Hit a Plateau? Try these suggestions…
After numerous reps, numerous sets and countless workouts, our minds and bodies will get bored. This can result in a major plateau. Its tricky, knowing what else to do and how to do it is not easy when it comes to adapting your training. Making the smallest of changes can result in you forcing your way out of that plateau and onto bigger and better things. Below is a variation of ways that you can adapt your training that will shock the body into a stronger state mentally and physically.
Reps – Alter the amount of reps you do. If you’ve been doing 10-15 reps (most common amount) then your body will get used to that number and start to make predictions. This doesn’t mean you should do more. Alter the angle of the exercise, increase or decrease the weight so that you do more or less reps. Adapt to surprise your body
Tempo – This is the time that you take to execute repetitions. It is usually referred to in four numbers. Lets use a press up for an example. The first number is the downward phase, second number, how long you pause at the bottom, third, how long you take to push back up and the fourth is the time at the top of the press up. This is something you probably haven’t thought about but start to include it. Make one press up a 10 second rep (4/2/4/2). That’s 6 press ups totalling a minute. Believe me when I say your body will be in shock and you will be teaching it control! This can work in both directions though. Go down slowly and accelerate back up. Mix it up!
Intensity – This is a little more tricky for body weight training. When lifting a weight, you’d simply add more weight. You have to use leverage to make the exercise more intense when using your body weight (which is so much more beneficial). Again, lets use the press up. One handed press up is the obvious option but that could be a big step. Try just tilting your body weight slightly forward, don’t let your back dip and you’ll be surprised how much more difficult this is.
Work to Failure – Ah failure. Often a word that will 99% of the time mean something negative. Not in this circumstance. True, controlled and honest failure is a great way to improve your strength. This isn’t easy. Often, people will “fail” when it hurts too much or when they simply don’t want to continue. You must ask yourself, could I have done one more rep? If the answer is yes, you didn’t work to failure. Now you must be careful, because maintaining your form is vital, and will actually lead you to failure sooner (a good thing in this case). If you allow your body to cheat, you’ll continue performing the reps at risk of injury. DO NOT DO THIS. Use a mirror or train with a partner to ensure your form maintains.
Here's a little video demonstrating how you can change the tempo of a press up or increase the intensity.
There you have four very different ways of adapting your training to shock your body. Do it now! This can apply to any exercises, and as explained will give your body and strength levels a good boot up the arse.
NOTE: If you do any of the above properly, it will be hard work. This is a good thing, this is a challenge, this is how we progress.
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