If you’ve been at the gym for a while you’ve probably plateaued a few times. It will happen to everyone sooner or later.
The key is to know how to break through this lul and get back to kicking ass.
As a gaming nut i like to see these techniques as LIMIT BREAKers, because they will allow you to bypass your
limits and continue to grow.
With the techniques listed below you should be able have a great workout which you will be able to complete quickly as well as break through your plateaus.
LIMIT BREAK: Forced reps
Forced reps are when you go to failure and then with a very short rest you then go on and do another, rinse and repeat.
There is two ways to do forced reps.
The first and lesser of the two is to have your training partner help lift the bar ever so slightly to help you get more reps. I’ve never been a fan of this method as your partner has no way of knowing exactly how much lift to apply or what you are capable of doing by yourself.
It might work to a point but there are better ways to go about getting more reps.
The second way is much more reliable and prefer it much more due to not needing a partner.
This is known as rest/pause training.
The principle behind rest/pause training involves lifting fairly heavy banging out reps until failure and the taking short rest to get several more reps. You can put the weight down or just let it hang for a moment. Keep your rests short.
the reason for this is because muscles recover very quickly when allowed to rest for a short amount of time thus using this recovery to get in more reps. If you rest for too long between reps, the tired fibers are able to recover and are used again instead of stimulating new fiber.
I’ll use dips as an example.
You go to failure on your dips so that you couldn’t possibly do anymore, then you stand up rest for a few seconds and try and force out another rep. Rinse and repeat.
Rest pause is an incredible way to get the most out of each exercise and a great time saver to boot.
LIMIT BREAK: Partial reps
These are great when you are tired and is a favorite of many old school builders.
Do these at the end of a set when you are most tired, this is when partial reps are most effective.
To do partials get your partner to help you lift the weight then lower it a bit then try and do a rep, even if you only lift it a few inchs, then lower it and do another partial, continue this all the way down until you are exhausted and your muscles are burning.
Another variation of partials is to only lift the weight half way then go back down, i’ll use bench press as an example.
You lift up the bar half way and not to full lock out, your arms are still bent and the full weight stays on your pecs and not your arms. Bring the bar back down to your chest and then back to halfway. That’s another kind of partial, this allows you to isolate the muscle and really work on it.
This option is best with lighter weights and high reps.
LIMIT BREAK: Isolation training
Simply put you focus on a specific muscle or muscle group in isolation from other muscles. Where Compound exercises work many muscles at the same time like deadlift for example which works the entire back.
Where A exercise such as wide grip pull downs will yes you guessed it only work the lats but more specifically focus on the width of the lats.
Isolation is excellent for targeting the weak points of your body where compounds can’t.
For beginners i would only use a small amount of isolation exercises and focus mostly on compound lifts, only using isolation at the end of your workout after doing heavy compound work. When you have built a strong foundation then can you focus on more isolation oriented programs and work your way up to 5 day splits with individual body parts each day.
More on that in another post.
LIMIT BREAK :Cheat reps
Cheating still involves using the correct form for the exercise but you deliberately target different muscles in conjunction with the main muscle.
This kind of training should only be used sparingly but is very effective when striving for certain goals.
A good example of cheating is barbell curls. You’ve done a good amount of reps but are now too tired to keep your from strict so from then on you start to incorporate other muscles like your back and shoulders just enough to bust out a few more reps. You do this to get more reps while continuing to put work on your biceps.
By cheating you are forcing your body to get in more reps than you usually would if you hadn’t had help from other muscles, putting more stress on the targeted muscle.
Let me make this clear this is the one time cheating will make things harder for you, not easier. Arnie showing how to cheat
Its also a good option if you train by yourself and want to do forced reps.
LIMIT BREAK :Negative reps
When you contract the muscle thats known as a positive rep.
When you lower the weight and extend the muscle thats a negative rep.
Negative reps put strengthen your tendons and surrounding muscles rather than the muscle itself. Increasing tendon strength will inturn strengthen muscular strength.
To make the most of the negative rep keep your movement slow and controlled rather than just dropping the weight.
A good way to focus on negatives is to cheat a heavy weight you usually couldn’t lift and then lower it down slowly and with full control. Its easier to lower something heavy then it is to pick it up, common sense yeah.
If you get too tired and if you train with a partner get them to help you lift it up and then do strict negative reps.
Then there a forced negative reps.’
These require a training partner of if you can get someone around the gym to help you that works too.
Get the person to press down on the weight as you lower it, this adds even greater resistance to the rep, but must be done smoothly so the muscles and tendons arn’t injured by any sudden movement.
Its easier to do this machines then with free weights.
The shock principle
Before you ask no this doesn’t involve jumper cables, power points or any kind of electricity.
What separates humans from nearly every other animal is our natural ability to adapt and overcome nearly any obstacle that we may face and is probably why we ended up on top of the food chain to begin with. The human body can deal with things that would topple even the mightiest of beasts.
This is the core principle behind shock training.
The shock Principle revolves around catching your body off guard and making it cope with new and different kinds of work. Even the most brutal of workouts will eventually be adapted to and won’t continue to yield desirable results.
Shocking your body can be done in various ways. You can lift more weight than normal; do more reps and sets; by speeding things up or slowing things down; cutting back on rest time; changing the order you do you routine in; doing different variations of exercises; or by doing any of the techniques ive listed.
Change…. Is good – Kha’Zix
Changing things up in general will shock your body into doing unfamiliar things and in turn adding new challenges to overcome. Even small changes will make your body work more than usual.
If your not spore after a workout the is a very good chance your progress has slowed and its time to change things up.
The simplest way of breaking through a plateau is to just change the variation of the exercise.
For example when i do Bicep Curls instead of doing the basic one i’ll change it up and do hammer curls instead. Very simple but very effective.
The best time to use this technique i’ve found is at the end of the week when you’ve got the next day off as too recover, your gonna be sore 😀
Its also nice to do this when you get bored, variety is the spice of life or so they say.
Last but not least there is…
Heavy duty training
This could mean different things to different people, it all depends who you ask.
Arnie saw it as going straight to the heaviest weight he could handle after warming up of course.
What he would do is warm up with two warm up sets and then immediately go to the heavy set which for him was 65 pound dumbbell curls instead of slowly working his way up to the heavy set over the course of a few sets adding weight each time.
The trick was to not use too heavy a weight, his goal would be to still do the normal amount of reps he would usually do which in his case was 5 sets of 8-12 reps. If you can only do 6 or so reps then its too heavy.
The idea behind this was to force his biceps to work at their max from the start instead of pyramiding up to max weight. (pyramiding is to do less reps as you add weight).
For others it could mean adding extra reps on top of your normal reps like rest/pause, partials etc until exhausted.
With heavy duty it’s all about working the muscle as hard physically possible to reach exhaustion.
There is nothing new here that most seasoned gym junkies don’t already know to some extent, my goal here was to show those who have not long started new techniques they can use to power through and reach their goals.
So now there is no excuse for you to have a kickass workout even when you a short on time.
Well i think thats enough for one post, as there is quite a bit of info here and i don’t want to over do it. (well not too much anyway)
Until next time folks
Keep kicking ass