Almost every experienced lifter has experienced the frustration of a plateau.
There are many potential causes of plateau thus many corresponding solutions. These three tips are an excellent place to start if you’re looking to break a plateau or even just steepen your rate of progress.
1. Set Goals
If asked, most people would declare that their time in the gym has a purpose. But it’s not enough to have a vague idea of a better body or stronger lifts. Empirical measurements and specific deadlines are some of the best ways to ensure you possess a conscious intent throughout the day.
Goals can be set for various time ranges, but the best way to start is with monthly, weekly or even daily goals. This helps initiate the habit of goal setting and fulfillment. A daily goal can be anything from a calorie count to concrete ‘in bed’ and ‘out of bed’ times. A weekly goal can be a total number of set’s accumulated on a weak bodypart. Goals should be personalized, purposeful, and WRITTEN DOWN.
2. Change The Stimulus
The Law Of Accommodation rules the gym. It basically states that any given stimulus over time will excite a diminishing result in the body. So one of the best ways to make sure that we are constantly optimizing growth is to vary our workouts. This doesn’t just mean vary the movements- set number, rep number, weight, rest time between reps, types of reps, types of resistance- can and should all be modified, both to change the stimulus, and to discover the optimal stimulus for your body. Occasionally, something completely outside the box, like a day of kayaking, can torch your shoulders in a way that the gym can’t, simply because your body is unused to the movement. Don’t underestimate the power of the unfamiliar.
Offering this tip may be beating a dead horse at this point, but frankly it’s a horse that can’t be beaten enough. So often it is not our work in the gym that forestalls us, it is our ability to recover from our work in the gym. Recovery doesn’t just mean sleep and nutrition, although those practices must be refined. Most elite level lifters routinely get bodywork done, and there’s a reason for that- it makes a difference. Of course the average lifter cant afford to get massage, dry needling, chiropractic, etc every week. But, for example, one sports massage every month or two can really do wonders to prevent and resolve injury, open up new ranges of muscle contraction and separation, and offer a deeper connection with the body.