bench pressIf you train for any substantial amount of time, inevitably you will reach a plateau .  This is normal, especially for individuals with a lot of training experience.  Exercise is a stress that the body must adapt to.  Once the body changes to handle these stressors (workouts) more efficiently it will no longer change.   So to bust through a plateau you need to change what you are doing.  If you do the same workout repeatedly you will cease to change because your body no longer determines the workout as a stress that it has to adapt to.

In short: no stress = no change.

Here are 5 ways to help you avoid the stagnation of workout plateaus.

1. Change your rep scheme

If you are currently lifting lighter weights for higher reps (8+) change to a lower rep scheme using heavier weights.  The same can be said if your situation were reversed.  By changing the rep range, your workout will deliver a completely different stress.  This is a form of periodization.  Periodization is an idea that you need to become familiar with if you want to maximize your production in the gym and avoid plateaus.

2. Change the tempo of your reps

Each rep has a certain tempo, or speed at which it’s performed.  If you train explosive with a very fast tempo, go slower.  If you train slow currently, increasing your tempo may help you gain strength faster.  For more on tempo click here!

3. Reverse your program

Flipping your workout upside down can create a new stimulus on your body and allow change to occur.  This might not be ideal for the long haul, but it can definitely help you bust through a plateau if you do it for a couple weeks.

4. More, More, More!

Doing more total sets can increase the stress placed on the body.  Likewise, using more weight can increase stress levels.  Taking longer or shorter breaks between sets can also help.  You can achieve this through rest time manipulation, circuit training or by performing super sets.

5. Do nothing

Yes, you read that correctly!  When you train for many weeks on end, the body eventually needs a deload.  This is when you take a week off and relax.  Another popular way to deload is to perform one set with 50% of your working weight for all of your main lifts and nothing more.  This allows the body to recover and help you make better gains in the future.

 

By utilizing these tips you will be sure to avoid stagnation.  Nothing is worse than working hard while seeing no results.

If you are currently stuck in a plateau and are looking for a new workout, I recommend trying my 5×5 program.  This program is great for adding strength, size and power.

Picture license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

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