Overcoming Training Plateaus, Part 1: Beginners and Novices

Training Plateaus

There are a lot of reasons for weight trainers to get stuck on a frustrating plateau. It may seem as though all your efforts, after a time of good, clear progress, now produce no gains and no further improvements. Here are some of the reasons why you might be stuck.

1. Tough Progress after Easy Gains

A workout configured for easy-to-reach goals may disappoint once the easy goals are met. This is frequently the case for casual weight trainers that have a good mind to “get toned” so they are generally more fit than when they were totally unfit. The majority of people who lead a sedentary lifestyle with almost no rigorous physical activity of any kind will see at least a marginal increase in tone by simply beginning to sincerely stimulate their muscles as nature intended. This is the quintessence of easy muscle gains: you’re so low on the fitness mountain, the only you can go is up.

Continuing to train with unclear or low ambitions will yield some continued improvement in strength, size, and endurance but these improvements are very likely to be so gradual and immeasurable that you’re probably going to lose interest before they happen. Motivation to continue your weight training routine will often erode because it doesn’t appear to be working.

To make continued, serious gains, you have to be prepared to train, not just show up at the fitness club and expect the muscle to jump on you and the fat to jump off. Understand that new personal bests, huge body transformations, and improved performance are the result of years of hard training toward specific goals.

2. Training for Your Body Type

This goes hand-in-hand with the stumbling blocks encountered after the easy gains are made. Once you make the change from not doing any work with weights to doing some work with weights, you will see a difference; but, beyond the initial change, you need to evaluate your somatotype (i.e., body type) and proceed with your workouts accordingly.

You’ve inherited a certain genetic makeup from your biological parents that you must work with, not against. If your workout doesn’t take you into consideration, it will not deliver all that you might expect over the long term. It may take some time and experience to appropriately tailor your training regimen to your particular body.

It’s a learning process, so start educating yourself.

3. Nutrition and Rest

No less important than what you do in the weight room is what you do outside of it. Some plateaus arise from a failure to adjust factors other than those things you’re doing while you’re actually in the gym.

A simple mistake to make is not making dietary adjustments to support gains beyond what you’ve done thus far. For instance, a normally thin young man that has added a little muscle might forget, or not know in the first place, that he must bump up his calories to the requirements of the muscle man he wants to be. You won’t go from 150 pounds to 200 pounds without eating like you’re already there. Even worse, if you train like you’re 200 pounds on a 150-pounder diet, you’ll start regressing!

I see nutrition and rest as a plateau cause all the time with young men that want to get big and like the idea being strong but simply don’t put in the constructive time in the weight room and lay off partying and get a good night’s rest and eat appropriately and log their actions for evaluation.

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