Tag Archives: Plateau

***Plateau Breaker Series***

We all hit a wall at times with progress.
 
Given I’ve been here several times I’m going to share with you some of the methods I used to overcome mine.
 
First up, shoulders.
 
More specifically, pressing overhead.
 
There is little else quite as impressive as putting a heavy weight over head.
 
Ideally you want to be able to press your own bodyweight with crispy clean form.
 
Many can’t because they’re just too weak.
 
Or too heavy, might be a combination of both, who knows.
 
The three go to methods in my arsenal are as follows:
 
Negatives – High MUR, allow overload of CNS, good fun
 
Partial Presses – Teaches high tension, helps with confidence to grind through sticking points, looks cool
 
Plyometrics – Improve RFD, improves CNS connections, makes great fodder for Instagram video
 
How do you apply these?
 
There are many ways, I will give you some easy to apply ones immediately.
 
Negatives:
 
Push press (or push jerk) a heavier load than you can strict press overhead.
 
Aim for 2-5 reps, each rep you will aim for 6-10seconds on the negative portion of the lift. If a rep negative is less than 6 second stop the set, if it happens on the next set you’re done for the day with these.
 
Sets, well starting off with 3-4 is good, aim to bulk to perhaps 6-8 total, rest as needed between sets.
 
Don’t just let it drop though, stay tense and almost aim to pull the weight back down.
 
Partial Presses:
 
You will need Pins for this of block son some description where you can place the bar on.
 
Simple set the bar at your sticking point and press away.
 
Given the reduced range of motion 4-8sets of 4-6reps work well for this, you may also be abel to utilise heavier loads than normal as well, just make sure you keep total body tension in each rep.
 
*You can also set partial ROM, you’d need two sets of pins for this, say giving you 4inches of movement, you press from a pin just below your sticking point to a pin just above your sticking point. You’d drive the bar in to the top pin AS HARD AS POSSIBLE, for as long as possible, then repeat until you hit momentary muscle failure, then rest 5min.
 
Plyometrics:
 
Personally I’ve found launching a medicine ball as high as possible in the air works well.
 
You’d so as many sets as possible while maintaining speed, reps would be 2-3 per set as the focus is on acceleration. Rest 1-3min.
 
If you’re more advanced you can look at handstand depth drops – look up the book ‘Plyometric Training, achieving explosive power in sport, Hatfield & Yessis’.
*Please note all of the above, unless stated, are to be done while leaving a couple of reps in the tank, strength is a skill and you should see the above as PRACTICE not a workout method, if you want to get strong.
 
There you have it.
 
Some simple methods for breaking a pressing plateau that can be performed in most gyms without the need for specialist kit.
Be sure to get in remedial work in the form of lateral raises, reverse flies, t3 raises and so on, these areas are often neglected and can be the cause of tension (strength/power) leakage, they will be covered in the future so keep your eyes open for that post.
 
Next time; Deadlifts.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Two training protocols to break plateaus.

The following protocols are simple but very effective.
 
All you have to do is apply them and give it 100% effort and you will soon be in the realms of new results.
 
Protocol 1 – 1-6 Method
 
This method plays with the nifty little trick known as Post-Activation Potentiation, basically you fire up your nervous system with a heavy single (the activation lasts up to 5min), then you lighter the load and start working for a Rep PR or a weight PR on a certain rep range. I learnt this from Charles Poliquin.
 
Perform a heavy single at 90-95% of 1RM. This should be a crisp single with no grinding. Once you have done the single rest 2min and then do 6 reps at 80% and rest 3min after that for the standard protocol – you don’t just have to use 1-6, you can use 1-3, 1-5, 1-8 etc.
 
Repeat for success :).
 
Example: 100kg 1RM
 
Set 1 – 1×92.5kg Rest
Set 2 – 6x80kg Rest
Set 3 – 1×92.5kg Rest
Set 4 – 6×82.5kg Rest
Set 5 – 1×92.5kg Rest
Set 6 – 6x85kg Rest
Set 7 – 1×92.5kg Rest
Set 8 – 6×87.5kg Rest
 
Done.
 
Protocol 2 – 5-4-3-2-1 Count Down to Strength
 
A nice little method I picked up first from reading Beyond Body Building by Pavel Tsatsouline. Others have spoken of this as well because of its effectiveness.
 
How does it work?
 
It allows the body to potentiate and increase strength progressively, by starting off with 5 reps at around 80% 1RM and ending at 90-95% 1RM. You can do higher if you wish but that would not be advised until your familiar with the method and have some experience with it. Once you’ve worked at it for a while you may even be able to go to 100% or even 102% for a new PB.
 
The main idea of this is to allow a lot of skill practice with challenging weights. Note CHALLENGING, not devastating. You want to be able to do this 3+ times per week so do try and kill yourself out of the gate.
 
Here is how it might look:
 
Example: 100kg 1RM
 
Set 1 – 5x80kg
Set 2 – 4x85kg
Set 3 – 3x90kg
Set 4 – 2×92.5kg
Set 5 – 1x95kg
 
It was also a popular method in the days of old (Reg Parks era etc), it is great for building confidence in heavy weights so that they just become normal weights allowing you to realise your strength potential and break through plateaus.
 
