Are you stuck in a routine where you don’t feel that you’re making any kind of progress? Put yourself in a position where your body is progressing. Overtraining, a lack of motivation and a decrease in results are the main signs that you’ve not only hit a plateau but that you probably need to start mixing it up a little.
Training until you fail is a pretty straightforward tactic to perform but you still need to make sure that, when you’re lifting to the point that you can’t lift more, you’re doing this correctly. There are certain tactics and training styles that are super beneficial to help maximise your results.
Drop sets are effective when it comes to maximising muscle gains. They constantly increase your rep-range and the intensity you’ll have in your set.
When you perform a set of say 10 reps, immediately drop the weight by around 20% and then perform a further set with no rest in between or a further 10 reps. You shouldn’t rest between a drop set and, if you have a training partner, ask them to slide the weight off for you. If it’s easier, work by plates, for example, if you’re performing a drop set on a flat bench, and you have two 25lbs (10kg) plates, perform your reps and remove one of the plates before performing the rest of the reps.
Triple drop sets are also beneficial, the same principles apply but with three ‘sets’ rather than two.
Forced reps are a killer if you feel that you’ve hit a brick wall. Your objective is to make sure that, even after you’ve failed and can’t move the weight any further, you’re squeezing out a further one or two reps. Yes, it’s ideal for anybody who has a training partner – make use of them more than just a conversation. Ask them to spot you and make sure that you’re lifting more than you’re able to.
It is possible if you’re training on your own to do forced reps, you’ll need to do this one-sided – you can then support yourself with your ‘free’ arm or leg. Ideal for single arm bench press, single legged leg curl etc.
Rest-pause is a little different but it’s definitely a must if you’re training to improve your strength or hypertrophy. To sum it up, you’re taking a rest or a pause, but for no more than 10 seconds between your reps. This will help you to increase your growth at a quicker rate. In other words, if you’re aiming for 10 reps, you might need 10 seconds rest after 7 reps. It’s all up to you to judge.
Decrease Weight, Increase Reps
Of course, it’s important that you’re mixing it up with different types of exercises and maximising your strength. Try throw in some reps when you decrease your weight, even if it means that you’re adding an extra set to your workout. Aim to perform more reps at 60% of your one rep max. This is the exact opposite of why you’ll need to perform drop sets, forced reps or taking a rest pause but it’s serious if you’re training for size and definition.
Despite following tips for what to do in your workout, it’s important that you’ve not hit a plateau because of what you’re doing. Ensure you’re keeping your workouts short and sweet without any unnecessary overcomplications – in other words, don’t be doing full body splits, extra cardio, and ab circuits which leave you feeling exhausted after spending 5 hours at the gym.
If you’re doing weight training, stick to weight training. You need to remember that you need adequate rest between workouts to allow your body’s muscles time to grow and repair.