Simple Plateau Busters to Get You Back in the Game
I have 3 plateau busters to bring new growth if your training program is stuck in a rut. Let’s face it. We’ve all been stuck in a training rut. You know what I’m talking about. You keep hammering away at the weights day after day, yet you don’t see any results to show for all your hard iron-pumpin’ work. A training plateau is just a rite of passage for the bodybuilder. Even though you despise these speed bumps, they can actually be good for your training because they tell you that your body is bored and you need to shake things up a bit.
What Causes Training Plateaus
So, what causes training plateaus? They are often caused by doing the same exact workout day in and day out. If you don’t change anything in your training, your body certainly is not going to change. If you want changes, you have to change.
Bursting through plateaus can come in many forms such as varying sets, rep speed, the number of repetitions, tempo, as well as hand and foot placement. In fact, ANY change made in your training is a new type of stress to your body, causing it to respond and sparking new growth and serves as one of the many plateau busters.
Below are some of my favorite shock techniques. I incorporate them from time to time when I need to make a change or if I feel my workout is lacking.
Drop sets are often called burns or burn sets. Drop sets are one of the best plateau busters. They can give you an insane pump for an intense workout.
Here’s How You Do It: Let’s say you are curling 60 pound with the EZ cur bar. After you do your last rep with that weight using proper form, have your training partner strip off half the weight as quickly as possible, then crank out reps until you hit failure with good form. Have your training partner strip off the rest of the weight and curl the bar for as many reps as you can with good form.
If you don’t have anyone to strip the weight for you, you can use the dumbbells and just work down the rack. Just be mindful of others in the gym. We all have to share the equipment.
Isometric training is at the top of the list too as one of the many plateau busters. Isometric training is also referred to as static training. Wikipedia.com defines it as, “Isometric exercise or isometrics are a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction (compared to concentric or eccentric contractions, called dynamic/isotonic movements). Isometrics are done in static positions, rather than being dynamic through a range of motion.”
To simplify it, with this training principle you simply hold the rep at either mid-point or the fully contracted position until your muscles are completely fatigued. You can either add isometrics at the end of a full set, or you can make that one isometric contraction the full set.
Here’s How You Do It: Let’s say you are doing lying leg curls for your hamstrings. When you are doing legs curls and your hamstrings are getting fatigued, try to gauge which will be your last rep. Take that last rep and hold it at mid-point for as long as possible. If you have a spotter or training partner around, have him or her add resistance to your static hold to increase the tension. Keeping holding that contraction until total and complete muscle failure.
Forced reps are next in line for the best of the best plateau busters. These allow you to go beyond failure. This training principle takes a spotter or training partner. Lift your weight as normal, getting in all your repetitions. When your muscles become fatigued, your spotter steps in and assists you in lifting those final few repetitions that you cannot complete on your own.
Here’s How You Do It: Let’s say you are doing the lat pulldown. Crank out as many reps as you can with good form. When you can’t move the weight anymore with good form, your training partner will step in behind you and help you with the pulling action. As you do the lat pulldown, your spotter will assist by pushing down on the bar so you can get additional reps in.