You are going to gym on a regular basis, you take protein supplements and you have a balanced nutrition plan. You’ve been doing it for a lot of time and results were fascinating. But for some reasons you don’t progress anymore. If you haven’t encountered a training plateau so far, you are amongst those few lucky ones. However, at some point in the near future you may hit one, so it is good to know how to deal with it.
A training plateau is a moment when you no longer progress in muscle gain. There are numerous reasons why you may have hit the plateau, so sometimes it becomes confusing. You may ask yourself whether the cause is overtraining or not working out enough. Plateaus occur mostly because you don’t bring modifications to your workout program and diet according to the needs of your body. When your body gets used to routine, muscle growth will stagnate. Let’s see what you can do to go beyond a plateau.
Get better sleep
When do muscles build? Exactly! They develop while you sleep. Do not underestimate the importance of getting the adequate amount of rest. When you do not, you are not only at risk of hitting a plateau, but you are also prone to medical issues because your muscles don’t heal.
Stick to 8 hours of sleep per night. I know it may be hard because real life consists of more activities than gym, but make some concessions. A very common problem is that people go to bed early, but they can’t fall asleep. The cause is pre-bed exposure to TV, computer or smartphone light.
Increase calorie intake
If you don’t fuel your body properly, it won’t have the necessary resources to develop more muscle mass than it already has. Therefore, increase calorie intake gradually in order to start seeing results again. A good method is to boost calories every week for 4 weeks and then decrease the intake progressively for two weeks.
Keep training sessions short
It has been proven that after 30 to 35 minutes the growth hormones produced by one’s body start to decrease. Therefore, lengthy workout sessions, such as the ones lasting over 1 hour will lead to overtraining. Muscles are pushed to their limits and eventually break down.
Change your program entirely
Making changes to your rep ranges is essential when you hit a plateau. Beginners may do the same exercises over and over again for long periods of time and their muscles might still grow. But when it comes to advanced trainers, they have to reshape their rep ranges every 3 to 4 weeks. But do not do it chaotically. Plan it carefully and stick to your new program.
This strategy consists in performing the same exercise to failure multiple times with very little rest between each repetition. Switch from your normal workout to this technique of training for a few days and analyze the results.
A superset is a combination of two exercises done one after the other with no rest in between. Whether they are for the same muscle group or for different ones, the results will be the same. Basically you kill two birds with one stone because supersets are also excellent for cardiovascular improvement.
To conclude, plateaus are very frustrating experiences that most people who want to achieve a great physique have to deal with. When your muscles become accustomed to the stress you put on them during training, it is definitely the time to make changes to your nutrition plan and workout routine. Expose your body to a new stress stimulus and you will get back on track.