If you’ve been lifting weights for a long time, you have probably experienced a plateau, if not several, in your fitness journey. These can be irritating, especially when you’ve done nearly every variation of each exercise. Here are some ways to break through your strength barriers.
Negative reps are a great way to put a heavier load on the muscles being targeted. You have more power on the eccentric (lowering) movement than you do concentric so adding more weight will stress your muscles, forcing growth. Try increasing the weight by 20 percent of your max for the desired rep range (4-6).
Most people let gravity pull the weight down, cutting themselves short of the full movement and time under tension. Go slow and controlled throughout the full eccentric movement (3 seconds) as you lower the weight and have a spotter generously assist you with the concentric (positive) movement.
If you are stuck on a weight for a certain rep range, here is a great way to break that adaptive cycle. For example, if your max is 6 reps with a certain weight, you would perform 4 reps, then rest for 10 seconds, do another 2-3 reps, rest, and then a final 2-3 reps totaling 8-10 reps using the same weight.
A drop set is pyramiding downward using 3-4 weights starting with the heaviest and going to failure with each one. An effective rep range is 8-12 (but aim for 4 heavy reps on the first leg of your set). With little to no rest, drop a slight amount of weight, perform another 3-4 reps and repeat an additional time.
The right supplements can help give you that extra boost. For example, Phosphator by pH Labs® is formulated with the clinically studied dose of the trademarked ingredient Mediator® Phosphatidic Acid (PA). Recently published research involving 8-week clinic trials found that young adult males ages 18-25 supplementing with Mediator® PA experienced an increase in muscle size and strength in conjunction with adequate protein intake and mechanical muscle activation (e.g. weightlifting). Many experienced gym-goers also prefer to take a pre-workout supplement before their workout. So, if you haven’t tried one yet and you’re stuck in a plateau, you may want to consider trying one before your next workout and see how it goes.
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but proper recovery is so important. If you are walking into the gym wanting to target the same muscle group that you are still sore from, this is a good indication that you have not allowed yourself enough proper rest. Most important ways to recover include the following:
✓ Consume enough nutrient-dense food
✓ Drink plenty of water
✓ Get 7-8 hours sleep
Everyone responds differently to training routines. Experiment with variations until you find what works best for you. Ultimately, muscle confusion is key!