Breaking Through a Plateau
I really wish they didn’t exist. When I get into a routine I start to feel good and confident and by like a week later I’m having to change it up. I switch between heavy and “light” lifting about every 3 months. Keyword: about. I can lift 5×5 for a while and then I gotta take a bit of a break and lift 3×8. I mean, in theory that’s good because it “confuses” my muscles (sorta) but it’s still just annoying to have to flip flop around to stay fit.
You have got to work the different parts of your muscles though. If you can hammer curl the 50′s for 8 reps you should be able to do the 20′s for like, 40+. You’d be surprised at how many people can’t do that though. They’ve really only trained their brachii in a way that it can do 8 reps. I realize you probably won’t run into a situation that requires you to hammer curl something more than twice, but that doesn’t change the fact that you have to strengthen each muscles and round it out.
That can be tricky though when you run into a plateau (take the rhyme Dr. Seuss). They are a good sign because it means that your body is ready for something new but it still sucks trying to break through them.
Plain and simple. To break through them you have got to change your routine.
For example. If you do your workout in an order like Legs – Back – Shoulders every time your body will not get stronger or break through the plateau. Look at it this way. Lets say you do 5×5 squats. A great workout no doubt, but they work your shoulders a little. You do have to balance that weight and make sure it doesn’t go anywhere other than back on the rack. Now let’s say you do deadlifts. A great workout no doubt, but they work your shoulders a little more. You’re lifting a weight off the ground (primarily with your back) but you have to lock those shoulder blades somehow. That takes energy. Now you get to your shoulder workout and they’re not as strong as they once were. I understand it’s the difference between 5 pounds or so. But that’s muscle gain my friend.
Next time maybe start with shoulders first. You’ll be able to lift 5 pounds more. With practice, 5 pounds more again. Change your reps and sets too. My point being, to build muscle you need to be at your best energy level. It doesn’t do any good to work a tired muscles. I understand the goal is to MAKE your muscles fatigue to build strength and muscle but there is such a thing as overkill. This can be blindly accomplished if you fall into a routine and a plateau.
You really should approach a plateau like a game of chess though. There are only really 5 moves you can do though.
-Change the reps
-Change the weights
-Change the sets
-Change the order
-Change the exercise
You just got to play with each solution and figure it out. My best advice is to change the order though and then change the sets and reps.