Tag Archives: Plateau
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.
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?
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.