helpful hints to avoid weight training plateaus in your gym workouts

Find ways to avoid weight training plateaus in your trips to the gym.

I know I am plateauing, how do I Fix it?

[ct_leading]Last week we discussed how to identify if your workouts are up to par with what your body needs and the key things too look for like soreness, fatigue and muscle memory. If you found after reading the blog post that you are NOT experiencing anything mentioned you might need to up the difficulty of your workouts. So, here are quite a few ways to up the difficulty of your workouts so you can see results. Let’s not Plateau in our training. Let’s work together to find ways to work through any plateaus you may hit![/ct_leading]

Cardio Placement, length and style

[ct_leading]The most common routine is to start your workout with cardio.[/ct_leading] Trust me, I do this too! For some reason, it feels so natural to put your cardio in the beginning. Plus it is a great way to warm up your muscles. Your body will become used to this pattern though and it may be time to break it. If it’s time to break that pattern try any of the suggestions below. I promise, you’ll see results.

  1. Cardio at the end
    Put your cardio at the end of your workout. This is a great way to challenge your muscles, push them to fatigue, and increase weight loss. Weight training burns calories too. Which many people do not realize. Cardio at the end of weight training will allow you to keep burning calories and will act as a cool down for your muscles. Please note though, placing your cardio at the end of your workout means you must warm up and stretch thoroughly before jumping into lifting. Tight muscles lead to injuries.
  1. Cardio mixed in
    Mixing cardio through out your workout is amazing. There are several ways you can mix cardio into your workout including jumping rope, burpees, squat jacks, squat jumps, mountain climbers, jumping lunges, high knees, and you can find many more options on my Instagram page. For example: 15 bicep curls each arm, 30 seconds of high knees repeat this for as many sets as you wish! A routine like this keeps your muscles warm, heart rate up and the sweat pouring.
  1. Cardio Length and style
    As I mentioned in last week’s blog, cardio falls under muscle memory. Repeatedly doing the same cardio will cause you to plateau. What does that mean? It means your body will become used to the cardio and burn fewer calories. This is why it is important to not only vary the length of your cardio but also the style.

Some days my cardio lasts 45 minutes and others only 10. My body never knows what to expect and always feels pushed. I use every possible machine for cardio. Except, I have this weird hate for the elliptical. I can’t explain it, anyone with me?

You can find me side shuffling on a treadmill, running backwards, running up hill, speed walking, etc. I even utilize weights and resistance bands on the treadmill. I use the Stairmaster and throw in various speeds, and leg kicks. The row machine is magical, it’s a full body cardio workout, please throw it in to your routine, I promise you’ll feel it the morning after!

Just lift it! You’ll avoid those weight training plateaus!

[ct_leading]If your cardio is on point but you still feel as if you are hitting weight training plateaus perhaps you should try mixing up your weight lifting routine.[/ct_leading] It’s not difficult to make simple changes to your routine in order to gain big results. Give these suggestions a try and let me know how you feel after a week or two of using these variations.

  1. Varying Weights
    Lifting light weight tones and lifting heavy weight builds muscle. But, you can’t tone muscles you don’t have! Yet, your goal doesn’t include looking like a body builder. Oh, the dilemma! Well, first off, weight training alone will not give you a bulky, body builder physique. That takes way more concentration, intense training and a strict diet.One of the simplest ways to up the difficulty of your workout, avoid weight training plateaus and balance muscle growth and toning is to vary the weights you lift. A great combo I love to do is complete 4 sets of a move and make 2 sets light weight with more reps and 2 sets of heavy weight with less reps. This style is a perfect balance, and keeps your muscles working hard. You can do the first 2 sets light and second 2 heavy, vice versa or every other! The more the variation the better!
  1. Training two muscles at once
    [ct_leading]There are two ways to go about this.[/ct_leading] You can pair muscle groups and train them together on the same day. This is absolutely a great way to up the difficulty of your workouts. You just need to pair the muscles strategically and safely. For instance, lower back and legs are a great combo, back and shoulders another, and arms and chest too. Or split your days into upper body and lower body. Again, variation is key!Another way to train two muscles at once is to work opposite muscles. For example, your biceps and triceps are completely opposite. When your biceps are contracted, and working your triceps are relaxed and vice versa. This is why completing a set of bicep curls and jumping into a set of tricep pull-downs is a great way to challenge your muscles.

