LAST UPDATED: March 29th, 2021
No matter how much you love the gym and working out, you can’t always be in the mood for exercise.
You sometimes lose focus and motivation for training.
When it comes to bodybuilding plateau, fitness plateau, or muscle building plateau it means you definitely need to change something.
What is a bodybuilding plateau?
If you exaggerate with exercise you might not progress in building muscle mass.
There are 2 categories:
Overtraining and weakness.
Overtraining is the result of bad planning.
The consequences are usually a lack of will for exercising or even injuries.
Weakness is the consequence of doing the same exercises over and over again, your body gets used to a certain way of working out and it activates only the muscles needed to do the work.
There is no additional stimulation.
But, it’s possible to progress and avoid bodybuilding plateau- you need to analyze your workout program regularly and you need to adopt some of the following strategies to overcome stagnation.
How to break bodybuilding plateau?
Reaching plateau simply means that your body got used to the way of exercising you adopted at the beginning of your mission, to shape your body until the summer starts.
The impulse you send your body through exercising is not strong enough and you start stagnating. (1)
To continue progressing you need to make your body and mind constantly ‘shocked’ with new tasks and weights.
Best tips to overcome a muscle-building plateau
1. Change your workout routine
To really make a change for better, your training plan needs to be constantly intensive and varied.
If you do the same workout every day (some of you do similar circuit workouts the entire week) your body will adapt and the challenge stops there.
Always tend to give yourself ‘homework’, a challenge that your body will need to work hard to do it.
Do you always work out your chest, legs, arms and so on the same days?
Try to work out bigger muscle groups during or after the weekend (on Mondays) when they are rested.
Another tip to maintain a mental and body freshness is to change gyms from time to time.
New environments can make you choose new machines.
Or the machines you always use might seem different.
2. Split your workouts into cycles
Remember, it’s impossible to reach a maximum at every workout; if you try that you’ll soon reach a plateau.
Make simple 8-week programs with hard, medium and easy workouts for every part of the body.
Whenever you have a hard workout, push the limits.
Do cardio endurance during the medium and easy workouts.
At the end of the 8-week cycle, take a week off- you’ve earned it, and your body will be grateful.
If you do a few of those workout cycles, it’s not a bad idea to take a month off to recharge your batteries.
This approach is really good if you want to avoid muscle and connective tissue injuries.
3. Choose the right exercises
If you are building chest, back, shoulders, or legs muscle mass, choose 4 or 5 different workout exercises.
For smaller muscle groups like biceps, 2 or 3 exercises are enough.
For bigger muscle groups the first exercise should be for warming up and boosting your blood flow.
The second exercise should be hard, an exercise that includes more joints, something like bench press and squats.
4. Hire a personal trainer
Hiring a personal trainer no matter how competent you think you are is the best investment you can make.
The motivation you get from the person that controls your workout, telling you what to do and what not to do, is priceless.
And what’s more, a personal trainer doesn’t want you to suffer, so they will offer you tips on how to reduce pain suggesting different approaches, adjusting your goals, assessing your progress.
A free alternative to a personal trainer is a workout partner.
Find someone knowledgeable-that kind of partner can offer the positive sides of a personal trainer but will curse more, I guess.
And knowing that someone is waiting for you at the gym will force you to show up.
5. Don’t forget strength training
If you want to burn fat before summer and increase lean muscles, don’t do just cardio.
You need to build lean muscle mass since when you have muscles you will speed up your metabolism and shape your body.
A constant cardio workout can result in catabolism.
That leads to increasing the levels of cortisol which only allows storing more fat.
Some of the best strength exercises are deadlift, squats, bench press, rowing. (2)
6. Increase the intensity of your workout
Increase the challenge.
If you are lacking results you should increase the weight or run faster.
7. Drink enough water
A very important thing.
Your body can’t work properly if it’s not hydrated.
Don’t forget to drink water before and after workouts, but also to drink enough water during working out.
You can read more about drinking water for muscle mass here.
8. Sleep well
Adequate rest is as important as diet and training.
If your body isn’t well-rested it simply can’t do the exercises well and you will reach a plateau.
There’s a reason why professional athletes often sleep after a hard workout.
Rest and sleep will help you recover after your workout.
9. Don’t overtrain
Sometimes plateau happens because of overtraining.
Look at your training schedule and listen to your body.
If your muscles are constantly inflamed and you can’t recover well between 2 workouts, slow down. (3)
If you feel any of these symptoms, it means that you overtrain.
Look at your symptoms and take a few rest days.
Sometimes when you slow down the results arrive faster.
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