Hitting a workout plateau is a common occurrence for fitness enthusiasts of all levels. Despite keeping up with your exercise program, you may notice that you’re not getting faster, increasing endurance, or building muscle.
This may leave you feeling frustrated or even apathetic. Luckily, there are many ways to break past a workout plateau and continue to grow.
Read on to learn more about why a workout plateau happens, the signs you’re in one, and how to successfully push past it.
What is a workout plateau?
A workout plateau is a stage of progress that happens when your body gets used to the demands of your current fitness routine, which causes your progress to level out. If you reach a fitness plateau, you may not see results even though you’re maintaining your workouts.
Why does a workout plateau happen?
A workout plateau occurs when you do the same exercise routine or type of activity for an extended period. Over time, you become accustomed to the demands of your workouts and your body adapts accordingly. As you become more efficient, you may burn fewer calories and build less muscle.
Repeating the same type of workouts, especially if they’re not challenging enough, can cause enthusiasm and motivation to wane, leading to a plateau. Workout plateaus can happen due to overtraining, insufficient recovery time, and burnout.
- ineffective training routines
- not pushing yourself enough
- failure to progressively overload muscles
- inconsistent training
- unhealthy diet and lifestyle
- lack of sleep
What are the signs you’re in a workout plateau?
If you find yourself in a workout plateau, you may notice that your workouts feel easy and you’re not improving at your usual rate. Instead of gaining strength or losing weight, you may lose muscle tone, gain weight, or feel weak. You may be at a standstill when it comes to a certain speed, weight limit, or number of reps.
Workouts that were recently challenging may start to feel like a breeze. Your heart rate may stay stable and you may not easily feel short of breath. Even so, you may lack motivation, have low energy levels, and feel tired. You might not have the desire to workout at all.
When your muscle-building workout reaches a plateau, it means that your body has adapted to the demands of your routine and is no longer being challenged. This can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that plateaus are a normal part of the fitness journey.
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There are a few things you can do to break through a muscle building plateau:
- Change your workout routine. One of the best ways to challenge your muscles and force them to adapt is to change your workout routine. This could involve changing the exercises you do, the number of sets and reps you perform, the tempo of your lifts, or the amount of rest you take between sets.
- Increase the weight. If you’re able to lift a weight for 12 reps with good form, it’s time to increase the weight. This will force your muscles to work harder and adapt.
- Focus on compound exercises. Compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at the same time, which is more efficient and effective for muscle building. Some examples of compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and overhead presses.
- Eat more calories. To build muscle, you need to eat in a calorie surplus. This means eating more calories than you burn each day. Aim to eat 250-500 extra calories per day.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for muscle growth and repair. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Here are some additional tips:
- Listen to your body. If you’re feeling pain, take a break. Don’t try to push through the pain, as this could lead to injury.
- Be consistent. To see results, you need to be consistent with your workouts and diet. Aim to work out at least 3-4 times per week and eat a healthy diet every day.
- Don’t get discouraged. Breaking through a muscle building plateau takes time and effort. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep working hard and you will eventually reach your goals.
If you’re struggling to break through a muscle building plateau on your own, consider working with a personal trainer. “A personal trainer can help you develop a workout routine that is tailored to your individual needs and goals”. They can also provide you with support and motivation to help you stay on track.
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