Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Breaking plateaus between workouts

Since college I haven't really had any issue with plateau, biggest mistake I made back in the day was overtraining. I was in the Gym all the time and I just started to get frustrated. Since building muscle is really not happening when you lift, but when you rest and repair. Don't count out the quality of rest and nutrition. Tossing in a week off every now and again is wise.

Here are a few more things you can do to break plateaus:
I have learned some techniques from a strength trainer friend of mine that keys on your tempo during lifting. Take the bench for instance. Many people will keep the same tempo both up and down. I've been training on pressing up as fast as possible, then 3 count down. This tempo concept has been one of the biggest improvements to my lifting routine.

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A few other things you can do, if you are benching, curling a lot with bar, switch and do a total dumbell week. I usually cycle each week with Dumbell and Barbell workouts.

If you work out 3 times a week, you can switch off working back with chest, and back with biceps. If you look at the exercises, your pressing with bench, tris and your pulling with back and biceps. Do a press/pull (tri/bi), (chest/back) one week, and press/press (chest, tri), pull/pull (back, bi).

There is also the periodization concept for lifting which is a pretty well planned out routine, with each week at growing intensity. Example a typical 4 week cycle could be as follows (example Dumbell Curls):
Week 1 - 15 Reps x 4 Sets @ 30 lbs
Week 2 - 10 Reps x 3 Sets @ 40 lbs
Week 3 - 8 Reps x 3 Sets @ 50 lbs
Week 4 - 5 Reps x 2 Sets @ 65 lbs

There's a variety of ways that I have seen periodization programs laid out and this is just one example.

Another big thing that has already been said is switching exercises. I try not to do the same exact exercise for a muscle group for more than 3 or 4 weeks in a row. This doesn’t let the saturation point to come and when we exercise different muscle groups, the previous muscle groups get time to recover and recuperate saving us from feelings of extreme tiredness or fatigue making it easy for us to break plateaus.

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