Try one of these at a time and see how you get on.
 
How long should you stay on one for? I don’t know. Some say 2 weeks, others say 4, I say you should record your lifts and assess your form/bar speed. If your getting slower or less clean in your reps (not just a one off bad day but on a consistent stream) then it’s time to stop. Ironically if that happens you’ve done too much, it’s better to stop once you have hit some new PB’s even if you feel you can do more.
 
Leave your ego at the door, use either protocol until you hit a new PB then change it up would probably be the logical advice.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Alternative Lifting Medicine

Morning Guys,

Standard gym exercises such as the legendary Squat, Bench, Deadlift and Press are staples for the routines of many great lifters and athletic champions, but sometimes repeatedly doing these can leave you with various aches and pains (not to mention bored).

There are lots of different exercises available that still work the same muscles groups, however they add some much needed variety to your training. I will delve in to some of my personal favourites and why they are excellent alternatives to try.

Bored of Back Squat?…. Forget Frustration with Front Squat.

Front Squats are great for building solid legs, a cast iron core and a solid upper thoracic. Aim for 80-85% of your back squat in this movement.

Flat Bench Faltering?…. Intensify with an Incline (Y).

Swapping flat bench for incline will help fill out those pecs, pull out that posture and create some impressive strength gains too. Aim for 70-80% of Flat Bench.

Deadlifting become Dire?…. Develop with Deficits :).

Deficit deadlifts performed with a snatch width grip will help you develop a solid pull from the floor while filling out your upper back and lats with some solid muscle. It’s also great for grip too. If you hit 70% of your regular overhand deadlift you’ve done well.

Over Head getting Overly Hard?…. Banish Niggles with Behind the Neck.

The Behind the neck press requires a decent amount of mobility but it will not only help improve your regular press once you master the movement, it will also hit your shoulders in ways you can’t imagine and build beastly triceps. Once you get good at the movement and develop strong technique try and aim for 80% of your normal press.

Adding any one of all of these exercises in to your routine will help you break through plateaus and progress. My only advice is start light (50% of 1RM) and cement solid form, if you don’t you run the risk of injury.

Enjoy
Ross

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Stalled?

Have your results stalled?

If the answer is no then high 5! Keep doing what you’re doing for the time being, but if your answer is yes then I invite you to read on.

We shall start with fat loss:

A stall in your fat loss results is often down to your metabolism catching up with your calories.
What do I mean by that?

When you create a caloric deficit you will begin to lose weight, be that of water, fat or a combination of both. You achieve a deficit by establishing what your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is at your current weight and then taking down your calories by 500-800 respectively, this is done by tweaking your macro nutrients (Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates) accordingly, often you will be lowering carbohydrates and fats while maintaining a minimum protein level of 0.8g per lb of bodyweight or up to 1.2g per lb of bodyweight. This strategy will achieve a results that lasts for a certain period of time before it becomes ineffective, but the obvious answer would be to just drop your calories even further right?

Not necessarily.

Dropping your calories further could indeed help you continue to progress, but it could also have a detrimental effect on your metabolism (Your metabolism is based from your old BMR), in essence brining it down to a lower level to match that of your current calories, but don’t worry, you can do one of two things to help kick start your fat loss once again.

1 – Increase the INTENSITY of your current training routine. Adding in some sprints and extra compound lifts is a good idea.

Or my preferred method –

2 – Having a carb refeed.

^^ What is this?

A carb refeed is where you will eat respectively the same amount of carbs that was worked out on your original BRM (For example: Original carbs to maintain original weight at 300g, deficit carbs at 150g. There is not need to refeed on fat, that can stay reduced.) doing this will help boost your metabolism back to its higher level and then you can get back to burning more fat.

Depending on your overall body fat % and fat weight your refeeds will be timed differently, but as a rough guide I would advise the following:

– 3+ Stone of BF – Refeed every 12-14days
– 1.5-3 Stone of BF – Refeed every 7-10 days
– Under 1.5stone of BF – Refeed every 3-5 days

Doing this will help keep your metabolism stoked and burning fat when it needs to.

Now on to Muscle gaining that has stalled:

You’re not eating enough.

I will repeat that…

YOU’RE NOT EATING ENOUGH.

Or more specifically, you’re not eating enough protein.

This is a common problem for those looking to add muscle, simply because they are scared of adding a little fat, but one thing that needs to be remember is that when you’re looking to add weight you NEED as surplus of calories on top of your BMR (500-800 extra ideally).

Hitting your required surplus it is essential for adding lean muscle, but more importantly to avoid potential atrophy getting your protein requirements of 0.8-1.2g per lb of bodyweight is a must! Anything under 0.8g per lb will leave you facing an up hill struggle to maintain the muscle you have. Remember your body is clever, if you’re not eating to increase or at least sustain what you have, it will begin to remove what it sees as unneeded muscle tissue, this is because muscle burns calories, precious calories that the body needs for various other biochemical tasks.

In short, to continue to lose fat you must eat and to continue to gain muscle you must also eat. It’s just a matter of how that is the key difference.

Hopefully this post will help you preserve your results and give you some focus and perspective to achieve more.

Enjoy
Ross

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