If you’re working regularly on your body to develop muscle mass and tone there will be times where you hit the wall. It could be for a number of reasons but your body seems to be getting nowhere despite the level of perceived effort you’re putting in. This can be discouraging, lead to decreased effort and scupper all your plans.
Try out our shock tactics to wake your muscles up and get them working harder and ever.
First we’re going to take a closer look at the dreaded training plateau.
A plateau can come in at any time of your training. Specifically when you’re working on building muscle through resistance training your body reacts in a certain way. Your body works to add more muscle every time you resistance train, to replace the damaged or workout area and compensate for the levels of stress you’re placing on that muscle. This is how muscle is built and gives your body the chance to handle any tasks as more muscle develops. Plateaus generally develop when the stimulus, so the exercises or equipment you’re using, remain the same. Your body has no reason to put on muscle because it doesn’t need to.
The key causes of training plateaus include:
Motivation to workout often comes from how you feel and look as your body changes. A plateau can be demoralising as you see the changes hold but here we have some truly effective shock techniques which will challenge your body and mind in a new way, hopefully breaking through the plateau once and for all.
Below we are looking at three resistant training shock techniques you can test out. Each requires physical strength but more importantly the psychological motivation to push beyond where you were before. If you can manage any of these techniques then you’re on your way to a new level of training.
100 Rep Sets
Exactly as it sounds – 100 rep sets are just that. It’s a mental and physical challenge that you’ll surely feel is insurmountable so try it. Warm up as usual and then select a weight which you believe you’ll be able to perform 100 rep sets with. Choosing a weight too light defeats the object of the challenge but you want to avoid a weight which results in failure too.
Once you’ve chosen your weight start your reps, with a maximum of three short rest stops within. If failure does occur then don’t stop, simply pick up a lighter, more manageable weight and continue to the 100. The muscle group you’ve chosen to work out will not thank you immediately but in the long run your body will be enhanced. It’s not recommended you do 100 rep sets on more than one body part per workout and leave 2 days between training that same body part again once completed.
Chances are you’ve heard of these as they’re a common tool used by personal trainers. Pyramid sets are usually 3-5 sets and they begin by carrying out a high number of reps with a light weight and work in a pyramid up to a heavier weight, with fewer reps performed in each set. Rest periods between each set should be no longer than two minutes.
The first and lightest weight you choose should be one that you can easily perform 30 reps with. You will only do 15 reps during this exercise. Set two should be weight where you would expect to fail by 20 reps, again you’ll do 15 and then the third set should be a weight which would result in failure around 15 reps. The final set, whether you choose to do 4 or 5 should be a weight where failure usually occurs around 4 reps. This workout gives your muscles the chance to warm up quickly and then safely be pushed to the next level. Different weights and rep ranges improves both your muscle strength and your endurance levels.
The beauty of the drop set is that the drop motion forces your body to work harder but you barely realise it as you’re so invested in your training. A drop set is when you perform a range of different reps at different weights in the order of heaviest to lightest. Minimal rest is allowed between each drop.
You should begin with a weight which would result in failure within a maximum of 8 reps and then work down to one where you would comfortably, like above, be able to carry out 30 reps. Drop sets require you to carry out as many reps as you can physically manage at each of your chosen weight and you can do up to three or four sets, with your last set resulting in failure.
Intensive and firmly pushing your limits these techniques should help you escape the plateau and see body improvements within weeks.
by Kath Webb
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by Kath Webb
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