Creating a plan before you start your workouts will go a long way toward avoiding the plateaus most people encounter after adapting to their current workout.
You can avoid strength-training plateaus with a little pre-training planning. The reason most people experience plateaus during their training is due to habit. Habit is good when used in conjunction with training, right? The habit I’m referring to is the monotony of doing the same workout each training session. Not only is it monotonous, after your body adapts to your current workout, it won’t change anymore. If you plan your workouts as little as 2 weeks in advance, you can avoid plateaus and boredom. Here are a number of ways to ensure continued results and progress from your fitness endeavors.
1) Use different exercises to work the same body parts i.e., work chest with the bench press, cable-cross flys, incline bar or dumbbell press, decline bar or dumbbell press and push-ups.
2) Change the intensity of the workout i.e., vary the amount of rest between sets. If you’re resting 2 minutes between sets try 1 minute instead. This will increase the intensity level of the workout.
3) Increase or decrease the number of sets performed within each workout i.e., if you currently do 3 sets of each exercise, try doing 4 or 5 sets. If doing less sets increase the amount of weight lifted (be careful to use proper form and a spotter if necessary).
4) Vary the order in which you perform your routine i.e., if your current routine is legs, back, shoulder, and core. Try back, shoulders, legs and core or any combination you like (try to work larger muscles first).
5) Include some super-sets in your routine i.e., after a set of bench press drop down to the floor and do a set of push-ups or do a set of pull-ups after completing a set of dumbbell rows.
Be creative with your workout variations, the possibilities are endless. It’s a good idea to keep a workout log for tracking the combinations and weight increments used. It also helps with planning your future workouts. You can change your workout as often as you’d like but I suggest some variance every 2 to 4 weeks for maximum stimulation and results. If you’ve reached a plateau, work a few of my suggestions into your workout and see what happens. Try it for a few weeks and then, report your results back here, I look forward to hearing from you.