Sunday, October 18th, 2009

How to Break A Weight Lifting Plateau

October 14, 2009 by Kris Jones  
Filed under Fitness, Weight Lifting

A weight lifting plateau occur when a weight lifter reaches a point in their workout where they no longer derive increases (or at least notable increases) in their strength. For example, after 8 months of working out, a weight lifter may notice their workout isn’t increasing the amount they can squat. In other words, their one rep squat max is staying the same and more workouts aren’t helping.

Plateaus are extremely frustrating – especially when you reach one for the first time. As a dedicated beginner to weight lifting, you will experience incremental gains at a high rate but as your strength increases, the ratio at which your strength increases decreases.

To break out of a weight lifting plateau, common sense will correctly indicate that you should do something(s) different. Try any of the following or combination thereof to break your slump:

  1. Mix your workouts.  Keep the same exercises, but go into different reps, sets, weights, and timing.  There are practically infinite possibilities in the weight room.
  2. Change your workout.  Get into different exercises and ways of doing things.  Example: substitute breast stroke for dumbell chest flies.
  3. Do both.  Mix and change your workout.  This produces even more combinations.
  4. Get more or less rest.  Too much sleep can make you sluggish.  Too little sleep can make you sluggish.  Everyone is different, but as a weight lifter you will need more rest than most.  If you’re sleeping 11 hours a day on average, you’re in overkill.  Scale this down.
  5. Change the time at which you workout.  You’d be surprised how much this can help.
  6. Inject more nutrition in your diet.  Protein is big so make sure you have plenty but you need more nutrients and minerals elsewhere (probably fruits and vegetables).
  7. Slim your diet.  Too many empty calories or fatty foods can slow you down.
  8. Take a vacation from working out.  Sometimes your body just needs a spell to recharge and repair.  When you come back, you might be better than ever.
  9. Focus mentally.  There are mental barriers in the weight room, free your mind.  Do whatever you need to do.
  10. Any combination of the above.
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