How to Beat Muscle Building Plateaus
Every trainer hits plateaus at certain points during their exercise career. If you find that you have been exercising for a month or more with no progress in how much weight you are able to lift or increases in muscle mass, its time to take a step back and assess your training.
If you found you have hit a wall, consider taking these measures to start seeing progress again.
Increase Protein Intake - Most plateau issues can usually be traced back to a lack of protein. Most guidelines recommend that you consume about a gram of protein per pound of body weight, but if you have hit a plateau by eating this much protein, consider increasing it to as high as 1.5 times your bodyweight.
It is important also to remember to stagger your protein throughout the day. Your body doesn’t store protein very well, so by making sure to get around twenty to thirty grams every two or three hours or so, you help ensure constant absorption and more protein uptake.
Rest Less In Between Sets – If you get in the habit of hanging around and chatting in between your sets, you just might be setting yourself up for weak gains. Resting a bit is important, because it allows the lactic acid to clear your muscles, which gets you ready for the next set. But these materials can be removed from your muscle extremely quickly, usually in about a minute or so. If you keep the time in between your sets to less than ninety seconds, you will put more stress on your muscle, which can lead to more muscle growth.
Forced Negatives - If you haven’t been doing them already, now would be a good time to start trying some forced negative reps on certain exercises. In these exercises, rather than lifting and lowering the weight, you use a weight that is about ten percent heavier than your one rep max and only do the negative portion, and use assistance to put the weight back into the top position.
You should be actively working against gravity as you lower the weight, taking about two or three second to bring it all the way down.
With some exercises, such as concentration curls, you can do forced negatives by yourself, because you will be able to just bring the weight to the top position with your free hand. With other exercises, such as the bench press, you are going to need a spot to help you bring back to the top and to keep you safe.
Add some Machine Exercises - You already know that the majority of your weight training should be done with free weights, but if you have hit a plateau, it might be smart to add a few weight machines to your routine. These will work your muscles in a different way, which can help exhaust them more and stimulate growth.