Hit a Plateau with Your Physique? Here's 4 Strategies to Bust Through to Results
You’ve been regularly hitting the gym and eating all the right food, but you can’t seem to put on any more muscle and it’s been way too long since you’ve added weight to the bench press.
This effect is called a plateau, and it happens whenever your body gets used to doing the same exercise motions again and again. As you perform specific exercises, your body becomes more efficient at them, requiring less strength and eventually hitting a wall where it’s almost impossible to build muscle in the same way as before.
For example, you’ll see a lot of initial growth when you go on 30-minute bike rides three times a week. But after a few months, you’ll stop building muscle from this exercise since your body has enough strength to get the exercise done without much effort.
Fortunately, there are 4 ways to break through exercise plateaus so you can get even stronger than before:
4. Workout for Longer
Naturally, you can push your body further by exercising for longer sessions. For example, if you used to go on a 10-minute run every day, increase that to 15 minutes. Then 20. Then 25. You get the idea.
You can also do this with lifting. Lift with more reps or just spend more time at the gym to increase the strain on your body and force it to build muscle past its comfort zone.
3. Add More Weight
Specifically, use heavier weights with fewer reps or lifts rather than doing lighter weights with lots of lifts. Heavier weights help you build muscle initially, while lighter weights help you tone and define that muscle after you have already built an underlayer of muscle mass.
Not sure if you can lift the next weight set? In that case, do more reps with lighter weights until you can progress to the next weight increment for your machine or lifting set, whether it’s 5 pounds, 10 pounds, or 20 pounds.
2. Take Rest Days
Lots of eager exercisers skip rest days because they don’t think they are really necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Your body needs rest days in order to rebuild the tears in the muscles that it sustains from regular exercise. If you exercise too frequently, you’ll actually hit a plateau faster than you would otherwise since your body never has the opportunity to build new muscle. The fibers just keep getting torn over and over again.
Add a few rest days to your workout routine and see if that helps! You’ll also feel better every time you do hit the gym.
1. Do New Exercises
Remember how we explained that your body eventually becomes so efficient at performing exercises that it makes them trivial? You can work out similar muscles and build new muscle mass by simply giving your body new exercises to learn.
For example, if you have reached a plateau by using the chest press machine too often, do rows instead. Row exercises don’t work out the exact same muscle groups, but they still exercise your arms, chest, and core muscles similarly to chest press exercises.
By shaking up the way you work out, you can keep your body guessing and bust through your workout plateau in no time. Remember to give it a push, persevere, and you’ll see those results!
Thanks for reading,
Justin | MME Wellness Contributor
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