How Do You Avoid A Plateau?

Fitness Training with Nicky Holland

One thing I’ve noticed during my time in the fitness industry is that many people do ‘just enough’ to get by. One of my old football coaches used to call it ‘going through the motions’ meaning performing actions without any urgency or direct purpose. This can be dangerous, and I’ll explain why. Let’s say you go to the gym x4 times a week for 2 months. You would expect to see some improvements when it comes to your strength, fitness, body shape and appearance…not necessarily. What if you spend 20 minutes of your 1-hour session chatting to people? What if you do the same weight and reps without challenging yourself? Unless you are constantly challenging your body, at most you’re maintaining your strength and fitness levels. The human body can adapt very quickly. Reading this article can help you avoid or break through any plateau so that you start to see a change.

    First of all, we need to establish what might cause a plateau in your training. As mentioned above, going to the gym and showing up x4 times a week isn’t going to be enough.

Therefore, if you:

  • do the same number of reps and sets
  • do exercises in the same order
  • rest for the same period
  • lift the same weight
  • follow the same programme
  • work at the same intensity…you’ll probably reach a plateau.

Instead, you need to apply progressive overload to your training. This is where you will progressively increase the variables which make the training more challenging. Here are some examples below:

Increase the reps (If you can do 10 reps at ease, then next time aim for 12)

Increase the number of sets (If you can do 3 sets of 8 reps, try to complete 4 sets of 8 reps)

Reduce rest period between sets (If you rest for 60 seconds, reduce this to 45 or even 30 seconds between sets)

Increase the weight (If you can squat 60kg for 12 reps, next time try 62.5kg for 12 weeks)

Improve R.O.M – Range of movement (If you can half squat 80kg for8 reps, try to go deeper and lower, to increase the range of movement)

Change the tempo (If you can bench press 50kg for 15 reps easily, try to slow the movement down, to increase T.U.T – time under tension)

The above points are fairly simple to do. My last bit of advice is to write it down. You’ll never remember the whole session so keep record of what you do and keep a log (on some paper or notes on your phone) as this will help you when you try to equal or beat last weeks training.

Nothing exciting happens inside your comfort zone, you have to keep challenging yourself if you want to see improvements or change.

So give it go, break the plateau!!

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