You have become consistent and faithful in your fitness habits and your workout routine. That’s fantastic! But then the inevitable happens: you hit a plateau. A workout plateau means you are no longer progressing in your workout. You don’t experience the same results in exchange for the work you put in.
Plateaus often happen because your routine has become, well, routine. What used to be hard is now easy because your body has become accustomed to the stress and adapted. The challenge is no longer challenging. If you experience some of the following indicators, it might be time to break through!
- No longer sore after a workout
- You’re bored with your workout routine or unmotivated
- You’re not hungry after a workout like you used to be
- The workouts are easy
- You’re not seeing physical changes
Breakthrough 1: Take a Break
Yes, it may sound totally counterintuitive, but take a recovery week. Forcing your body to rest means it will be shocked again when you go back to work. There are two ways to do a recovery week:
- Rest completely and do not workout at all. No cardio, no weightlifting. Just rest. Reset your body and mind to focus on nutrition and get ready to go big again.
- Lower your weights. By reducing your weight load, you are forcing your muscle groups to work differently. (You can either do lower weights for the same rep sets or increase your reps at lower weights.)
Breakthrough 2: Vary Your Exercises
You want strong biceps, so you do bicep curls. Then you stop seeing progress. There are so many ways to build biceps! Whether you switch your grip to a hammer curl and move from a dumbbell to barbell or kettlebells, there are too many variations and equipment options to stay stuck. Bringing your grip in or out, bringing your foot position narrower or wider, changing up the types of squats, etc. you do, can all help your muscles get back to building.
You can also switch things up by adding a HIIT workout, which can wake your body up again and kickstart your breakthrough. A trainer at The Camp can help you find new exercises to break through your plateau.
Breakthrough 3: Switch to Supersets
Another way to change things up is to switch the pattern and order and way you work out, even if the exercises themselves haven’t necessarily changed. Supersetting simply means grouping two exercises that either work the same or opposing muscle groups (i.e. bicep/bicep or chest/back) and doing the sets back-to-back without a break in between each set. For example:
- Bench press for 10 reps
- Back fly for 10 reps
- Rest for 30 seconds
- Repeat three times
This change-up of the order and pace of your workout may be enough to break your muscles out of complacency.
Breakthrough 4: Drop Sets
Working a muscle group to the point of “failure” means the last set or the last rep is difficult or impossible to complete. In other words, you don’t have any gas left in the tank! If a workout has become easy, add drop sets. If you’re doing three sets of reps on a muscle group, adding drop sets to your last set may get you back to building muscle and that fantastic post-workout soreness that lets you know you did something!
Drop sets simply mean that after you complete your last set of reps, you drop the weight by approximately one-third of the previous weight for a set of five to six reps. Then you drop the weight level again and do another five to six reps. Continue getting lighter. You’ll be shocked how much these lighter sets take your muscles to fatigue and failure.
Get Off the Plateau and Back on the Climb!
At The Camp, we know doing the same old thing every single time isn’t how to post long-term gains and hit your wellness goals. Our challenges will keep your body guessing, in the best way possible! When you’re ready to break through the plateau, check out one of our challenges or call us for more information at 615-915-2068.
As always, please consult your physician before beginning a new exercise routine.