You’ve been following a training program for the past couple of months and you’ve even gained some muscle. But as the weeks go by, you suddenly hit a plateau but you ignore it and try to push through it.
You then start to wonder why you aren’t gaining muscle or strength like you used to.
Look, buddy, it’s not your fault.
We’ve all been there at one point or another. And I know, it can be very frustrating especially when you have been fairly consistent with your diet and training for the past few months.
Well, there are a few ways you can handle this.
In this post, I’ll share some of the best ways to break through weight lifting plateaus so that you can start getting motivated and excited about building muscle again.
Before I share those tips, I’d like to point out many reasons why you stopped making progress in your workouts.
Reasons Why You Hit A Weight Training Plateau
One is over-training. When you train too long and enter into overtraining syndrome and that usually leads to a plateau. That’s why it’s important to keep your workouts between 45-60 minutes 4-5 days per week.
Also, remember not to train the same muscle groups every single day.
Another reason why you hit a plateau in your training is probably that you’ve been lifting the same amount of weight and the same number of reps and sets for the past 4-6 months.
Well, maybe you got to a point where you struggled to lift more weight and do more reps and sets so you decided to stick with the same routine.
That’s the problem right there and is preventing you from making any more progress. In other words, if you keep following the same workout routine every single week your muscles will become accustomed to it.
As a result, your muscles will stop growing.
If you want your muscles to grow, you need to consistently apply new stresses and challenge your body with different exercises.
Keep in mind, if you want to continue gaining muscle, increase your strength and do better so that you reach your goals, then you need to perform better than you did the previous week.
What’s the point in training if you’re not constantly looking for ways to improve?
How can I break through Weight Lifting Plataue’s once and for all?
I’ve also talked about his in one of my previous post “10 training techniques to force stubborn muscles to grow“.
The simple answer is intensity!
There are several ways you can increase the intensity of your workout. That means applying progressive overload to your muscles. But let’s not forget that you don’t want to overtrain either.
Here are 5 Ways to break through Weight Training Plateaus
1. Increase weight by 5kgs/10lbs per session
Increasing the weight in smaller increments over time is a great way to burst through plateaus. A lot of guys make the mistake of lifting too much weight too soon and that’s why they fail (or get injured).
Here’s the best way to increase weight:
Let’s say you are only able to squat 100kgs (220lbs) for a total of 5 reps, the following week you will squat 102.5kgs (225lbs). This is a great way to progress in your training and you can apply this to any other exercise, including bench press, deadlifts, barbell rows, etc. If you do this you will never have to worry about plateauing again.
2. Get adequate rest between workouts
Some people think that the more days they spend at the gym each week the better. Trust me, it’s definitely not good for muscle growth.
I used to think that by spending more hours in the gym lifting weights would help me build muscle, more strength and get better gains than those who only trained 1-2 hours.
I guess I paid my dues for learning the hard way to do things. I was burning myself out and had little to show for it. So if you think by training more often and spending more time lifting weights is the fastest way to better gains, then you’re wrong.
Your body needs time to recover for your muscles to grow. Most guys think that they build muscle while they are lifting.
C’mon are you kidding?
Muscle growth only happens when you are resting after a workout. The only thing the workout will do is stimulate muscle growth. That’s it!
So if you want more strength, more energy and feel more focused in all your workouts, then make sure you get at least 8-10 hours sleep every night.
If you are one of these people who only get 3-5 hours of sleep a night it’s going to have a negative impact on your workouts.
Again, it all comes down to how much you want to reach your goals. If you want to make better progress every single time, then make sure to get adequate sleep.
3. Mix Up Your Workout With Drop-Sets
If you’re tired of doing the same 3 sets of 8 over exercise routine you got from a fitness magazine with little to no results to show for it, then it’s time for you to try something new!
Drop sets can triple your gains if done correctly. Drop sets are essentially a technique where you perform multiple sets of the same exercise and then reduce the weight and continue on doing more reps until you reach failure.
Here’s an example on how to apply drop sets in a shoulder routine.
Let’s say you’re performing incline dumbbell presses and you reach failure on a set of 10 reps and you want to fatigue the muscle group in order to stimulate muscle growth, then here’s what you need to do:
Have another set of dumbbells in close proximity so that you’re ready to jump onto your next set without resting in between.
Here’s a breakdown on how to apply drop-sets to incline dumbbell press exercise:
- Set 1 – a pair of 20kgs dumbells (40kgs/90lbs) for 8 reps
- Dropset 1 – a pair of 15kgs dumbbells (30kgs/65lbs) for 6 reps
- Dropset 2: a pair of 10kgs dumbbells (20kgs/45lbs) for 5 reps
- Dropset 3: a pair of 8kgs dumbbells (16kgs/36lbs) for 5 reps
The number of drop sets to do is entirely up to you, but it’s best to keep it between 2-3 for best results. I only use drop sets on my last set of an exercise. If I were to apply it to every set I wouldn’t have the energy to do my next set of exercises.
4. Get Incredible Pumps With Supersets
What of the best plateau breakers are supersets? It’s where you go from one exercise for two opposing muscle groups with no rest in between.
For example chest and back.
This technique is usually done on the same body part.
This can be done by doing two compound exercises, two isolation exercises or two exercises for different parts.
The best time to perform supersets is near the end of your workout to give blood flow to the muscles that you worked out.
For example, for biceps, I would do standing barbell curls before switching over to standing triceps extensions with an EZ bar. This allows one muscle group to recover from each set.
Another popular superset exercise is chest and back. What I love about supersets, is that if you have limited time in the gym, you can put in a great workout and finish in 30-40.
5. Rest-Pause Training for Growth
A rest-pause is where you generally grab a weight that you will do for a total of 10 reps for example. Not many people are familiar with rest-pause so in case you’re unsure about how to apply it to your workouts, check out the following video demonstration.
You can repeat this for as many times as you are able to complete a number of reps.
So there you have it.There are some of the best ways that I have done to burst through a plateau in my training.
The above training methods should only be for those who are having a tough time gaining any more muscle or increasing strength levels.
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