Slumpbusters: Get Out Of Your Plateau!

As these sticking points plague all of us frequently, we are wise to press on with our prescribed workout, giving it plenty of time to work. Those who endure these apparent voids - plateaus - have heart; they carry on to grow in both muscle and
Our training will not always be a barrel of laughs. We expect a steady upward curve in our progress and when that appears to stop or decline, we become disappointed, disillusioned and discouraged. Our attitude which should buoy us up and lead us on becomes weary, laden with doubt and boredom - down we go like a lead balloon.

As these sticking points plague all of us frequently, we are wise to press on with our prescribed workout, giving it plenty of time to work. Those who endure these apparent voids - plateaus - have heart; they carry on to grow in both muscle and character. Simply diminishing the demand on ourselves by lowering the poundages and focusing on pace, form and feel often loosens the knot that binds our progress.

Remember, we grow in stages, improvements being made well beneath the skin line which, much to our surprise and delight, only surface after months of steady, hard work. However, the time comes when change is needed, if only for a day. Changes are a relief, they're fun, revitalizing and instructive. Changes are found in these down and gritty slumpbusters.

"Slumpbusters are any combinations of superset exercises that stray from the norm yet retain integrity."

Slumpbusters are any combinations of superset exercises that stray from the norm yet retain integrity - integrity is found in logic and instinct - qualities we all possess but seldom use. Slumpbusters are designed for short term use (a day, a week), but can be easily merged into your training schedule regularly if it "feels" right. Because they're unique, they're fresh to the mind, fresh to the body.

With some exceptions, the slumpbusting combinations listed here can be performed using the pyramid system of reps and weight, or an 8-10 rep range using a moderate fixed weight. Four sets of any slumpbuster is a minimum. If you're pumping and having fun, take it to 5, 6 or 7. One combo, if pushed, may be all the doctor ordered - two combos can be mixed according to your needs, desire and energy.

The thoughts above are important and should be read carefully. However, thoughts without deeds are just thoughts. For your pleasure and prosperity, put the following thoughts into action. Be strong.


Exercises To Break Your Plateau

Note: These exercises should be done in supersets.

Bent Arm Pullover & Press - Barbell Curl
The Bent Arm Pullover And Press is the same as the Bent Arm Pullover (view pictures in the link above) except you do a bench press with the weight at the top of the movement. It's a powerful and tough combination that hits the whole upper body, from longitudinal abdominal to major bi's and tri's, from serratus and lat to pec and front delt. Standing barbell curls done with thrust put a substantial demand on the erectors and upper shoulder cage - a lot of pump, a lot of heavy breathing, a lot of circulation.

Barbell Curl - Close Grip Bench Press - Pulldown
Pecs and front delts get involved with main focus on biceps and triceps. Pulldowns offers relief from demanding curl and press, and continues voluminous blood flow. Works lats effectively.

Wide Bench - Pulldown - Stiff Arm DB Pullover
A classic superset hitting chest, front delt, lat and upper back in a big way with minor work to tricep and bicep.

Wide Grip Bench - Light Barbell Pullover - Barbell Row
A heavy load, light load and heavy load series. Chest, front delt, tricep followed by serratus, tri and lat followed by upper back, rear delt and erectors.

Hammer Shoulder Press - Wide Grip Pulldown - Cybex Tricep Press (Leaning Forward)
The Hammer shoulder press effectively, safely works entire shoulder, while stimulating the triceps. The pulldown works the latisimus and if done with a focused flexing, the traps, rhomboid and scapula can be brought into play. The tricep press works pecs, triceps and upper back to round things out.

Shoulder Press - Seated Lat Row - Lying Rear Delt Raise
Freehand barbell press puts big demand on entire shoulder girth and upper back while nicely tying into the triceps. Seated lat row, my favorite single back movement, works the entire length of the lats with major focus on rhomboid. Full forward starting position activates erectors and biceps/forearm/grip are well stimulated. The Excalibur rear action puts the finishing touch on the upper back, getting hard to reach retails around the rhomboid and scapula.

Scott Curl - Cybex Tricep Press
There's nothing like a full arm pump to pick up your training spirits - joined with the chest, back and shoulder action of the Cybex tricep press, high pump and burn, low demand on cardio.

DB Clean & Press - Stiff Arm Dumbbell Pullover
The dumbbell clean & press...is seldom done 'cuz it's ancient and tough. Nevertheless - it's one of the best single bodybuilding exercises working erectors and shoulders, traps and back for power and muscular density. The stiffarm pullover done with light to moderate weight for simple sound reps will give you a chance to re-oxygenize while hitting the lats, serratus and some more minor bi and tri.

Hammer Chest Press - Hammer Hi Lat
Hammer chest press combined with the Hammer hi lat does a lot of good weird stuff to your upper regions, pec, triceps, scapula, rhomboid, traps and a little biceps.

Squat - Leg Curl - Calf Machine
The one and only lower body slumpbuster I use is the squat, followed by leg curls and standing calves. These are done with high reps and a lot of breathing, sets of 15 on the squat, 15 on the curl and 25 + to failure on the calf - entirely leg, front, back and side.

Lunge - Stiff Leg Deadlift
Ladies - your attention, please. This peak training combination attacks enemies number 1, 2 & 3 - the glutes, the upper thighs and hips with considerable benefit to the lower back and overall muscularity. 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps, depending on your purpose and weight used will provide both athletics and balance to your training. Ease into this superset and build up reps, pace and weight slowly, patiently and assuredly. This is the ultimate glute blaster of all times, for all ages.

Wrist Curl - Hammer Curl - Overhead Pulley Ext
Total arm building with the accents on minor syllables - seldom worked forearm, grip, lower bicep and tricep. Unique series of exercises adds interest, dimension and valuable muscle mass and power to your bodybuilding storehouse - Barbell wrist curl with forearms resting snugly on the thighs for 4 sets of 15. Hammer curls are thumbs up, performed alternately and overhead pulleys are done your style for pump and burn.


Techniques To Help Break Your Plateau

Up & Down The Rack

This bittersweet, pumping/burning dumbbell routine can bring tears of bliss and tears of tortured submission to your eyes - curling, pressing, purling - it's all the same, a total slam of 8 to 10 sets in 4 to 5 minutes, virtually nonstop. Start light for 15 reps heading up the rack in 2 1/2 or 5 lb jumps, each consecutive set done to max with very reasonable form (minimal cheating overlooked) until a 2 rep set is reached, then head back downhill, no coasting allowed until your courage or blood sugar give out. A partner is helpful to spur you on, though the silent and brave who go the trip alone are to be admired. Great burn and ache last for days and informs you that this intense slumpbuster can only be done once or twice a month.

High Rep Target Training

For a mindless day where the energy is there but the desire and attention apparently are not. Pick an exercise, any exercise that comes to thought and with a light weight, start repping out toward 100. See how far you get and see how fast this gets your attention. Concentrate on form and the rhythm of the reps. This will push back the pain barrier. You'll need to take short breaks to allow new blood to briefly floor out lactic acid. Continue until 100 reps are reached.

10 Sets Of 10 Reps

Nothing intricate here - just dogged set after set with ensuing momentum. Works well with basic bench, squat, standing bar curl, press behind neck and lat row, although any exercise you dream up will do. Start with light weights for 10 sets of 10, as you proceed with 30 second intervals (or partner X partner) workload gets tougher until 10 reps are a delirious challenge - forced reps, and partner assists are allowed. This m.o. can effectively break growth plateaus by implementing over a 6 week period.

The details missing from these pages are stored in my head. Email me and we'll collaborate. Your gain is mine.