Have You Hit A Fitness Plateau?
Are you training well, eating right and getting adequate rest but no longer seeing results?
Unfortunately, training plateaus are common for everyone, no matter if you are a beginner in the gym or an experienced trainer.
They occur when your results stall even when you are doing all the right things. Training plateaus affect different types of results experienced, such as weight loss, muscle gain and even performance in the gym.
I want to reassure you that there are some simple ways to get around your current training plateau, revive your fitness goals and results and of course to mitigate plateaus from occurring in the future.
There are other elements to consider to break out of your training plateau, including assessing nutrition and rest, however, in this blog, I will focus on training specifically.
How to get over a plateau
1. Reset your goals
Are you trying to lose weight? build muscle? Maintain weight? Improve performance?
Experiencing a training plateau is often a sign that you have lost focus on your main goal. By revising the goal-setting process by yourself or with your coach, it will allow you to create a succinct plan of attack.
2. Use periodisation
Did you know it takes only 4-6 weeks for your body to adapt to a workout program?
For all of our clients at Peak Health & Performance, we rotate their training programs every 3-4 weeks to avoid running into an unwanted training plateau.
An example of periodisation with training programs would be focusing on strength for the first 4-week phase, followed by a 4-week endurance phase and so on. Training periodisation is very individual, meaning that you need to consider your short and long term goals.
3. Add weight each week
Have you been going easy on that last set or even missing it completely?
Are you not fatigued after you train?
Like your nutrition, you should be tracking your training. Track how much you progress in weights for exercises in your program every single session. Then reflect on the progression each week. See if you either decreased weight, remained the same or increased.
The goal is to be continuously slowly increasing the weight you can lift. This will realise optimal results not only in your performance but also in your body composition and muscle gain results.
Start playing with the tempo of your exercises. Tempo is just another variation that can be used to break through plateaus.
As there are three types of muscle contraction, including concentric, eccentric and isometric, tempo refers to performing each of these phases at varying speed. The change in speed on each of these phases adds tension to the muscle fibres recruited and puts attention on the prime mover muscle.
For example, you could perform a 4-1-1 style rep motion which means a 4-second count on the concentric, pausing at the bottom, the ascending through the contraction phase.
As there are many techniques on the gym floor that can be utilised to break through your training plateau, there is also one off the gym floor which can have a great impact.
Sometimes plateaus can be experienced simply by overtraining. In this case, you need to ensure your body has adequate recovery. This includes anything from using a foam roller or stretching pre or post-workout. Also making sure you are having adequate sleep, which releases muscle tightness.
Overall, to break out of your current training plateau or to avoid ever having a plateau, these are some simple recommendations I use with my clients that work effectively.
Owner & Director
Peak Health & Performance