How to break through plateaus in your training

You are getting frustrated and your progress has stalled at the gym.  Sound familiar? Well you are not alone.  You have hit what we call a plateau.  Thankfully, I have hit many of them and have a few training solutions that can break the walls down and accelerate your progress once again.

You could be training religiously in the gym every week; your nutrition might be on point and you are getting plenty of sleep.  Yet still you are not getting any stronger, gaining lean muscle mass, dropping body fat and you cannot understand why.  I am going to share with you 4 exercise techniques which may be new to you.  These techniques should increase your intensity in the gym which will help you now and in the future.

1. Drop Sets

Drop sets are great for muscle building, strength improvement, and a little for cardiovascular benefit.

A drop set is where you extend your set after failure by lowering the weight you are using to a lower number and resume lifting. Once you hit failure again, you lower the weight again.  Repeat this until you get the desired number of reps you want, or you hit total failure.

2. Rest-Pause Sets

This is another good one that will help with strength and muscle building. Rest pause sets are taking a weight to failure 2-3 times in one set.  Let us use the bench for example. You want to get 60kg for 25 reps. You just cannot seem to get past 16-18 reps though. Load up 60kg and start repping. Once you hit failure, rack the weight and count to 5. Now unrack and get as many more as you can.

Once you hit failure again, rack it again. This time you will count the same way to 10. After the 10 count, unrack and finish it off before racking for the final time.  Doing this for a few weeks, you will get closer or hit your goal of 60kg for 25 consecutive reps.

3. Supersets

This method is for muscle building and is also great for cardiovascular improvement. Supersets is taking two exercises and doing them back to back without rest. They can be for the same muscle group, like flat barbell bench press and flat dumbbell flyes, or they can be for opposing muscle groups, like barbell curls for biceps and skull crushers for triceps.

The objective is to do them back to back without rest or with as little rest as possible. The quicker, the better. We will use back this time for the same muscle group superset.

4. Giant Sets

Giant sets are for primarily cardiovascular benefits and muscular endurance improvement. They are supersets only much larger and usually used for the same muscle group. We will train shoulders this time. We will do seated dumbbell presses, side raises, rear lateral raises, and dumbbell upright rows.

A Giant set might look like this:

Seated Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 10 reps

Side Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 10 reps

Rear Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 10 reps

Dumbbell Upright Row: 3 sets of 10 reps

Although I have found all these methods highly effective for breaking my own plateaus you may need to change up your whole training plan.  You might need to look at different body part splits, rep ranges etc.  Whatever you do, do not give up because you will find a way to make progress once again!

Co-owner – Derek Brettell