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  • Writer's pictureKevin Lee Elite Personal Trainer

How To Overcome Plateau’s In Weight Training : Workout Tips


Hitting a plateau in weight training can be frustrating. It's a common experience where progress seems to stall despite consistent effort. This phenomenon can affect anyone, from beginners to seasoned athletes. However, overcoming a plateau is possible with the right strategies and mindset. Here are some effective methods and workout tips to push past these roadblocks and continue making gains.


1. Reassess Your Goals

Start by re-evaluating your fitness goals. Are they realistic and clearly defined? If you’re 2-3 months into the gym, you’re probably not gonna get a 500 lbs squat in a year or have your dream physique within a couple of months. A more realistic goal would be being able to squat to full depth with good technique or aiming for ¼ lb increase in body weight a week. Sometimes, setting new objectives or refining existing ones can reignite your motivation and focus.


2. Figure Out Which Exercises You Connect With The Most

Unless you’re in a sport where you need to do a certain movement, there is no one exercise you need to do to build muscle. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Limb length, height, leverages all play a factor. Find which exercises you connect with the most and stick with those for each body part.


3. Focus On Nutrition

Often, plateaus occur because your nutrition hasn't evolved with your increased fitness level. Ensure you're the right amount calories and focusing on a balanced diet rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Your calorie needs should match your goals. If you are a marathon runner, then you should have a diet higher in carbs. If you are trying to lose weight you should be in a calorie deficit and if you are trying to gain muscle you should be in a calorie surplus.


4. Change The Way You Lift

Sometimes, simply adding more weight isn't enough. You can increase the intensity of your workouts by reducing rest intervals, incorporating supersets or drop sets, or using advanced techniques like forced reps or negatives. These strategies can help push your muscles beyond their current capabilities.


5. Improve Your Recovery

Recovery is just as crucial as the workout itself. Lack of proper rest days, stress, and inadequate sleep can all contribute to a training plateau. Enhance your recovery with adequate sleep, hydration, and maybe incorporate active recovery days focused on mobility and flexibility.


6. Check Your Form

Incorrect form not only hampers your progress but also increases the risk of injury. Sometimes, correcting your form can help you break through a plateau. You can check your form by recording certain exercises and see if it looks right. The best angle on most exercises is usually a side profile view. Form is especially important for continued progress. Just because you can curl 50 lbs dumbbells doesn’t mean there is 50lbs on tension on your biceps. Remember your body doesn’t recognize weight, it recognizes tension.


7. Periodization

This involves planning variations in your training program over specific periods. Periodization can help manage fatigue, reduce the risk of overtraining, and systematically cycle through phases of volume and intensity. This method keeps the training stimulus fresh and effective. This also includes the use of deloads. A deload week can refresh your CNS and give your body that extra recovery it needs for the next phase of training. I personally take a deload week every 4 weeks.


8. Mental Focus/Progressive Overload

Pay attention to your mental state when working out. Are you truly taking your sets close to failure or just going through the motions. Lift with intent. Your effort in the gym directly correlates to your progress. This also means progressive overload, similar to number 4: Changing The Way You Lift on this list. Progressive overload means each workout is a little harder than the previous one. This can come in the form of an increase in weight, and extra rep on one of the exercises, better technique, or even in a decrease in rest time between sets. Progressive overload presents an ever increasing stimulus to the body forcing it to adapt.


Conclusion

Overcoming a plateau in weight training requires a multifaceted approach that addresses physical, nutritional, and psychological factors. By adopting these strategies, you can continue to make gains, improve your overall fitness, and achieve your training goals. Remember, every plateau is an opportunity to learn more about your body and refine your approach to training. Keep pushing, stay flexible in your methods, and most importantly, stay committed to your journey.

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