Busting Through Plateaus
We’ve been posting a bit about busting through plateaus, and here is another tip for when you find yourself hammering away but not gaining any ground.
Make things harder.
First let’s talk about what this does NOT mean. This doesn’t mean double your volume, or up your intensity to near a max. Often when people are stuck at a certain weight or strength level, the causes are either lack of recovery (overtraining) and/or that they are cutting, and trying to do MORE in those circumstances usually won’t do much but push you further down the path you are currently on.
What we are suggesting is finding variations that can make the lifts harder, in order to stimulate adaptation and growth. Variations of the main lifts can be very helpful for breaking through plateaus, lifts like front squat, pause squat, stiff leg deadlift, deficit deadlift, close grip bench, or incline bench. There are of course more but all of these lifts have something in particular in common: they modify the main lift in some way that makes you unable to lift as much weight, the variations put you in a weaker position.
This has the benefit of forcing you to lower the weight a bit and maybe give yourself some rest (to help with that recovery issue). It also means that, after you get stronger at incline bench, for example, going back to flat bench will feel great because you’ve moved back to a more advantageous position. You made the lift harder, to make yourself better.
- Silent Mike