The fact is no matter how diligent of an athlete or fitness enthusiast you are, you’re going to run into training plateaus from time to time.
It’s a part of the fitness journey. It’s important for you to know how to overcome these obstacles and keep making solid muscle building progress.
Follow these tips to overcome muscle building plateaus:
1. INCREASE YOUR FOOD INTAKE
If you’re currently dieting or keeping a relatively restricted calorie intake then your body doesn’t have much fuel for the biological processes of muscle growth to take place. Low calories also slows down your metabolism. Increase your daily calories by 500 calories.
Increase your proteins to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Increase your healthy fats to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. Increase your carbs to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight until you start making progress. Get your carbs from whole sources. Avoid energy sapping and fat storing processed carbs.
2. CHANGE UP YOUR ROUTINE
If you’ve been doing the same routine for the past few months, your body has adapted to the training by now and knows exactly what to expect. The routine doesn’t challenge your muscles anymore, leaving your body with no incentive to grow.
Change up the exercises in your routine, include more challenging exercises and switch things around. Give your body a new challenge to work hard to adapt to. If you’ve been doing barbell bench press, switch to barbell incline bench press and heavy dumbbell incline bench press, etc.
3. KEEP CHANGING UP THE VARIABLES
To keep changing up the variables means to alter the number of sets and reps that you perform as well the order of exercises, the types of exercises and your rest times from workout to workout. This is known as periodization.
The goal of changing up the variables is to keep your body from adapting to your training routine quickly. Keeping your body guessing and working hard to keep up with the demands of training is key to continuous muscle building progress.
4. HAVE A DE-LOAD WEEK
While you should train hard and intense, you can’t go heavy and high volume all the time. You should train hard and intense for three weeks, then lighten up the load the fourth week to 70% of your normal training load.
Having a de-load week like this allows you to keep training but it also gives your body the time it needs to recover and rebuild after a hard and intense three straight weeks of training. After the de-load week you can start training heavy and high volume again.