If you have been training for any appreciable amount of time, then you have inevitably been faced with one of the worst fates an athlete can face… The dreaded plateau.
Plateaus suck, they drain your motivation, turn your training into a chore, and cause you to become frustrated with your workouts.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Yes, plateaus will happen, and sometimes they happen because you have gotten that good, but often times, you will find that plateaus happen because you are forgoing one (or all) of the following three tips.
By implementing these simple suggestions, you will quickly see your strength, muscle, and performance shooting up like never before.
1. Rotate Your Exercises
While the concept of muscle confusion has long since been debunked, many accredited trainers and scientists recommend that you rotate the exercises you are using.
Because simply put, one series of motions will never fully develop your muscles the way that a “multi-angle” approach will.
Let’s say that you have been hitting 225 lbs. on the bench for 4 reps for almost 2 months now. What should you do?
I would recommend that you stop flat bench pressing all together for 2 weeks and focus on alternative motions.
Instead, rotate your exercises and start implementing incline and decline presses, dumbbell flies, and weighted pushups into your training to encourage fuller muscular development.
You can apply this same principle to any area of your training that is currently lagging.
For example, if you are a long distance runner and can’t break your current marathon time, try HIIT with sprints and the stair master to develop a more powerful lower body that can handle the long distances.
With this simple trick, you will be able to quickly make advances across the board with your health and fitness.
2. Take Recovery More Seriously
With my clients, I often find that their biggest reason for hitting a plateua is that they are not taking their recovery as seriously as their training.
This is a huge mistake that will damage all areas of your health and fitness.
If you find yourself caught in a plateua, take an objective look at your recovery protocols.
Are you getting sufficient sleep (and high-quality sleep)? Are you properly warming up and cooling down during each workout? Are you using tools like foam rollers and leveraging myofascial release to ensure optimal recovery? If not, then it’s time to reassess your recovery and level up your focus on the time between training.
This extends to your diet as well. Are you eating the right combination of macro nutrients and micro nutrients to facilitate recovery? If not, this should be your first order of business.
3. Take Time Off
When all else fails, take some strategic time off of training to give your body the time you need to rest and recover.
Take 1-2 weeks completely off of all training.
Go for a few long walks, do some easy athletic activities like racquetball and swimming to keep yourself active but take time off!