Have you been working out but it seems like you have stopped seeing any progress? Don’t let this frustrate you. We’ve all gone through that at some point, whether it’s during training to lose weight or to build muscle.
A muscle growth plateau refers to the period when your body adapts to all the stress you put it through. It leads to slow or no progress after training.
If you have never reached one, consider yourself one of the few lucky ones. However, if you are already stuck in that phase, here’s how to overcome plateau.
Sometimes, bodyweight is the best
Do you remember when the last time you did push-ups or pull-ups was?
You probably can’t remember. We are so used to straining ourselves with lifting heavy weights and forgetting that our bodies can be used as a weapon, too.
Do more push-ups and pull-ups. These two exercises target almost all of your muscles and put tension in your entire body in a set period.
They make your body work harder, helping you unlock your strength and fitness potential. Another advantage of bodyweight training is that you can do the exercises anywhere.
Our bodies adapt to any stress put on them quickly. While this could usually be a good thing, it also means that your body can adjust fast to the pressure you put it under during exercises. When you do the same workouts every day, your body will inevitably adapt to your routine.
Change up your equipment and exercises to challenge your body in different ways. For instance, if you usually bench press, try push-ups instead. Changing up your routine utilizes your muscles differently, helping you break out of the plateau.
Use supplements properly
Supplements are different and work in various ways. Not all of them will work for you. Because of that, identifying the best for your body type is vital.
Getting no results after working out can be frustrating and demoralizing. One of the main reasons people hit the growth plateau is due to not eating well. Although you usually work out at the gym, muscle growth doesn’t happen there.
It’s when you go home to eat and rest that it happens. So, eat foods rich in proteins to gain more muscles.
Sometimes, however, you need to fill the nutritional and energy gap caused by your workout. You can take supplements like L-glutamine, Branch chain amino acids(BCAAs), Omega-3 fish oil, and creatine. They give you an extra boost of energy and preserve your muscle mass.
Exert more effort than before
Another reason we hit growth plateaus is that you are not stressing your muscles enough. Try to train better today than you did yesterday. For instance, if you have been doing 3 sets of 4 reps in the bench press, increase that gradually to 4 sets or 5 sets.
You can also increase the frequency and length of your workouts. Any time you get some progress, celebrate the win no matter how small it is. A win gives you the motivation to keep working.
Change up the tempo
Want to get out of the rut you are stuck in?
You need to start exercising at varying intensity. If you have been doing specific exercises and you don’t want to change them, you can make a change in your program by changing the speed. According to research, doing your repetitions fast produces different results than slow reps.
Doing your reps fast increases your muscle strength while slow ones increase your muscle mass. It would be best to combine both fast and slow reps of exercises to get the most out of your workout. The varying speeds make the workout feel different and produce results.
So, you want to gain muscles?
To understand how to do this, you need to understand what muscle hypertrophy is. It is an increase in the size of the muscles that change according to use. Muscle fiber increases in size due to training.
During the first months of exercising, you gain the most muscle mass. This decreases as months go by.
Hypertrophy is a response to mechanical load, but growth happens during your recovery times. Optimize all the ways you can achieve hypertrophy, which means more effective training, as well as observing proper nutrition and resting.
Do a complete 180 on everything
If something is not working for you, don’t be afraid to change things up. You are already stuck, what do you have to lose by changing?
Change your diet to a healthier one, change your workout schedule, and start a new one. Also, you could reverse the order you do your exercises.
When muscles exercise in a specific order, they get adapted to that. However, when you do the same activities but in a different order, the muscles react to them differently.
You can come up with a different schedule every few weeks to prevent your body from adapting to the changes.
Eliminate caffeine from your routine
How many people do you know are coffee addicts and can’t perform well during the day unless they have their daily dose of caffeine?
It is common knowledge that caffeine is one of the most popular stimulants. Mainly, it is taken in beverage forms, such as in coffee and tea. While the consumption of these may improve your workout to some extent, it still has some effects that may negatively affect you and prevent you from performing at an optimum condition.
Drinking caffeine every day can cause dehydration when performing intense workouts, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and nervousness. Consuming too much caffeine has been known to increase a person’s heart rate as well as blood pressure, increasing one’s risk of heart attacks. Try to avoid the excessive consumption of caffeine.
Rest, rest, rest
The saying ‘sleep is the best medicine’ is true. After those tiring workouts and all your other engagements every day, it is not surprising that your body will eventually give up.
Try to rest as much as possible. Sleep more than eight hours every day. You should try to eat foods rich in proteins before sleeping.
Protein synthesis occurs while we sleep. Amino acids found in proteins are essential for bodybuilding. They are even considered the body’s ‘building blocks’.
No challenge is too big for you to overcome. When you hit the muscle growth plateau, approach it as a challenge to find new ways to gain muscles.
The three main reasons why we get stuck are: excessive training, not having proper nutrition, and not stressing your muscles enough.
If you are in this situation, don’t get frustrated as most of us go through it at one point or another during training. Use the above tips and you will break out of the muscle growth plateau like a pro.
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Author: Herbert Sward
Herbert Sward is a fitness coach, a bodybuilder, and a blogger as well. His mission is to make it simple for athletes to gain great body shape and achieve a positive mindset. He was a member of steroid and hormones testing programs. Currently blogging for Steroids Sale Guidelines web resource.