Training plateaus can be frustrating, especially when trying to loose weight. Plateaus can occur for several reasons such as stale routines, poor nutrition, lack of quality rest between workouts, not enough sleep, etc.

If you have been doing the same workout for 6-8 weeks, and you’re not a beginner, it is probably time to change it up. There are diminishing returns as our bodies adjust to the same types of motion and angles at which we work various muscle groups.

To continue to advance, we must constantly put our bodies in a state of slight discomfort, virtually fooling them with the element of surprise.

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Here are some simple things you can do to augment your existing workout:

Shorter rest periods between sets can stimulate hypertrophy, which is essentially muscle growth.

Change the exercise. This seems obvious. However, as creatures of habit we all fall victim to the comforts of routine. If you are doing the same exercise to workout a particular muscle group simply choose another. For example try push-ups rather than bench pressing.

Slow the reps– this will increase the amount of time the muscles are under tension. Its been scientifically proven that each set achieves maximal effectiveness when the muscle is under stress for at least 45 seconds at a time.

Add intensity– try switching a long slow run for sprint intervals for a change in heart rate. One will train fast-twitch or power muscle fibers, while the other will train slow-twitch, or endurance fibers.

Use variable resistance– if you have been using traditional free weights try switching to a kettlebell or resistance tubing. The body will have to adjust to a new challenge. Resistance bands are good because there is constant tension throughout the entire range of motion.

Try partial range of motion, or slight angle adjustments at contraction. Incorporate this sparingly to adjust the body to heavier weight.

Add 30 second isometric holds– this will maximize demand on your muscles and test them in ways in which we are less accustomed.

Cross train– this will target different muscles and can reduce the risk of injury.

The Break-Through Workout

This workout is designed to stimulate the nervous and metabolic systems to pull you out of any rut. Perform the 5 exercises in the following order, as they alternate from high intensity to ones that require more balance and control. Aim for 3-5 sets and limiting rest time between sets from 30-60 seconds for maximum training effect.

1. High Intensity High Knees

Run in place for 30-90 seconds, bringing your knees up towards your chest by flexing at the hip and knee joint rather than the lower back. Make sure to keep your abdominals strong and stay light on your toes to minimize impact on knees and back.

2. Single Leg Single Arm Deadlift

Stand tall with the appropriate weight or kettlebell in your left hand (should be able to perform 10-15 reps on each leg cleanly).

Perform a single leg hip hinge by reaching back with the left leg to form a straight line with the body from head to toe.

Maintain a firm grasp on the weight and keep the shoulder back and down. Press the standing leg down into the floor to maintain balance. Then perform another hip hinge to reverse the movement to return to standing with both feet on the floor. This exercise should be performed slowly and with control.

3. Jump Rope

Jump rope at your max intensity for 30-90 seconds. Again, stay light on your toes.

The break-through workout_2

4. Plank Elbows to Hands

Begin in a plank on your elbows and press up onto your hands one at a time and then back down to your elbows one arm at a time. Continue for 30 seconds making sure to switch the leading arm. Remember to keep your abdominals strong and hips stable.

5. Squat to Overhead Press

Stand with a weight in each hand at shoulder height (you should be able to perform 8-10 reps cleanly).

Descent into your squat slowly using 3 counts to reach the bottom.

Take an isometric hold here for 1-3 deep breaths at the bottom while maintaining an upright spine and shins perpendicular to the floor then power up in one count back to standing as you press the weights over head.

You can also perform an isometric hold at the top of the overhead press for 1-3 deep breaths while you make sure to brace your core and maintain the weight vertical over your body.

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