Training plateaus can be hard to manage. We lose motivation, belief and self-confidence. We can fall into the trap of thinking that we aren’t ready or can’t reach our goals. But don’t worry, we definitely can! And I’m going to lay out some ways to help you break through your training plateaus.
For starters, what is a training plateau? A training plateau is when your body adapts to a particular, programme, exercise or weight, meaning it no longer gets the benefits from the exercise. Exercise puts strain and effort through our muscles, nervous system and body as a whole. The body then learns to adapt, growing and repairing to be bigger, stronger and faster. Then we push ourselves onto the next level. Using this system of training is called Progressive Overload. Progressive Overload is vital to us pushing forward on our fitness journey, to help our body maximise its potential.
If you’re new to training, more likely than not, you will start seeing results very quickly. Think of it like you are shocking your body out of apathy. Then after a while that will drop off, it’s inevitable. This is the point where we can look to the following strategies to help:
Change your training style
Just like training when you’re starting out, shock the body. Change exercises in your routines, or aim for a different style of training. Make sure you progress logically and don’t flit from one style to the next. Consistency is key, so make sure you track and write down your workouts, to help you navigate through your progress and keep track of what you need to progress to next.
Use Progressive Overload
You don’t have to smash up weight for Progressive Overload. You can change one parameter of an exercise at a time, from rest periods, TUT (time under tension), Tempo, Reps or Sets plus the obvious one which is Weight. Don’t feel like you have to smash out more sets at a higher weight straight away. Start by lowering your rest times, then add a small increment of weight and then add a rep or two, then an extra set. Again write everything down so you can track this more easily. Exercise doesn’t have to be complex, but the variables need to be measured!
Use SMART goal setting
That huge goal you have, break it down into smaller components, scale back the numbers and make it easier to achieve. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound are the parameters of this goal setting technique. A well thought through goal contains all of these different facets, so reframe your goals to include these.
Change up your nutrition
If you feel sluggish or fatigued too often, it could be due to your nutrition. Try having carbs and protein before sessions and then adequate protein afterwards. Up to 2 hours after is fine. Make sure you’re eating a lot of whole grains, green and leafy veg and healthy fats. Also you can always adjust the times of day you eat (i.e. about 30 mins to an hour before exercise), to facilitate better session performance.
Hire a coach or a trainer
Getting someone in to help who has the knowledge and expertise in the training method you’re interested in is always a good idea. I have a PT and skills coach helping me through my training and I’m a coach myself! Learning new information or cues for form, new exercises and even ways to recover is always incredibly useful and normally being held accountable helps you to push your performance to the next level too. Having a timetabled session where you really can push yourself help to set you up well for the day ahead too!
Plateaus can be tricky, but everyone goes through them. Just make sure you go through yours sensibly and efficiently. Don’t feel like you have to rush to make it to the next level. Slow and steady, as they say….
Check out the Gravity Fitness store to help you find some new kit to break through your plateaus and change up your training!
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