Have you been working hard in the gym and at first notice some great changes in strength, endurance and muscle mass…then..all of a sudden… the progress slows down or stops? This may mean you’ve hit a plateau.
The term plateau basically means no longer changing, or at a stand still after a period of activity or progress.. This can happen during training, resulting in no more weight loss, or no more muscular gains/progress. Why and how does this happen?
Our muscles have memory. That’s right. Once trained, they can remember. When you begin an exercise program, typically the same routine is established for a while to build strength and endurance. Changes are happening, muscles are growing, endurance in improving…and then it stops. Once your body becomes accustomed to the routine, it stops changing. Keep reading to learn ways to avoid the plateau and break through it.
The most obvious is changing up your resistance. Typically increasing your weight. This puts an increased stress on the muscles allowing them to break down and build up again. If you continually use the same weight and same reps every day, your muscles no longer become challenged, therefore unable to make progress.
A typical weight training program contains weight and repetitions. An example of this would be when doing bicep curls, maybe you’re using 10 pounds and doing 10 repetitions. Then you repeat this three times. On paper, that would look like this 10lbs, 3×10 (Three sets of 10 repetitions).
Let’s say you try to bump your weight up to 12 or 15 pounds, but you just aren’t there yet. You can try increasing your repetitions at this point from 10 reps to 12 reps, or 15. This puts an increased time of resistance on the muscle challenging it to do something new.
Change Your Routine
Another simple way to break out of the plateau is to simply change up your exercise routine. There are many, many exercises that target the same areas of the body, just in a different way. Examples of this include using an exercise machine vs dumbells or tubing resistance. Switch up your cardio by doing a HIIT routine vs treadmill or elliptical. Anything that is going to change the way you are currently challenging your muscles.
Personally I get bored doing the same things OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. This includes not just exercise, but my own daily activities. It’s nice to come up with new ways to make life (and exercise) fun!
If you’re looking for equipment this is the dumbell set I use at home: Dumbbell Set (Amazon Associate affiliate link.)
I also love my resistance bands I bought from Amazon, similar to these…Check out my affiliate link here: Resistance Bands.
If you’re looking for an at home exercise program, check out my Body Crush by nfergyfit to get started. It’s simple, it’s free, and only 15 minutes/day 5x/week with a stretching day (so six times per week).