Getting stuck under the same weight on a bar for weeks and weeks is frustrating. Whenever you go to the gym you are trying to lift more than last time. What gives when it does not appear that you are getting stronger anymore?
You need to change your approach.
The more trained someone becomes the more specific the program needs to be. Beginners/novices are lucky because whatever they do is going to work and it will work quickly. Giving a new gym-goer too much variation would be unnecessary.
Once the patterns of your training are grooved and a basis of strength is accomplished, gains become harder to reach.
Use the following three techniques to break through those plateaus.
1. Train for Speed-Strength
Take your main lifts- deadlifts, squats, bench, presses- and perform them faster with perfect technique. This will recruit more motor units which in English means increase muscle involvement. This is a successful technique used by many lifters for many years in order to increase strength.
To train for speed-strength start with 40% of your 1RM and lift it as fast as you can for 8 sets of 3 reps. You can increase the weight as needed but keep the speed the same. A slow movement does not train for power.
2. Increase your Grip Strength
A stronger grip will be capable of holding weight better. This means that the muscles can transfer force to the weight much better if the wrist is not struggling to stabilize.
Think about how we keep buildings help up. We use columns, pillars, poles, etc. Imagine if the pole used bends back and forth. I would not want to be in that building.
If your grip is not strong, you do not have the stability to efficiently hold the weight.
Increase your grip strength by wrapping a towel around barbell exercises or pull ups. This will increase the thickness of the bar and incorporate the forearm muscles more.
3. Use One Limb at a Time
Single leg and single arm variations are good for stability training. Forcing the limbs to work on their own is going to increase the amount of force they produce individually.
Unilateral exercises like this also challenge core stability. A strong core is essential for transferring force into a weight to reduce energy leaks.
Try a single arm dumbbell push press to involve grip, unilateral exercise, and speed- strength together.
I just wrapped up the whole post with one exercise. Boom.
Plateaus just mean that your program is ready for new variation. It is a sign that you are no longer a beginner, but it can also be discouraging to see gains stop. There really is no need to worry though!
If your training seems to be on a dead end road, try these 3 tips to kickstart it in the right direction.