet challenges, so it quits building mass and burning calories.
You need to vary your workouts so there is a reason for your body to build muscle and burn fat. It is not enough to change some reps and sets or to rest in shorter intervals.
To really challenge your body, you must be willing to change:
- Sequence — changing the order in which you perform your exercises can help get your body out of the slump.
- Grouping — circuit training, super-setting and tri-sets are among your options on exercise grouping.
- Types of Exercises — single joint, multi-joint, machine and free-weight are different types of exercises you can perform to spice up your workout.
- Number of Exercises — the more you can safely add in, the better
- Volume: sets times reps times distance moved
- Base of Stability — sitting, standing, on one leg, stability ball.
- Exercise Angle — inclined, declined, bent over, flat, upright
Other factors that can help you get past that plateau are resistance, tension, shortened rest periods, speed of repetition, varied ranges of motion, training duration and training frequency. This is a lot of information and new training techniques to consider. Which ones are the best ones for you? Consulting a personal trainer can make a large difference and save time and added frustration. He or she can tell you which techniques will probably work the best and be the safest for you.
So, to break out of the old and usher in the new, try some of these alternatives to your normal routine:
- Try twenty second rest breaks while doing ten sets of three.
- Do six reps in six sets with a weight that is heavier than the one you are used to. Do this in combination with three minute sprint on the treadmill between weight lifting sessions.
- Use a maximum, or close to maximum weight, and do one rep in ten sets, resting for 30 seconds between sets.
- Try using body-weight exercises instead of weight, like chin-ups, pushups, pull-ups, body-weight squats, dips, step-ups, lunges and other exercises that use your weight to challenge your body.
- Do complete body exercises like dumbbell squats/presses or barbell clean and presses for 20 minutes. Try this with a moderately heavy weight at five reps every two minutes.
- Using a weight that is lighter than you are used to, do a single set of 50 reps for every exercise
- Try up to twelve different exercises that include the entire body without taking any rests in between.
- On the workout immediately after you did the circuit of 12, do it again, but in reverse.
- Try your usual routine at a higher rate of speed, with faster repetitions, followed by a super slow speed on the subsequent workout.
- Try dropping the weight between sets and continuously do reps until muscle fatigue sets in. This usually happens in between five to six sets.