Overcoming a strength plateau can be a very hard task when you don’t know how to do it. However, there are hundreds of tools to help us achieving this goal. Most people just don’t know or don’t use them efficiently.
Here are 3 of these tools that will help you to reach YOUR goals in terms of strength :
1- Incorporate Olympic weightlifting variation lifts in your training
Using a different velocity in your movements is very important because if you always perform your movement on the concentric part in a controlled fashion keeping the same speed, you’ll limit your muscle recruitment. To tap into your fast-twitch IIB fibers, you’ll have to increase the velocity on the concentric part. For instance, in a bench-press, that would be when you push the bar up, so you would push the bar as hard as you can keeping the good form obviously. Olympic weightlifting teach you to use these fast-twitch fibers because by itself these lifts demand an extreme velocity. Olympic weightlifting variations are very good precursors to your big compound exercices such as squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc. By using them that way, you will further stimulate your central nervous system and will be able to tap into these fast-twitch fibers.
2- Prioritize your tempo
It is important to have a consistency in your workouts to measure your progress, the tempo will make sure that you have the same stimulus applied. The tempo is a critical parameter that you must consider, it will affect the muscle recruitment and the training stimulus. It could be interesting to take a 2 second pause at the bottom is the most disadvantageous position. Don’t forget that the eccentric phase is the one that cause the most damage to the muscle cells, so slowing it down to 4 seconds may be a good solution for you. If you never prioritized your tempo, don’t be surprised to be as sore as if you would had run 50km for the first time. The next time you go to the gym, you’ll reach new personal bests!
3- Do a strength cycle
If you have never done any strength cycle, I strongly advise you one. That will help you to further increase your poundages that will transfer into new muscle fiber growth. Don’t make the mistake to follow these famous 10-12 reps used by bodybuilders in the magazines or on the internet, they might work at the beginning if you have never lift a single weight in your whole life, but that’s about it. You will have a lot of benefits from increasing the intensity of your training. By doing so, you will increase your strength and then use it to hypertrophy even more. Don’t forget to adjust your number of sets to keep a good volume of training. So, if you do 3 to 5 repetitions, you might increase your sets to 5 to 10. The tempo will also have to be adjusted and the eccentric speed decreased to avoid any injuries due to the rapid weight increase. Concentrate on 2 to 4 exercises a day. When you do a strength cycle, the exercise selection is very important. Select compound exercises such as bench-press, pull-ups, squat, overhead press, deadlift.
Here’s a sample of what your strength training could look like based on the 5×5 principle :
(5 sets of 5 repetitions, tempo : 4/0/x/0, rest : 90 sec between intervals)
A1: 75 Degree Seated Overhead barbell press
A2: Wide grip pronated Pull-ups
B1: 30 Degree Dumbbell Incline press
B2: EZ-Bar Bent-over Row supinated grip
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