One of the biggest issues weight lifters or any athlete dreads is hitting a plateau, and not knowing how to get passed it. It can be the most frustrating thing in the world because there are obviously many factors that go in to muscle growth and definition, so pinpointing the problem can be extremely difficult.
Many people comb through every aspect of their lives to seek out the solution, everything from optimized sleeping habits, a special diet and just generally making all the lifestyle changes necessary to do so.
The mistake many of us make however is overlooking the obvious: our training programs are the culprit here that is holding us back. This can be perplexing to many people because they have followed this same routine in the past which has brought them good results, so why would things be different now?
The problem with this line of thinking is that we are forgetting an extremely important aspect when it comes to lifting and gaining muscle mass: adaptability.
We always have to remember and keep in mind that our bodies are always trying to adapt to do a better job in any function it performs, including weight lifting. This means that over time your body is going to become more efficient at doing the same amount of work, requiring less energy in the process.
This means that your normal exercise routine which brought you impressive results isn’t going to do so in the same manner as time progresses. You will get less benefit out of the exercise the more you get used to it, making varying up your routine an essential component in your progression.
All of this being said, the main idea behind optimizing your muscle growth and progression in lifting more weight is to “confuse” your body as much as possible. Switching things up from time to time can make all the difference in the world; here are some simple ways in which you can do so:
1-Pair Some Upper Body Exercises with Lower Body
One very common mistake people make in the gym is that they get stuck in a routine. The next time you are in the gym take a look around, many of the same people are doing the same exercises on the same days. For some reason it seems like chest is popular on Monday, back on Tuesday, shoulders Wednesday, etc.
Not only is your body completely used to this, you are probably fighting the same people for the same equipment everyday also. Switch up your routine to accelerate your growth, and avoid a line at the bench press.
A good suggestion here is to do some upper body exercises and lower body exercises on the same day. This will not only help you in giving your body a workout it’s not used to, but you will get more benefit from it also.
Splitting up your workouts like this and doing a day of shoulders and quads for example is going to allow you to lift more in each respective exercise as well, as these two muscle groups aren’t complimentary-the quads will be inactive during shoulder workouts and vice-versa. This helps speed up recovery time, allowing you to lift heavier.
2- Save Days of Isolation for the Lower Body
Many people who weight train, especially men in particular are guilty of spending plenty of time on their upper body, while neglecting their legs. If you are one of the many men who fall in to this category, you need to focus more on this problem area.
A great way to do so is through isolation exercises, you can even break it down to where you are isolating just the quads, or the hamstrings, or the calves to really hit that muscle group hard, and give your body something it really is unfamiliar with.
Conversely if you are someone who focuses more heavily on your legs than your upper body, you will want to take the opposite approach in focusing more on upper body isolation exercises.
3-Don’t Forget the Abs!
The core, including the abdominal muscles, is another muscle group commonly neglected by many men. The core is involved in pretty much any exercise that requires stabilization, so the core gets work from just doing your other routines.
This work isn’t enough on its own, and isolating the abdominals is another good way to switch up your routine and give yourself a good workout also.
The abdominals can be split in to three different groups as well, upper, lower and obliques; increasing the potential for other isolation exercises in this muscle group.