We lift heavy things for many reasons but the obvious one is to get stronger. If you have lifted weights or done any type of strength training for any appreciable time you know that strength gains are not constant as plateaus are a common part of the strength building process.
I am not going to tell you that you can completely rid yourself of plateaus in training. If this were the case we would all be gaining strength at such a rate that training implements would be cars instead of barbells. Even though we can't completely avoid plateaus we can certainly decrease the duration and extent of that horrible part of training.
Today we examine three fairly simple concepts that not only will help you avoid the dreaded training plateau but help you maximize your time in the weightroom. This three item list exists on a hierarchy, meaning you should address each item as it appears. Do not skip ahead, trust me on this one.
A critical factor in long-term gains not to mention health and durability, exercise technique often gets thrown out of the window with little regard. If this sounds like you I highly encourage you to change your evil ways. If mechanics and alignment are off we lose efficiency somewhere in the movement. These energy leaks literally are responsible for loss in horsepower, which equates to less reps and lower weights. The better your form the closer you are actually performing to your potential. You can get away with using poor technique for a little while but if you are interested in building strength over the long haul then it is critical you lock in on technique and form.
This one seems almost too obvious but I'd put money down that 90% of you could kick it up a notch or two when it came to your work effort in the weight room. Progress isn't automatic and your body will only respond to the specific stress placed on it. If you aren't pushing past the point of comfort on a regular basis you will not get any stronger tomorrow, next week or next year.
This is the actual nuts and bolts of how we train. Sets, reps, weights, rest periods, core lifts, accessory lifts, supplemental lifts, and so on and so on. When you get strong enough and if you follow the first two steps you will get to a level of strength when simply doing 3 sets of 8 will no longer be enough to get the job done. This is the time when it becomes necessary to make a change or two to your program. The key here is not to lose your mind and completely reconstruct the way you have been doing things, especially if you have had success. Many times simply changing a variable such as changing the sets and reps scheme will be enough to keep you going.
Getting strong is quite simple:
- Choose a few primary strength exercises which give you a lot of bang for your buck
- Get really good at performing these exercises
- Bring the thunder when you train these exercises
- When you stagnate make a minor adjustment to you programming
This three pronged approach is an ongoing process which never stops. The constant evaluation of these three factors provide you the perfect checks and balances to why or why not you are getting the training outcomes you are getting.
If you are making good progress keep refining your technique, brining your best effort for every rep and don't change a thing with your programming until need be.
If you aren't making any progress start with tehnique and work your way through as we discussed because remember we lift heavy things so we can lift even heavier things next time.