We’ve all been there – going on month 6 of the same routine you compiled together from “blahblah.com” – and you’re wondering why your 10inch biceps haven’t grown at all. Even though repetition and consistency is key in terms of actually exercising; variation is a MUST when training your muscles.
Just like with anything else, when you do something for so long you don’t even think about it anymore – it just becomes muscle memory almost. Same thing happens with your muscles. Did you know … example … If you’ve been doing chest flys after your bench press at 15lbs for the past 5 weeks – your muscles literally know that as soon as you complete that motion of bench pressing; it’s preparing itself for that motion of chest flys. Basically meaning, it’s just going through the motions so to speak. SOOOO.. if you were to switch your Monday routine of chest up – your muscles would literally freak out and not know what to do with themselves besides to GROW!!! (WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH).
Not sure if you’re at this point yet? Progress seems to slow down, your strength might’ve soared at first and now it’s coming to a halt, fat loss is at an all time low – these are all indicators you’ve hit the dreaded plateau. Don’t worry though… there are ways to crush this demon and get you going on the track to Muscle City once more.
ENOUGH with the 45 minute routine on the treadmill at speed 5. Your body actually responds better with HIIT (high intensity interval training) types of cardio in terms of fat loss. Basically, increasing your heart rate in a fast amount of time, immediately after – bringing it back down, and repeating. This has shown to obliterate those fat cells.
In general, just switch things up from the treadmill. Warm, sunny day outside? Go for a jog! Have a nature reserve down the street? Nothing better than some cardio with a view. Take that bicycle out for a spin! Get your hiking shoes on and go explore. The point is – switch up your activities. Your body is so accustomed to getting on a treadmill and going through your same routine.
All right Billy Biceps, put down those 35lbs you’ve been half repping for 3 sets of 10 for the past 18 weeks – it’s getting you nowhere. First off, grab a weight you can ACTUALLY achieve a full range of motion for 10 reps - there is your starting point. As strength increases, increase the weight as well. THEN, once you hit that plateau, (Because you WILL hit that plateau) start incorporating different rep ranges, grips, high weight, low weight … anything that is going to challenge that muscle group.
Apart from switching up rep ranges and making sure you’re actually doing a full ROM for an exercise; circuits and supersets are another great option. Pick two exercises (doesn’t have to be opposing muscle groups – literally any two you like) and complete them for the allotted reps with little to no rest in between. Pyramid, drop sets, and giant sets are other great alternative to keep those muscles guessing. Lastly, just plain old switch the exercise. There are TONS of variation in exercises that hit the same muscle groups. That’s one of the things I like that most about my job – I love showing people different and unique exercises (head turners at the gym if you will) that spice things up.
All in All, be creative with your exercises. Don’t get too comfortable with your routines. Be the leader in the gym; not the clueless followers. The path to that body you want is supposed to be full of hardships, difficulties, and it’s suppose to make you uncomfortable. Comfort is work the weak – break free from your bubble and be proud of your body and the hard work you put in.
Published by Clay Kaltenbach