If you are a hard core gym rat, you have no doubt experienced the embarrassing frustration (or perhaps the frustrating embarrassment) of hitting a plateau. As a person who wants to grow larger and stronger, you set lofty goals. And then you reach them. But every so often, you set a goal for yourself (such as packing an extra inch onto your thighs by the end of next month), and you just cannot seem to reach it for anything.
Now, normally this just means you have to work harder, or figure out whether you are trying to go “too far, too fast.” Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is the body of a Greek god. But sometimes you have hit a plateau, and just can’t seem to push through it. So let’s check out 5 different ways you can blast through your plateaus, and get back into a growth mode.
1. Take a break
Believe it or not, there are actually occasions in your life, where the best thing you can do is nothing. Now, don’t take this to mean “vedge out on the couch.” Some kind of training is still necessary. But the Navy SEAL trainees don’t run during their third week for a reason. Granted, in their case it’s so they do not get stress fractures. But just like them, sometimes you have been training so hard, you’re actually a hazard to yourself. So take a few days off from the usual weight routines you do, and keep up (or mix up) your cardio. When you go back into the gym, more rested than you’ve been in months, you will most likely start to experience the gains that evaded you before.
2. Flex differently
The next time you life, notice which muscles you’re flexing. Try intentionally flexing different ones (for instance, your upper back muscles during the bench press). The change will shock your muscles.
3. Gimme 50!
This actually isn’t about pushups. Try putting on 50% of your usual weight, and doing sets of 50 reps on all of your arm exercises, and 100 for your legs. The long sets will kick up a lot of lactic acid, which will cook your muscles until they grow like iron bread.
4. Switch up your exercises
If you’ve been bouncing a barbell off of your chest for years, it’s time to bust out the dumbbells. If you usually hold the bar overhand, hold it underhand. Lean forward or backward when you do cable flies and crossovers.
5. Master your own Bodyweight
How long has it been since you’ve done lunges? Handstand pushups? Actual pull-ups? Do a few sets of calisthenics to muscle failure, and watch your muscles open up to growing larger.