Avoiding Workout Plateaus

Hitting a wall in your workouts? You may need to vary up your training regimen to stay ahead of the curve. Plateauing occurs in many strength and conditioning programs when proper progression and periodization is not used.

When you begin planning out your program, look at it over the course of a year. Even though you may no longer have a competitive season, you will have times in your program that you will like to “peak” your performance. More importantly, you will want to allot some time for low volume and recovery.

For most general population, there is a slow period in their training between the end of November and the start of the New Year with travel for holidays and spending time with the family. Take advantage of this time, not only to spend time with the family but to get the most out of your program. Again, typically at the beginning of the New Year, everyone hits the gym hard, but “fall off the wagon” as they do not see the results as fast as they would like. This also happens during the summer, as travel increases due to summer vacations and family time. Training takes time, and with a set plan, your program will always be evolving and will be capable for always seeing progress. Getting into YOUR routine is key, set how many days you would like to train, length you have each day, and probably most importantly: fuel your body to perform! Progress in any program can always be limited by pour nutrition habits.

Your workouts should always start with a 4 week program based on movements and loading your body. Focus on form and optimizing your movements. Once movements are perfected, begin adding more volume on your body. Volume should start first with adding weight, little by little each week.

At the end of the 4 weeks, changes in your sets and reps, rest period (pending your goals) and movements will alter, keeping your body progressing towards your goals. For example, start with focusing on your squat patterning. As you begin to add weight over the course of a few weeks, change the exercise, still working the same movement pattern. Back squat to front squats is one example. Changing where you are holding the weight is going to alter how the load is placed on your body, but still focusing on a lower body pushing exercise. Another example is going from split squats to step ups, both are single leg lower body pushes, but with small changes like this, your body will respond slightly different.

You can also vary your workouts by adding a tempo. Instead of just putting weight on a bar and lifting it 10 times, focus on a slow lowering down to parallel, a small pause at the end range of motion and an explosive movement back to standing. This will increase the time under tension you place on your muscles. While in between sets, you can then focus on corrective exercises to fill your rest period. These exercises are little to no load, with a focus on lengthening the muscle group and optimizing your time in the weight room.

There are many ways to progress your workouts, but by working closely with a performance coach and dietician, an individualized program is easily obtainable. If you would like more information on this, please reach out to your program manager where they can connect you with a performance specialist and dietician from EXOS to help you build and progress your workouts!