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Friday, June 26, 2020

3 Simple Tips To Help You Push Through Plateaus In The Gym

What is a plateau?
In fitness, it refers to instances where you hit a brick wall. You’ve been training for a while, and you saw some excellent progress. Perhaps you made some serious strength gains, or maybe you lost a lot of body fat? Then, for whatever reason, your progress came to a halt. You reached a weight that you can’t squat. Or, you keep failing to improve on your 5km treadmill. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t break through this imaginary brick wall.

Plateaus are problematic as they can severely demotivate you. After all, it’s hard to stay motivated when you see hardly any improvement. You get down on yourself and start skipping gym sessions. Many people have sadly regressed due to an inability to break through a fitness plateau.

The good news is you most certainly can push through these walls. In this post, you’ll see a few of the best ideas and methods for pushing through your plateaus!

Improve your grip
This tip is mainly for people who are struggling to see any strength improvements. Or, it could be relevant for anyone that wants to build more muscle. Progressive overload is one of the fundamental considerations for building muscle. In essence, you progressively overload your muscles with higher levels of intensity. One way to do this is by increasing the weight of your lifts. But, if you reach a point where you can’t add more weight, you begin to plateau.

Many times, this isn’t because you can’t lift the weight, but that your grip isn’t strong enough to handle all the weight. For example, your legs are capable of deadlift a lot of weight, but your forearms get sore too quickly, and you have to drop what you’re holding. The same applies to pull-ups and many other lifts. Improving your grip with wrist straps is a brilliant way to push through this plateau and unlock a new personal best. Try it out and you will instantly be able to lift heavier weights.

Fuel better during workouts
Normally, most people will get themselves amped up for a workout. You might have a cup of coffee or do a big warm-up that gets you pumped and ready to move. Then, midway through the workout, you lose energy. You’re unable to maintain the same intensity, which is where plateaus can happen. This is particularly relevant if you’re trying to beat times for rowing, running, cycling, etc. Still, it’s also relevant for lifting weights as a lack of intensity inhibits your ability to progressively overload.

So, one way to address this issue is to fuel yourself during your workouts. Most people drink water as they workout, which is great, but it doesn’t give you an energy boost. Instead, consider bringing an intra workout boost drink with you that does more than offer hydration. The right supplement can replenish glycogen stores, giving you more energy to perform harder and longer. As a result, you blast through your plateaus.

Try something new
For me, this is the easiest way to break through a fitness barrier. Too many people are guilty of sticking to the same routine over and over again. Eventually, your body adapts to this routine, and it no longer becomes a challenge. Or, think of it another way, you only provide your body with one specific type of stimulus, ignoring the others out there.

The best example of this is running or cycling. If you use the cardio machines in the gym and choose to bike or run 5km every day, you will see improvements. However, you can just as quickly reach a plateau where you’re unable to beat your time. Instead of plugging away every day, you should mix things up with a different routine. Start doing some interval training a few days per week to provide a different stimulus. Your body will react to this, and it can translate into a better 5km time at your next attempt! In fact, the video above shows a whole host of different workouts you can use to break through this plateau. The same applies to any barriers you face in the gym - mix up your routines and give your body something new to deal with.

These tips all sound very straightforward, and that’s because they are. This shows how easy it is to break through fitness plateaus. Here’s a bonus tip specifically for strength gain plateaus: get someone to spot you. This makes it slightly easier for you to focus on the lift as they ensure you don’t get hurt.
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