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Break Muscle Gain Plateau
How to Break Through a Muscle Building Plateau
Most beginners have experienced the amazing rapid change in their physiques in the first 12 weeks of training. People who just want to look fit may stop building and switch to other sports. Some of us may want to get bigger and bigger! However, it is likely that you won't see any significant growth after the kick-in period. Why? It is because your body has adopted the workout program that you've been using to build it. In fact, this is why bodybuilding studies usually tested on 12-week basis. If you really like the program you currently use and refuse to try something new, I suggest you to have a rest of a week or two and resume. But I strongly recommend a change to your program to keep both your muscles and you happy and interested in working-out. I suggest the following changes:
1) Rep System - This is a minimal change in your program but significant change in your body. Varieties are heavy weight-low rep system, light weight-high rep system, a pyramid system which is starting with light weight-high rep for the first set and add poundage and cut down the number of rep each following set (for an exercise, say, you want to work 3 sets, they may look like: 20lb 12 reps for the first set; 25lb 10 rep for the second; and 30lb 6-8 rep for the last).
2) Speed of movement - The speed of moving the weight from the start position to the finishing position and the speed of returning the weight may change a bit to satisfy your need. I often lift the heavy weight slowly to prevent swinging and momentum. But for some exercise I will introduce the use of negative resistance. Power Bench Press is a good example. When the weight is lowered to my chest (start position), I inhale deeply and close my eyes, press up the barbell as fast as I can while exhaling. When I feel the chest is contracting (finishing position), I pause for 2 seconds. Then I slowly lower the weight while keeping the contracting feel along the way down. By using this technique, you should use a heavier weight than the regular bench press. That is why it is named POWER Bench Press. You can try do some Power Barbell Curls for your biceps or any other exercises EXCEPT pull-over! You should pay attention on those exercises which employ shoulders, rotating cuffs, neck and lower back.
3) Order of exercises - As I mentioned in the section above, the order of exercises does matter. You may not want to, say, move the triceps exercises around since you want to attack triceps as the weakest part. However, you still can rearrange the order of exercises of the triceps. For example, you currently work 3 sets of close-grip-bench-press then 3 sets of cable-push-down then follow 3 sets of kick-back. You can try 3 sets of kick-back then 3 sets of close-grip-bench-press then 3 sets of cable-push-down. And, of course, any other combination works.
4) The Whole Program - I would say that this is the best change since it will refresh you and your body. Your body will take about 12 weeks to adopt to the new program and that will stimulate growth! That's why I post several programs on this website and keep asking people to donate theirs.