If you've been training for some time now, and gains are coming slowly, or don't seem to be coming at all lately, you're probably in a training rut. After we have been on a set routine, for a lengthy period of time, or have developed certain patterns of training over time, we invariably reach a plateau, sooner or later.
Some folks don't even realize they're in a rut, as they religiously plod along, training day after day, convinced that everything is fine, as long as they make their scheduled pilgrimage to the gym. They are merely going through the motions!
I remember when I lived in Florida, a young guy was training in my gym, and asked me to spot him on the bench press. He had on 275 pounds, and was pretty well built. I gave him a spot, and he lifted the weight smoothly, but with a bit of difficulty.
I commented that he was a strong guy, and the lift was performed in good style, he replied that it was no big deal, and that he had been benching that weight for 5 years now.
Being capable of bench pressing 275 pounds is no small feat, but after being stuck there for 5 years, you would think that he would have tried something new to make further inroads to progress. As a bodybuilder, if you haven't made noticeable changes in the appearance of your physique in years, it's time to drop the dogmatic thinking, and "shake-up" your routine today!
After all, we workout to improve, not to have progress lie dormant, or just to maintain the level of fitness we now have. I do anyway, and you should too. Keep in mind that the body adapts to the stress imposed upon it.
If you no longer make any serious demands on the muscles, the body will only maintain the amount of muscle and strength that you have acquired thus far. Overcoming a plateau entails making some drastic changes to our routines.
- Possibly Hit A Plateau. - Started By chuckg1961
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- Plateau on bench for 6mths now. - Started By Ayemelek
"I do the same routine as always...usually bench for 5-6 sets twice a week. I'm never able to increase the reps past 5, and sometimes I don't even get 5 reps."
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- Rest-Pause, etc.
If you've been training using low reps, and heavy poundage's, switch up immediately, to higher reps, with more moderate weights. Anything you've been casually doing in your rut of a routine, do the exact opposite, for a dramatic response. Resting a long time between sets? Train faster, and try to beat the clock. This increases intensity, as well as muscular endurance. It will also support your metabolism, and involve your cardiovascular system.
If you can do a workout that would have previously took you two hours to complete, in an hour or so, you'll know you've worked hard by the resulting soreness the next morning. Throw in some high intensity techniques, such as:
This will literally shock the body out of complacency.
Change your routine often to avoid boredom and to stay excited about training.
Your mind can also be a very strong determining factor between training success, and training failure. Do you lack training enthusiasm lately, or are you just plain lazy at times, and dread the thought of going to the gym? Give yourself a pep talk every now and then.
Remind yourself that you refuse to lose, or take a back seat to anybody. You're a machine, that cannot, and will not fail. Attack the weight room with the ferocity of an unleashed wild beast.
Don't take no for an answer, you must have a warlike attitude in the gym, to further muscle and strength gains. After all if it was easy we'd all be huge with 5% body fat. The proper mindset will make a huge difference in the productiveness of your workouts. If you don't believe in what you are doing, you are no doubt going to fail. If the mind is enthusiastic, the body will follow accordingly.
Visualize yourself getting bigger and stronger, and training more intensely. Never settle for less than giving 100% effort in the gym and at the dinner table. Believe to achieve !!
Your dietary practices will figure into the equation also. If you're skipping meals, eating junk, or living at McDonald's, you are only shortchanging yourself, and the muscles you've been trying so hard to develop. Revamp your diet! Eat 5-6 high protein, moderate carbohydrate, low fat meals a day, every day !!!
Throw away the soda, and drink some good old H2O (a gallon or more daily). Include some fruits, vegetables, lean meats, poultry, eggs, fish, potatoes, and brown rice ,as well as other muscle building foods, that actually nourish the body and still taste great.
Add in some whey protein powder, and a good multi-vitamin, just for added insurance, and you will be well on your way to jump starting gains again, and blasting out of that rut you've been in for so long.
Aim for 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean bodyweight for starters. If this doesn't produce results, fine... tune your diet a little more, until you hit upon the correct ratio of macronutrients that start you on the road to progress again.