How to handle a training plateau
For 6 months you saw nothing but progress and now it has come to a complete stop. Yes, the evil plateau everyone hates. If you have ever been there or are there now, this article is for you.
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Training plateau is a term nobody wants to hear when discussing fitness goals.
The frustration of putting in the effort day in and day out only to see progress come to a stop.
If you have ever read any of our articles in the past, you will know we strongly believe plateau can almost always be avoided.
However, at times plateau just happens. It can be unavoidable and it sucks.
After looking at your routine and trying to find ways to modify what you are doing, you may have exhausted all options.
There are some things still left to do that might be all you need. Let’s discuss what your last options are.
Keep fighting through it
Science can’t explain it. At least, I have yet to find a scientific explanation for it, but sometimes you just need to keep working.
On occasion there are people who just see tons of progress for let’s say a year. Then all of a sudden the progress halts.
However, by simply keeping up with their routine something magical happens.
3 months later and they experience huge progress. They burn more fat. Lifts go up 10 to 20% in weight.
There really is no explaining why the body sometimes stops even when you are doing all the right things.
It is a weird phenomenon in fitness.
The hardest part about moments like this can be finding continued motivation.
You need to dig deep and find that drive to keep pushing through your routine day in and day out.
How do you feel after the gym?… Feeling really good
Ever have a day where you know you worked out way too hard the day before?
I’m talking about the days where every inch of your body hurts.
That is not what you want. However, you also don’t want to walk out of the gym and feel no effects.
Training should leave with at least some form of feeling uncomfortable.
You get used to the feeling and while it does not bother you, you still notice it.
If you continue to work out but no longer feel uncomfortable for a couple days after, you are probably not training hard enough.
You might have just been doing so good training that your body is begging for more challenge.
Can you add weight to your lifts?
If you consistently hit the same reps, add 5 pounds and make that a challenge to hit the same rep range.
If you are not uncomfortable after working out, you might be able to lift more than you think.
Most people naturally lift less than they really can do to intimidation.
Surprise yourself on the next session.
Can you alter your routine?
Is there a place in your back squat that you struggle? In the hole for instance.
Many people struggle at that bottom portion of the squat.
Change it up by lowering the weight slightly and sit at the bottom for a second or two before pushing out.
If you need drop the weight more and focus on exploding out of the bottom.
Or if you have mastered your back squat, do some front squats for a while.
You might need to change how you hit the same exercise for a while.
How do you feel after the gym?… Feeling worn out
On the other side of the spectrum, do you all of a sudden feel worn out?
Remember we said you should have some discomfort. However, are you just miserable physically and emotionally.
If you are feeling drained than you are not getting the desired effects of exercise.
Stop pushing through it.
It is time to step back a little.
Evaluate your diet.
People often forget that a good 80 to 90% of your training is dependent on what you eat.
Are you properly counting what you eat? For instance, are counting the amount of fats properly? It can be easy to say you add a tablespoon of butter to that sweet potato. However, you know it was more 3 tablespoons.
Do that over the course of a day and you may be damaging your gym efforts.
How much are you sleeping?
Are you consistently getting the proper amount of sleep each night?
By consistent, I am talking about a weeks of sleeping 8 hours without letup.
If not, you can damage the efforts you put in at the gym.
Skipping out once in a while for a night at the disco is not the problem.
It is the continued staying up late and binge watching your new favorite Netflix show.
Oops, its 1am again repeatedly is possibly the problem.
Don’t workout so hard.
Seriously, you could be just doing too much.
Drop a set or two.
If you are doing 12 sets each workout, drop it down to 10.
On top of that, maybe lower the weight for a week.
By doing so, you give your body a chance to recover and heal.
So many people freak out about doing less for a week like it is going to kill there workouts.
Training plateau’s are rarely an occurrence you can’t control.
Most of the time, you plateau because your body wants a change.
When you feel you have hit that point, don’t be afraid to step back, examine, and alter your daily routine.
If that does not work, then you may need to just tough it out.
You are already doing the right things, you just need to let your body catch up.
Either way, you are not doing damage to your body by training.
Nobody legitimately says I need to stop training or I will just be too healthy and too sexy.
No matter what, you are getting the benefits whether you see it or the scale see’s it.