How to Break Through Your Fitness Plateaus and Workout Ruts


Looking at Marc Megna, a fitness mannequin, former NFL linebacker, and strength coach, it’s onerous to think about he ever had bother making progress within the gymnasium.

Fortunately, he’s been by way of the identical peaks and valleys as the remainder of us, and he’s discovered how to take pleasure in extra of the previous whereas avoiding the latter. Here are his tips for overcoming plateaus in fats loss, muscle acquire, and strength.

1. Go off your food plan

“If you’re dieting strictly, it’s hard to grow muscle because your calories are low,” says Megna. That additionally means your metabolism will stagnate or get slower, and it can additionally grow to be more and more onerous to burn fats. “You need to have cheat meals,” says Megna. Make certain you’re getting in at the very least one high-carb meal per week, and take into account including one other if the fats nonetheless isn’t coming off. It appears counter-intuitive to eat fattening meals once you’re making an attempt to get lean, however doing so will restart your metabolism and make the food plan simpler once you return to it. Slashing extra energy isn’t the reply.

2. Rotate your lifts

When you carry out the identical exercises each week, you’ll attain a degree the place your physique can’t make any extra diversifications to them—you’ve grow to be as efficient at performing these lifts as you’re going to get (in the interim). “Start changing it up,” says Megna, who trains professional soccer gamers for Bommarito Performance Systems in Aventura, FL. “We do bench presses, then the next week switch to floor presses, then board presses the following week.” While the exercises you select will drive you to differ the masses you employ, you’ll nonetheless be training the identical muscle groups (so don’t fear in the event you’re utilizing 25 kilos lower than you do on the flat bench once you swap to an incline press, for instance). The selection within the lifts adjustments the best way these muscle groups are recruited, so your physique received’t give you the option to determine what you’re doing. That’ll make you stronger.

3. Vary the reps

Periodization is a flowery phrase for planning your exercises over the lengthy haul so you may keep away from plateaus. The means you do it doesn’t have to be difficult. Megna advocates merely switching up your units and reps barely from exercise to exercise. “You can do four sets of 10 reps, then go to five sets of five, and then three sets of 15.” In this instance, you’d have a heavy day (5 reps), a reasonable exercise (10 reps), and a light-weight day (15 reps), so not solely does your physique not adapt to your training as quick, you’ll additionally want to enable for extra restoration between robust periods and train the broadest vary of muscle fibers.

4. Lighten up

Megna recommends training onerous for 3 weeks and then spending one week working with lighter masses— possibly 60% of the workload (weight, units, and reps) you’ve been utilizing. A “download” week permits you to proceed training however at a decrease depth, so your physique has extra time to rebuild after the three robust weeks that preceded it. The subsequent week, you may train heavy once more, and you’ll really feel extra refreshed.

Marc Megna, C.S.C.S., is a Team MuscleTech efficiency coach. He has skilled quite a few professional athletes, together with NFL star Maurice Jones-Drew.


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