Plateau in the Gym: 5 Reasons as to Why It Can Happen
A constant battle people who work out or are interested in getting fitter is a plateau. When you begin working out, you experience some fantastic gains donned the newbie gains. Your strength, speed and power all increase, and you start to feel amazing. However, over time, training the same way can cause a massive dive in progress. The gains take a halt and you’re left wondering what’s gone wrong. This depression in development is known as a plateau and can be one of the hardest things to overcome. The decrease can cause a giant lack of motivation, where people try to work harder but seize to succeed, resulting in many people giving up.
It’s important to understand that reaching peak performance takes time; patience is key.
To move past a plateau, you must analyse your daily routine and actions deeply. This analysis requires you to painfully scrutinise the areas where you’re not doing so great. As long as you can manage this with an open mind of improving, you’ll be able to overcome your plateaus.
Training Too Much can Cause a Plateau
It may be difficult to believe, but training too hard is a common reason why people don’t see results. Overtraining can result in reducing the rate of returns in the gym. The reasoning behind this is that the body can only recover from a certain amount of stress daily. When overtraining, your body is pushed continuously past this threshold which leads to your body not being able to recover fully and become stronger.
As you grow stronger, this becomes more likely to happen.
When you initially start to workout, your body becomes weaker as the muscle fibres tear. However, after you eat, sleep and recover your muscle fibres repair and become stronger; this is your body adapting to prevent further damage. As you continue to increase the stimulus of training your body needs more time to recover. If you fail to allow your body to do this, your body will be in a constant state of fatigue. Therefore, your results in the gym are directly proportional to how well you allow yourself to recover. This includes ensuring you eat the right food and calorie requirements, hydration and get and a requisite amount of sleep.
Please read our article on how sleep affects performance in the gym.
You’re Not Training at a High Enough Intensity
A further reason behind a plateau in progress is that it can become common for people to get stuck in a routine doing the same workouts every time they go to the gym. This includes operating at the same intensity and using he the same weights, never pushing their bodies to new levels.
The human body is excellent when it comes to adapting and preparing the body for more challenging activities. This means that if you continue to do the same thing regularly, your body will never need to adjust, it will become efficient at working at the same level. Not only will you stop seeing results, but you actually may begin to regress.
Your body needs to continually have stimuli placed upon it that it’s not used to, and the intensity of your workouts need to be changed regularly.
If your workout asks you to perform eight reps and at the end of those reps you feel like you could have done another eight, then you’re not training hard enough. You should train so that by the end of a set you only have 1-2 reps left in the tank.
The Focus of Your Workout Needs Updating
A big downfall when training in the gym is that humans are creatures of habit. Therefore, naturally, we think that if something worked previously, then it will work for all similar occasions in the future. No matter what training category it is; strength training, cardiovascular or yoga, everything works until it suddenly doesn’t.
This is why having a fundamental understanding of the different classifications in strength and fitness training at different times is so important. Thus, taking time to identify phases of your focus can create a better outcome. For muscle growth, this can include taking time for periods of strength training, hypertrophy, endurance, or just perfecting flexibility a movement.
Changing the focus of your program will lead to you being more well-rounded in the gym and thus avoiding plateaus.
Your Body Is Already Under Daily Stressors
When dealing with stress, our body recognises all types – good or bad – as the same thing. This can influence your recovery and therefore, your results. These stressors could include not getting enough sleep, financial worries, deadlines, friends & family and everything in between.
If you feel like you are under a lot of stress, then it’s most likely you aren’t recovering optimally either. It may be beneficial to take a day or two off from the gym and resting to try and relax. However, it’s also apparent that some people use the gym as stress relief and to take their mind off daily worries so maybe trying a lower intensity workout could help such a yoga or a light jog.
If your daily stressors are high, moderate your workouts accordingly.
Focus on Areas You’re Not So Good At to Avoid a Plateau
If you’re not seeing any more progress in the gym, it may be time to stop doing what you’re good at an focus on areas that need improving.
If you write your programs, you’ll inevitably lean towards those exercises you’re comfortable with and good at. When we train, there is a stimulus and then an adaptation to the stimulus.
If the stimulus stays constant and never changes, the adaptation will be less significant. Change your variations, use speciality bars, use resistance with bands and chains, use eccentrics and isometrics in your training
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By Ella Orrock