    This concept applies for legs too, work your quads with squats in one set and work those hammies with kickbacks in another. Jumping back and forth between counteracting moves will keep your muscles guessing. The result? A healthy fatigue, no weight training plateuas and muscle growth!

  1. Don’t save abs for the end
    Your abdominals are an important muscle group for more than just cosmetic reasons. But, I am the first to admit that at the end of the workout I’ll talk myself out of doing my abs. Guilty as charged! It is common for us to save abs for the end of our workout and that’s totally fine. However, a great way to burn out your abdominals and keep from plateauing is to add abs in as you go! (Plus it’s a great way to make sure you get them in.)Try throwing in a set of abs in-between each weight lifting set you do. If you plan on training legs, complete a set of squats then hop down into a minute plank or 25 crunches. Your abs work hard through most of your workouts, even if you don’t think so. Abs are contracted and working for most, if not all exercises. Yes, even when squatting, doing lat pull-downs, and kick-backs your abs are engaged. Adding them in-between sets will really help them strengthen and shape nicely.
  1. Speed is a key player too
    [ct_leading]Oh yes! Believe it or not, speed is a key factor when looking for variations in your workouts.[/ct_leading] Varying the speed at which you do moves absolutely enhances muscle growth, and toning while helping you to avoid weight training plateaus. For example, complete a squat with a slow pace of a 4-5 count going down and come up from the squat at a quicker pace. You can do this sort of speed change with any move and any muscle group. The combination of static movement and fast movement truly works your muscles until every last fiber has been engaged. It takes tons of strength and focus to control and steady your weights while moving at a slow pace. Give speed variation a try and just wait for the soreness and fatigue to come. But, most importantly the RESULTS!
  1. Don’t forget the power of your own body weight and resistance
    Dedicating an entire workout to using just your own body weight and resistance is amazing. Fighting resistance is a great toning agent. It does not necessarily trigger muscle growth but it absolutely strengthens and forms muscle, while toning.I bought resistance bands with different levels and sizes of resistance from amazon. They don’t break the bank and offer a whole new bag of workouts. When your muscle acts against a resistant force it reaches fatigue much quicker. Working with your own body weight is also key. Performing body weight squat or squat jumps, push-ups, tricep dips, burpees, crunches and much more also offers lots of toning. Throw in days of resistance and body weight training and watch the results roll in!

Don’t forget about moves though!

[ct_leading]Although, I preach about varying your workouts and not falling victim to muscle memory and plateauing, it does not mean do a move and never repeat it again.[/ct_leading] Revisit moves and increase the number of reps you can do or the amount of weight you can lift. Train your muscle to be able to complete that move at new weights and reps etc.

The same principle applies to cardio. Go back and see if you can run that extra mile or add an extra 5 minutes on the Stairmaster. Throw more weight on that bar and squat 5 more reps. You get the idea!  Don’t forget about or throw away any moves. Keep a running list of workouts and alternative moves and refer to it when you feel like you’re in a rut.

Weight training plateaus are common problems faced by anyone that goes to the gym. Whether you are a seasoned pro or just starting out, your body will adjust to the level of activity you reach. But with the tips listed here you can avoid most of the pitfalls that bring about weight training plateaus and keep you moving towards your #bodygoal of #bodypositive!

Need ideas? Take a look at my instagram account. I always post short videos that consist of at least 2 moves. Now get in that gym and love yourself! Remember, feel pretty, lift pretty and build a healthy, happy you!