5 Ways To Push Past A Plateau In Your Training
When you first begin strength training consistently it’s common to get stronger and see progress relatively quickly. However, after that initial 6-9 month phase our bodies have often adapted to the new stimulus that strength training initially presented. This is why progressive overload is so fundamental to seeing long-term progression – both in your strength and physique. So if you are training consistently but aren’t seeing the progress you’d like, here are five ways to push past that plateau and continue to see progress.
- Track Your Workouts and Activity
Identifying where you might be going wrong or where progress is stalling the most, is the first step towards knowing how to break through that plateau! This is where tracking your workouts and activity is so beneficial. Make sure you’re logging the exercises, weights and reps you’re doing in every workout (use the WeGlow PB feature to do this in your workouts!) If you can also look at tracking things like your steps and sleep to get an overall picture of your health & fitness activity.
2. Don’t Chop and Change Your Workouts All The Time
There is so much conflicting advice out there that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and chop and change your routine without clear direction or understanding of why. Whilst trying new things and ways to move is great, if you have a clear goal such as building muscle or developing your strength, then changing too many variables makes it almost impossible to successfully apply progressive overload and progress. With this in mind, look to stick to the same structure and strength training workouts for 4-8 weeks.
3. Ensure Your Programming is Effective and Tailored to You
Whilst it can be tempting to just throw together all your favourite exercises and call it a workout, properly structured programming will make all the difference to your progress and getting past plateau’s. Consider things like changing your exercise order with each new programme (this way you can approach exercises with a different level of fatigue in each new programme) or incorporating uni-lateral exercises throughout your programming so as to address imbalance in your strength which might be contributing to plateaus. Lastly, play around with the tempos of different exercises with each new programme; incorporating explosive movements, ‘pauses’ or slow eccentric phases in different exercises can help you to identify and train through ‘weak spots’ in different areas.
4. Re-Assess Your Nutritional Needs
If you’ve been training consistently, are moving more or your body composition has changed (i.e. increased muscle mass) then it’s likely your body’s nutrition needs have changed. If you’re under-eating or not fuelling up correctly, then this will be having a direct impact on your training performance. Make sure you’re eating enough to fuel how active you are, are eating sufficient protein to aid your recovery as well as carbohydrates to energise you. Also pay close attention to your peri-workout nutrition (i.e. what you eat before and after a workout).
5. Make Sure You’re Getting Sufficient Rest
Progress isn’t just dependent on how hard you can push yourself in your workouts but also how well you can recover from them! If you’re team #nodaysoff, spend your workouts doing tons of exercises and sets or have poor sleep then hitting a plateau or struggling to progress is to be expected. Remember your body doesn’t build muscle during your training but rather afterwards. So focus on quality over quantity with your workouts (both with the number of training sessions you do and number of exercises within a workout) and try to ensure a consistent sleeping pattern throughout the week!