Getting stuck on a weightlifting plateau directly affects the motivation to keep going forward on your fitness goals. The first assurance you need is that it happens to the best of us whether our goal is muscle building or fat loss. You aren’t alone, and my goal is to help you understand the intricacies of the weightlifting plateau so you can make your way past it smoothly while staying true, to your fitness regime.
What is a weightlifting plateau?
Doctors, health professionals, trainers, and influencers have all been through this plateau in their training routine. Weightlifting plateau is your body’s adaptability to the consistently increasing weight in any given exercise regime up to a certain number. Post this it becomes difficult to raise the load on the muscles progressively or to gain a regular advancement in your muscle growth.
For instance, you have been working on building your leg muscles over the past few months, increasingly overloading them every couple of weeks. You’ve reached a point where you can lift say 30 kgs in your squats, from where you start to notice a lack of growth in your muscles. That halt is called a weightlifting plateau.
Follow the steps below and strategize your workouts accordingly to overcome the halt.
- Increase Your Training Intensity – Drop your reps and focus on increasing the load, ensuring that your muscles work harder to edge over the plateau. Let’s assume that you plateaued at lifting 20 Kg at 10-12 reps currently. The smart move would be to lower your reps to 6-8 while raising the weight to say 22 Kg. By the end of one or two sets, you should feel the struggle to lift with proper form. If that happens, be assured that you are moving in the right direction.
- Introduce Exercise Circuits – When you perform a range of exercises using various gym equipments to target a different set of muscles under a specific amount of time, it is called a circuit. Mixing core, legs, and upper body exercises under circuit training is a sure shot way to lessen the duration of your weightlifting plateau. Maintain the number of sets and reps as you would in your regular training days to avoid overtraining. Complete the entire circuit in one go. Rest and repeat.
- Modify Your Exercise Routine – A study conducted by the University of Florida observed that varying their workouts every two weeks helped individuals avoid plateaus considerably well. A regular gym-goer understands the monotony that arrives with following a set routine in their fitness program, which eventually fosters slower growth and demotivation. Consider trying different training programs like working out with the CrossFit-equipment in your gym when you approach a plateau.
- Work More Muscles – The benefits of compound vs. isolation exercises have been an unceasing debate in the fitness industry. Workouts performed using gym machines essentially target isolated muscles while the ones with free weights focus more on combining various muscle groups. An intelligent way to plan your routine is to include a mix of both these exercises while inclining more towards the compound exercises. So, replace repeated sets on the leg press with different types of squats and much more.
- Get More Rest – You can’t dismiss scientific facts about your body, and science says that your body requires at least 48 hours to recover from a weight training session. If you keep overtraining, eventually your body is going to hit a halt in its growth and repair, stunting your exercise goals and attracting other difficulties. Don’t be too hard on yourself and plan each weight training session keeping a gap of 2 days while resting adequately in-between.
- Improve Your Nutrition – It has been proven time and again that a lack of a healthy diet negates the hard work you put into your workouts. Isn’t it sad, for instance, to see no change in your body after toiling with the CrossFit gym equipment at your gym religiously? If you have been at a weightlifting plateau for a long time, is possible that your body urgently needs a suitable combination of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals which are absent from your daily diet. Talk to a nutritionist to cater to a proper diet and allow your body to function efficiently at restoring and repairing the muscles after a workout.
I hope you have found a suitable direction to move in now. If you are already getting into your exercise gear, use these tips to jump past your weightlifting plateau.