Have you stopped seeing results in the last few weeks or month? Are you no longer feeling challenged with your workouts? Well, you’ve most likely hit what we call a “training plateau”. This is a point where the body adapts to the stresses we place on it through weight training. If you’ve hit this point, don’t feel discouraged, It is very common for people to hit one of these throughout their training process.
This leaves us wondering why? Are we working out too much? Too little? Not eating right? Changing your workout too often? You need to make changes to your program design by changing 1 or 2 things so that you can see if these changes make a difference in the next few weeks. Once you’ve decided whether these changes made a difference then you can add additional changes to your training but its best to change a few small things for your body to respond.
Here are a few key things you can do
1)Change your reps – Are you the type that finishes work and goes straight to the gym to perform your typical 15 reps for every exercise every week? Sure, this rep range is good for muscular endurance however, for total physique development you need to work with different rep ranges. To build muscle and strength you need to be in the 8-12 rep range, and for females this is just as important as it is for males. You will not bulk up, you will be adding lean muscle to your physique which will in turn speed up your metabolism to burn more fat. So give your body a break from the 15 reps and try going heavier for a few weeks, this will challenge your muscles and force them to respond again
2)Do a diet check up – what you put in your mouth is 80% of your results so its important to be on point with your diet. For example if you are trying to gain muscle you may need a calorie surplus in order to fuel your body and make gains. You may need to increase your portion sizes or carb to protein ratios. If you are trying to lose fat, you may either be eating too little ( below 1200 calories) and caused your metabolism to slow down or you could be eating too many calories that you are unaware of. If you haven’t changed your meal plan in a month it’s time to make some changes.
3)Take some time off – you are in the zone and may not be aware that you are over-training. The best thing to do is take a week off to recover, by taking this short rest you will come back much stronger and efficient. Training consistency is important in order to get results but if you take it too far and are pounding the weights hard every day this can lead to fatigue and burnout.
4)Add drop sets to your workouts – drop sets are great for building muscle, strength and also have a cardio benefit. They involved immediate reduction of weight without taking a rest between sets. The way to perform a drop set is to extend your set after muscle failure by lowering the weight to perform another set. Once you hit failure, you lower the weight again; do this until you have reached complete failure. For example: You perform chest presses on a flat bench and want to get a total of 25 reps. You start with 25 lb and can only perform 12 reps, strip the weight down to 15lb and perform another 5 or so reps then drop down again to 12 lbs to complete the last reps to reach a total of 25.