Dealing With Training Plateaus

There comes a time in your training when the gains stop coming just because you walked into the gym. You don’t set a personal record(PR) on a lift every time you pick up the bar or you don’t PR a benchmark workout every time you attempt it.

The plateaus in fitness happen to everyone after a couple years of training. It doesn’t happen to everyone at the same time depending on several factors including genetics and intensity level in training but it does happen to everyone.

fitness-adaptation-curve

This doesn’t mean that you’ll never PR again it just means that the easy days are over. As a rank novice your body quickly responds to the various training stimuli but over time that stimulus has less effect. The other aspect of this change is that the amount of effort you put into your training has to increase to even get a small amount of improvement.

Just because improvements get harder to come by it does not mean that we should give up. This is where we get to prove to ourselves what we’re made of. We don’t give up with things get hard, we just focus and get to work. There are a couple things you can do to ensure you keep improving for years to come.

Work Your Weaknesses

With the goal of becoming the fittest version of yourself possible you can’t neglect the things you’re not good at. The human body is an amazing system. Everything is connected and things work together that you might not think work together. By improving your weaknesses you may be surprised how much your strengths improve as well.

Working weaknesses help improve imbalances and deficiencies. A more balanced system can work more efficiently and push with more intensity.

Check Your Intensity Level

Over time we become accustomed to our perceived level of intensity. We feel like we’re going as hard as we can but that’s necessarily the case. You may have more intensity than when you started and that intensity got you this far but now it could be holding you back. This is because as our body adapts to a training stimulus the level of effort (intensity) has to increase in order to see results. Just because you’re working hard doesn’t mean you are working hard enough to get results, you may just be working hard enough to maintain your current level of fitness.

Increasing your level of intensity is not always an easy proposition. It’s primarily a mental challenge. You have to be willing to suffer more and push yourself more than you ever have before. Your body can handle it but is your mind up to the challenge?

Focus on Technique

As you increase intensity any technique imperfections you have become more evident. By putting in the work to make your technique as perfect as possible means you’ll be able to increase your intensity level with greater efficiency. By mastering the basics you’ll reap the rewards later when gains are harder to come by.

Plateaus are a part of training. They happen in all areas of fitness and they happen to everyone. With some focused effort and proper programming you can continue to make progress albeit a little slower then when you first started training.

Now go move better.