Have you been lifting weights and eating right but still not seeing growth? You might be stuck in what we call a “training plateau.” Don’t worry, it happens to everyone, especially people who have been working out for a long time.
Let’s talk about how to break through it and keep growing!
Before you go changing your whole workout routine, let’s look at two big things: sleep and food. Are you getting enough sleep? Your muscles grow when you’re resting, not when you’re lifting. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of good sleep every night. If this isn’t possible, try to get a power nap in when you can. If even this isn’t possible, then it might sound counterintuitive, but train less. You might be training too hard for your body to recover with insufficient sleep, and if sleeping more isn’t an option, training less is almost always an option.
As for diet, are you eating enough to fuel those muscles?
Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein, healthy fats, and carbs. If you’re not seeing growth, but you’re not eating at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight, you should focus on that first. If you’re not eating right and sleeping well, no amount of exercise will help you break that plateau.
Okay, so your sleep is dialed in and you’re eating right. Now it’s time to look at your workout. Doing the same exercises all the time can make your muscles get too comfy. Try mixing it up! If you always do barbell bench presses, try push-ups, dips, or any variation of the dumbbell bench press.
Lifting heavier weights could break the plateau. However, adding too much weight too fast can lead to injuries. Slowly add more weight to your exercises, but make sure you can still do them with good form. Of course, if the issue is that you can’t add weight to the exercise, then add volume instead. Instead of doing three sets of 10 reps, try doing four sets of 8 reps. This way, you’re doing more sets, and more total reps, but fewer reps in each set. 3×10 is 30, but 4×8 is 32. It’s a small change, but it can make a big difference in the long run.
Speaking of form, make sure you’re doing your exercises the right way. Bad form can stop muscle growth and even cause injuries. If you’re not sure about your form, ask a trainer for help.
Last but not least, keep track of your progress.
Write down what exercises you’re doing, how much weight you’re lifting, and how you’re feeling. This will help you see what’s working and what’s not. It’s often difficult to see progress if you’re not seeing changes week to week, and tracking your progress in a logbook, your phone’s notes, or a training app can be very helpful to see how far you’ve come.
Breaking a training plateau takes time and patience. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Keep at it, change your strategy with the tips mentioned above, and those muscles will start growing again!