Today I wish to reveal one of my bigger pet peeves of the modern day trainee.
I have come to observe that most trainees quit on training templates far too early. Specifically, I am speaking of strength training routines and programs .
As trainees near their genetic potential and they plateau they go shopping for the latest and greatest routine instead of using a little workaround and grinding it out. Many times this happens just as they are getting ready to push through this flat spot.
Assuming your program is fundamentally sound to begin with, periods of stalled progress are inevitable. It's part of the game. Improvement is not linear. Strength improvement is a lot of slow cooking!
The most productive stuff will always include pressing, pulling and squatting. The strongest folks are always found grinding it out with the basics. Even if you toss your program on the junk pile the next quality program will inevitably serve up more of the same thing.
Do you really have what it takes? Here are some questions you need to ask your selfie.
- Am I simply bored or do I get bored easily? I see this most frequently. It is a what has been referred to as exercise A.D.D.
- Am I committed? Motivation gets you started but commitment to the program is where the rubber meets the road.
- Am I consistent? I get it. It's not your job. Then don't commit to a four day strength program if you can only get under the bar for two days of training.
- Am I honestly eating and sleeping (recovering) to allow adaptations to occur? If you can't check the box on both of these then it will never happen.
When you do hit a flat spot try these things before you jettison your current strength schedule.
- Sleep an extra hour every night. The news is generally bad anyway. Hundreds of sleep studies on athletes prove that every performance quality is enhanced when more sleep is added.
- Eat . Consume additional calories. Muscle is hard to build under ideal conditions. Under eating will wreck you in a New York minute. Besides, it's fun!
- Add an extra day in between sessions. For example if you lift Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays (24 hours between sessions). Lift on Monday, Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday (48 hours between sessions. I realize this might be difficult but this works very well especially for athletes 50 years of age and above. Also make sure your microcycle (week) is balance with High, Low and Medium training stress.
- If you don't already caffeinate prior to training, try a cup of coffee thirty minutes prior to training.
- Keep your warm up brief. I am exhausted watching people warm up for 30 minutes.
- Back off your volume. If you are lifting a 5 sets x 5 reps. Keep the top sets and do 3 x 5
- Decrease your loading 10% and start again. Simple enough
- Back off your conditioning. Just walk. You can not serve two Masters.
- Schedule a de load. Routinely take de load weeks every eighth week minimum to prevent plateaus.
- Use micro loading principles. Instead of adding 2.5 or 5 pounds you can add as little as .5 a pound on your top set. GOOGLE micro loading plates and you will find many options.
It becomes messy when you attempt multiple tweaks at one time. Start with better lifestyle things like nutrition and sleep. Then some alterations with the program parameters.
I often hear about improvement everyday or Kaizen as they say in Japan. While this is an amazing objective it is not realistic for the majority. Perfect is the enemy of good.