How many of you find yourself not gaining and hitting a plateau in your training, you are not lifting any heavier or you are not adding more lean muscle? This can result in a loss of interest as the training becomes stale and the desire to train drops off.
If this applies to you and it has to us all at some points it could be due to many reasons, poor nutrition, inadequate calorific intake, lack of supplementation or it may be the training itself.
Let’s look at the training routine, many people hit the gym and do the same workout every week, not just the same lifts but the same weight, the same reps and to top it all on the same day each week. Guess what? The body gets used to it, if this is you it’s time to shake things up, I rarely do the same workout two weeks in a row, try some of the following alterations to kick-start your growth.
To gain muscle there is nothing better than using compound movements, these are lifts that require more than one muscle group thus recruiting the usage of more muscle fibres, examples are squats, deadlifts bench press, shoulder press, dips and standing barbell curls. Centre your training on these and add isolation exercises such as leg extensions, lateral raises, cable rows, flyes and cable curls and extensions for the end of the workouts.
Switch things around, use different exercises and lifts, this will shock you body and trigger more growth try the following switches:
1. Legs start with squats instead of leg press
2. Chest start with dumbbell bench press instead of the bar
3. Shoulders swap dumbbell presses for smith presses or standing military press
4. Triceps use dips or close grip bench press to start with
5. Biceps start with Standing straight bar curls or standing dumbbells
6. Back start with deadlifts or bent over barbell rows
Try changing your first sets to one of the exercises mentioned above that you don’t normally use. Shoot for 4-6 sets with 8-12 reps; remember focus on form and muscle connectivity not how much you are lifting.
Use each of these for 4-6 weeks and then swap, the rest of the workout per body part can be made up of mixed exercises always shoot for a minimum of 8 reps, lift smart and keep a slow steady momentum, muscle growth is triggered by hypertrophy not by lifting the weight as fast as possible, slower reps equals more stress, more muscle trauma and in turn more muscle growth.
The next step is to use progressive workloads, this means every workout you add either more weight or more reps, use bench press as an example if you can do 80kg for 4 sets of 10 reps then try 82 kg for 10 reps if you fall short and hit 8 reps that’s fine if you hit ten the next set add another kg or so. This may not sound much but if you add a kg to lifts every week then just think in a month you have added 5% to you lifts just by using progressive workloads not settling for that same 10 reps. (using 80kg example)
Train with intensity, don’t be the guy talking for 5 minutes between sets, the greatest thing I ever did was to become a clock watcher, when I finish a set I look for the clock and give myself a 60-90 seconds recovery before hitting the next set. I found that the pump was better; I worked harder and grew much faster.
Here are a few simple tips to help kick-start a potentially stale routine, the last one is to make sure that you are fuelled or energized for the session. The best thing to do to guarantee this is use a Pre workout supplement. These are designed to increase focus, performance and energy levels whilst training. The stronger Pre workout formulas are BSN NO-Xplode, PhD V Max Pump and Gaspari Superpump. Try one of these; get your body pumped, shake up the routine and prepare for new lean muscle growth.
Thank you, Joe Binley (JB)
Remember Knowledge is Power!