Blast Through An Exercise Plateau Effect With Three Simple Tips

Ever experienced an exercise plateau effect just when you were making progress in your workouts?  It happens to every one of us.  We work out, put in time and effort and next thing you know the muscle gains stop and the fat loss comes to a grinding halt.
From Plateau Point
Photograph Courtesy of John Kercher

It is absolutely horrible.  All the hours feel like it is gone to waste and as much as you put in more effort nothing happens.  So what are you to do to overcome a plateau effect?

  • Tip Number One: Get some rest and do not over train.  More often than not the reason why you have stopped making progress in your workouts is because you are over doing it.  Over exerting yourself with long workouts eventually take a toll.  Make your workouts shorter and do not be afraid to take a week off every three months.  If you can’t remember the last time you missed a workout then maybe now is the time to do so.
  • Tip Number Two: A good way to eliminate an exercise plateau effect is to try some new way of working out.  If you have been doing the same number of repetitions on the same piece of equipment then change it up.  Use a new piece of equipment you have never used before.  Been doing barbell bench presses all this time?  Okay, try using dumbbell bench presses this week! Switch it up and use what often referred to as “muscle confusion.”
  • Tip Number Three: Change the amount of weight you are using.  So many times we get used to the same weight being lifted. How many times have you used 20 pound dumbbells for your biceps curls? Well after many months of working out it is probably a good time to go up to 25 pounds.  If 5 pounds seems like a lot then just add a tiny bit more weight every few sessions.

It does not take much to trigger muscle growth and fat loss.  As you can see sometimes small changes in your workouts can shock your body and blast through an exercise plateau effect.  So take some time off once in a while and keep on challenging your body.

Are Muscle Confusion Workouts Effective?

You have probably seen the infomercials talking about eliminating plateaus and now you are wondering are muscle confusion workouts effective or are they a gimmick?
Question mark
Photograph courtesy of Enid Yu

If you have ever opened any given fitness magazine you have probably seen sample workouts to help you build muscle mass.  However, practically every workout is similar if not the same as the one in a previous issue.  Eventually the people at the gym are giving the same advice as what is in the magazines.  The result is seeing everyone at the gym doing the same workout as the next guy.

Unfortunately humans are creatures of habit and we end up doing the same workouts day after day eventually hitting plateaus.  When someone comes along with a new piece of advice it is hard to change our perspective and try something new.  So what are you to do when everyone is doing the same workouts expecting new results?

The best way to see progress in the gym and in your workouts is simply by changing it up and tweaking the exercises.  This in effect is muscle confusion.  It is not a complicated or new concept.  In fact this is what body builders do all the time but is not discussed very much in magazines.

In order for muscle to see gains and make constant and consistent progress you have to shock the muscles.  If you are looking for ways to shock or “confuse” your muscles here are some ways.

  • Add some weight to each exercise with each workout.  I am not saying you have to double the weight but simply adding 5 pounds will work wonders.
  • Use a new piece of equipment:  this is one of the hardest things to change.  Perhaps you have been doing bench presses because you have heard it is the best for chest development.  Simply make an adjustment and use dumbbells instead of a barbell or a machine to confuse your body.
  • Change the order of your exercises:  if you always start with flat bench presses followed by incline and then decline try doing it in reverse order to switch it up.  Do this with all muscle groups once in a while.

Change your workouts every 2-3 weeks by making these small adjustments and your plateaus will disappear.