5 Reasons You Can’t Break Through Your Training Plateau

5 Reasons You Can’t Break Through Your Training Plateau

Reasons Why You Hit a Plateau in Bodybuilding

If you’re a weight room veteran, chances are you have encountered a plateau at least once throughout your fitness journey, whether you stopped putting on muscle mass or weren’t getting stronger, or both, it happens. While it’s okay to hit a plateau, it can be disastrous for your mental state and your gains if you are not able to break through the overhead ceiling.

Most people hit a progress plateau for the same reasons and understanding them can help you conquer them. Once you know the reasons, you’d be better off avoiding them as compared to spending time fixing them.

Reasons for Hitting a Plateau


There are plenty of different reasons that you could be hitting a plateau in your lifting journey, so let’s take a look at a few, and how to avoid them.

Following The Same Training Program

You need to constantly shock your muscles if you want them to grow, and sticking to the same training program for a long period of time can accustom your body to your workouts. You want to continuously be straining the muscles in ways that they are not prepared for, as this will force them to adapt and grow. Always be a step ahead of your muscle memory and do something new in every workout.

While you do not want to do the same workout every day, you also don’t want to be the person who jumps ships way too often. A good way to shock the muscles but not change too often is to follow a program for 3-4 weeks before making changes. Following a program for a set block will make sure you’re getting the most out of all your workouts.

Nutrition Deficiency

The saying goes, “you can’t out train a bad diet“, and that is one of the truest things you will hear in the fitness world. The lack of a proper diet is a major reason why many people hit a plateau. When you train in the gym, you are breaking down the muscles, and your body needs the right amount of macro and micronutrients in order recover and to properly develop muscle mass and definition. Hitting your protein, fat, and carb intake is crucial for avoiding a plateau.

The way to combat a nutritional deficiency is to prepare a proper nutrition plan as per your goals or take the help of a professional if you can’t do so by yourself. Whether you are training for building muscle or losing body fat, it is useless until your workout and diet programs work in harmony. Remember, recovery is where you truly grow, and you cannot recover without proper nutrition.

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Sticking to the Same Resistance

Some people make the mistake of getting too comfortable with the amount of weight they use, and never feel the need to get out of their comfort zone. However, being outside your comfort zone is where you grow, incorporating methods such as progressive overload is crucial You should always be on the lookout to spice up your workouts with new resistances. You might know people in your gym who have been using the same weights and show no sign of physique improvement, unfortunately that is what happens.

If you can’t lift heavier weights, increase the intensity by performing a higher number of repetitions or sets, or strengthening other areas. Changing your training intensity will never let you hit a plateau by keeping your muscles guessing.

Not Expanding Your Knowledge

Many people stick to a particular style of training and that is their bible. They stop learning new techniques and principles when they start a new program, and that is the only program that they want to utilize. This soon leads to them getting comfortable with their workouts and hitting a plateau.

You should always be looking to expand your training knowledge by reading extensively. There are plenty of different bodybuilders and trainers to take advice from, such as Mike Mentzer or Tom Platz to name a few old school guys that have a large amount of knowledge; but also there are plenty of newer school lifters that offer great advice such as Jeff Nippard. With the advancement in research in training science, there are new concepts, principles, and methods being developed which can ignite new gains. Always remember, pro bodybuilders regularly change their training programs to keep their muscle growth active, and a lot of those guys look like they are ready for the Mr. Olympia year round, so something is obviously working.

Dying Motivation

When people don’t see progress in their physique, they start losing motivation to train. This is why you see so many New Year Resolutioners drop out right after the start of a new year. They join a gym expecting these massive leaps and bounds in their progress, and when they don’t see it right away, they will just give up. These types of lifters will stop following their training, diet and recovery programs, and then following that is all of their progress. The loss of motivation then makes them quit working out altogether.

It truly is a vicious cycle, and it is one that you should avoid. Whenever you start to lose motivation, remind yourself why you started in the first place, and try to get yourself back on the horse. Doing something such as watching motivational videos or all-time classic bodybuilding films like Generation Iron should help you get back up.

Wrap Up

Overall, hitting a plateau in your lifting career is one of the most defeating things that you can come across. A plateau not only halts your physical gains such as size and strength, but also hurts your mental strength. That being said, you should take a look at all of the reasons you may be hitting a plateau and try to avoid them the best as possible.

Look to switch up your diet and training, pump yourself full of motivational videos and films, do what you have to do, but do not let yourself fall flat.

What do you do when you don’t feel motivated? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.