Do you feel like you’re not making any progress with your current workout program? Do you feel bored doing the same things? Follow these ten tips to break through your workout plateaus:
1. Change the sequence of exercises. Let’s say your weight training workout consists of 7 different exercises: lat pulldowns, squats, knee raises, dumbbell chest press, lunges, EZ bar bicep curl, and back extensions. Depending on your intensity, you might be slowing down by the time you get to biceps and low back. How about doing it in the reverse order? Or you can mix n match. This way you’re not over-prioritizing certain body parts, and you’ll keep your muscles guessing “What’s next?”
2. Adjust your rep scheme. 10 seems like the number of repetitions that we always aim for. How about 12 reps? Or 8? Or how about lifting based on time. For example, see how many reps you can complete in 30 seconds while maintaining good form.
3. Shorten the duration of your workout. Some of my best workouts are only 30 minutes long. I keep a quick pace while giving myself little rest between sets. When I’m finished, I feel energized versus in need of a nap.
4. Change your weight scheme. There are days when you have more energy than others, so adjust your weights to match. After a 10-hour workday, it’s okay to train a little lighter. As I tell my clients, train by intuition. Your body will thank you for it.
5. Try circuit training. Circuit training is a combination of high-intensity aerobics plus resistance training. A “circuit” is one completion of all exercises in the program. When one circuit is complete, you can start at the beginning again for another circuit.
6. Exercise at a different time of day. Look at your schedule and see when is another time to exercise. Before work, during lunch, after work? Changing just one workout time a week can help break through plateaus.
7. Change locations. Get out of the gym and do something different. Go for a walk, take a dance class, exercise to a video at home. A change of scenery is always helpful.
8. Take a break. Workout plateaus may be a sign of overtraining which can lead to injury. So give your body a rest. A few days break and you’ll come back refreshed.
9. Focus on food. I often run into people who exercise several hours a week and don’t see any progress. Instead of working out harder, work smarter. Take a look at what you eat. Just a slight change in your diet can lead to big results.
10. Revisit your WHY. Remember WHY you’re waking up at 5AM to workout. Remember WHY you’re preparing healthy meals for the week. You have goals. Spend more time with your goals and less time on the process. You’ll enjoy the journey and achieve your goals faster.