Stuck on a workout plateau? To get your muscle gains going again, try these plateau breakers!
What’s A Workout Plateau?
Before we get started on the techniques, let’s clarify what workout plateaus aren’t. Because if you got the wrong idea about why you aren’t progressing and then start on plateau breakers, you can make everything worse!
You are not on a workout plateau if you…
- …don’t give your body enough rest. That’s overtraining.
- …expect to increase reps by 3, 4 or more on every workout. That’s unrealistic.
- …attempt to raise the weight on every workout. That too is unrealistic.
- …block gains because you don’t give your body the nutrition it needs.
If you said “no, that’s not me” to all four, do sensible workouts and still are stuck, then you are on a plateau. In that case let’s get going.
This is the most simple of all workout plateau breakers: instead of doing the usual 6 – 12 reps per set, you go for 5 – 8.
But it’s just one way of manipulating the rep range. You can take it much further: Wolf wrote a very in-depth explanation right here.
With drop sets you lower the weight after each set. That exhausts the muscles and yet drives them beyond their usual point of failure.
With negative sets you in a way do the opposite of a drop set: you use a weight you can’t lift.
With pyramid sets you use a bigger weight on each set while lowering reps and then do the reverse. It’s a time-intensive plateau breaker but can do wonders.
Supersets have you train the stalled muscle and the one opposing it. For a list of the muscle pairs and the exercises you should combine check the below video’s article.
Last comes one of my favorites: doing five sets with lower weight, but with the same number of reps on each set.
Picture courtesy of Steve Johnson.