BREAKING STRENGTH PLATEAU
Hitting plateaus are a part of your strength training journey. If you are a newbie, you won't experience it. But, once you advance in training age, you are more likely to hit a plateau in terms of your lifting capacity. Characteristics! · You get stuck in your lifts: You are not able to add another 5 pounds to your Squat, bench or deadlift. · Plateau in strength directly affects muscle growth as well. · Loss in performance and more addition to fatigue In case, you hit a strength plateau, you might want to consider the following points! · Gauge your training age: First of all, you have to take a realistic approach when it comes to gauging your training age. If you are a newbie, then you do not have to worry too much about training variables as long as you are progressing. If you are an intermediate or an advanced lifter (you can decide that based on years, frequency and the intensity of the training that you've done), then you have to make tweaks in your work out arrangements. · Choose your training program carefully: After you have assessed your condition, choose a specific training program for yourself. Most people just go to the gym and decide to do random workouts. Remember, your particular goal needs one specific training plan. For, e.g. if your goal is strength and hypertrophy, you need to incorporate the compound lifts and the isolation exercises accordingly with a particular volume(set*reps*load) every week. · Eat enough carbs, set your nutrition right: Make sure you are eating adequate calories and enough carbohydrates. You might be doing less volume and getting exhausted because of poor nutrition. Now, I am not saying that people on keto do not progress with weights (I have seen them hitting Personal records in their lifts while being on keto). But, eating enough carbohydrate gives you an edge when it comes to lifting because you have that stored 'glycogen' and you perform better. · Try including compounds like Creatine, Caffeine, Ashwagandha, Sodium Bicarbonate: Yes, these compounds do better your lifting capacity. They do not have any side effects. If you are reaching for that extra 2 reps, creatine definitely helps. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, caffeine does that. Try reading about such supplements online (examine.com), and you will discover things for yourself. · If you have enough lifting experience, 'periodize' your workout: Periodization is the strategic implementation of training phases. These training phases are set up by varying the volume(set*reps*load) and intensity (basically the load or percentage of 1 rep max- Maximum weight that you lift in one repetition). There are a lot of periodizing techniques such as Linear, Reverse, Daily undulating and Block. You can implement one of these according to your specific need to break the strength plateau. But yes, you have to read about them. (Google periodization techniques). · Train at higher intensity: Higher intensity means training at 80-85% of your 1 rep max with adequate sets and reps. If your intensity is not good enough, you progress slowly in terms of strength. · Deload/Taper: At times, you might want to address the fatigue that has accumulated over the months of intense training. Take 2 weeks out and train with lesser volume. Your body will recover. And when you return, you are more likely to add 5 more pounds to your lifts. It is one of the most effective ways to break through a strength plateau. · Change only the order of your exercise plan, not the exercises: Varying the order of exercises is fine, but you should not change the exercises in your plan. For example, you do not remove Squat and include just leg press to compensate for it. You keep your primary compound lifts routine intact and play around with different isolations or the order of these compound lifts. Plateau is bound to happen at some stage, but there are ways to tackle it. Also, you have to keep yourself updated with new information, and you should not be afraid to experiment. Always sticking to your comfort zone in the gym won’t take you far. Apply these methods and find out what works for you. All the best!