How to prevent yourself from hitting a plateau
Many of us will at one stage approach a muscle-building plateau where we feel like our strength and muscle size is no longer improving. This often happens after you have been working out for a while but here are some muscle building tips so you can prevent this from happening.
1. Experiment with new exercises
Don’t let your body get used to the same exercises. You should alternate exercises approximately every few weeks. For example, if you have been doing bench press for the last month, start doing bench press with dumbbells instead.
2. Try out new weight lifting techniques
This is the same principle as the last tip, you can keep your body surprised not only by doing different exercises, but also how you actually lift the weights.
Here are some weight lifting techniques you can try out if you don’t do so already:
Drop sets – Do as many reps as you can on a weight then as soon as you finish, lower the weight and lift as many reps as you can again. You can lower the weight twice or three times, it’s up to you. This kind of weight lifting can be quite challenging, so try to do it a maximum of three times in your workout.
Pause reps – Each weight lifting exercise has a positive and negative section. The positive is normally a pushing or pulling action and the negative is usually when you lower the weight.
To do a pause rep you simply keep hold of the weight in between the negative and positive section of an exercise for 3-5 seconds. This takes away the momentum from your exercises therefore increases the intensity.
Negative reps – As already mentioned there are positive and negative parts of an exercise. To do a negative rep you simply perform the negative section of an exercise slowly. For example, if you were doing chin ups you would lower yourself very slowly so that it takes you approximately 5 seconds.
3. Keep a training log
If you keep a track on how many reps you were able to do in previous workouts, it can give you a target to beat in your next workout. Having a target can really encourage you to lift that little bit more at the gym, and that will encourage muscle growth.
4. Reverse the order of your exercises
People may often go to the gym and do exercises in the same order as they did the previous weeks. Try switching it around so you don’t get into a routine. For example, if you normally work out in this order: bench press, the fly, shoulder press, tricep extensions. Try doing it in a completely different order in your next workout.
5. Vary your number of reps
Some people do the same number of repetitions far too regularly. 6-10 reps focuses on muscle mass where as 12 reps and over focuses more on toning. That doesn’t mean you should only do one or the other. So if your goal is to bulk up, you should try to do a few sets with a high number of repetitions so that your body isn’t always used to being in the 6-10 rep range. A good way of doing this is by doing push ups.
6. Eat more
As you get bigger and develop more muscle you need to remember that you have to eat more too. You have to always eat more calories than you burn off if you want to maintain fast muscle growth.
7. Take a break
Sometimes your body just needs a break from the gym. If you have been working out regularly for a while you could try taking a break for 5-7 days and see if that recharges your body.
Supplements aren’t a necessity since the most important thing is to have a good diet. However, if you already have a good diet, supplements could benefit your muscle-building. One of the most popular supplements is whey protein; you can click on this link to learn when to take whey protein so that you can get the most out of it.