by Tim · Filed Under: Live Fit
I FOUND THIS ONE SMALL CHANGE IN YOUR WORKOUT PLAN CAN GET YOU PAST THAT DREADED PLATEAU
I’ve been working out consistently for the past 10 years and I often get the question about how to get past that nasty plateau when trying to build muscle. I’ve been there so I know how you feel because I’ve felt the same way at times, but what I have found is that you can get past it with a very simple solution.
It’s nothing new, in fact you have probably heard it numerous times, but never tried it or thought it was all shenanigans. It does in fact work and I’ve been incorporating into my plan for years. This little gem of a “secret” is CONSTANTLY CHANGE YOUR WORKOUT. You have to keep your muscles confused and guessing on what’s coming next. If they adapt, that’s when you hit the plateau.
I’m not talking about every week, but you can’t stick to the same workout for years and expect to continue to get the same results as when you started. I’ve been down that road and found I would get into a comfort zone with my workout. I knew exactly which days I would work each muscle group and the exact exercises, reps and sets I would do. It worked. I got results at first and then just plateaued and the results stopped. Nothing lost, but couldn’t get by this hump. Sure, just like you, I heard experts out there saying to change it up to get over this hurdle, but I didn’t listen and didn’t want to take the time to look for a new workout and learn something new. But once I started changing things up a bit, I was seeing the results.
A good rule of thumb is to pick out a routine and complete it then move on to another. If you liked a certain routine, you can always come back to it and start over, I would just increase the weight a bit from what you previously did. Some routines will be six weeks, some twelve, whatever it calls for stick with it until it’s complete.
How does it work
So why does this switching routines help you get past this and start building muscle again? I can’t get into all the scientific mechanics of how it works, but I can give you a basic idea that will help you out. Your muscles have memory, strange I know, but they do. They remember your workouts just like your brain does. After so long doing the same routine over and over, your muscles remember your exercises and the load (weight) you are going to put them through. Once your muscles have been accustomed to the workout and weight, the fibers will stop breaking down and stop trying to build new growth.
I know it’s a little strange, but when you are working out you are actually tearing your muscles and when you sleep they repair themselves which enables the growth. This is why you hear that getting a good nights rest is one of the best things to do. Here’s the trick though, muscles are like scares, if you keep picking at them they never heal. So if you work the same muscles groups day after day without giving a specific body part enough rest and repair they just stay in that “tearing mode” and never grow. That’s why I always suggest giving each group a week to repair and then go at ‘em again. And yes, you are not actually building muscle when you are in the gym, so quit trying to spend hours upon hours in the gym thinking you are going to get better results by spending more time there. Get it and get out is my philosophy.
High Intensity Training
This is why I like the H.I.T (High Intensity Training) programs so much. First they are intense, but they tend to be short. The philosophy behind this is that you work a muscle group to complete failure with fewer sets but with extreme intensity and then stop because you have torn down the muscle fibers enough so they can now rebuild.
A great resource I have found for finding different workouts is Bodybuilding.com. You can choose your workout according to sex, goals and age and they are all free. If you’ve hit that plateau, check the site out, pick a workout and get busy!
If you looking for one of those H.I.T programs, here is my favorite one on the site: