Everyone who works out hates the dreaded plateauing phase! I’ve been there before and it’s the most frustrating thing to go through when trying to get results! Everyone has different goals and reasons to work out, whether it be to get bigger, get more tone, lose some unwanted body fat or to just get healthier. Regardless of your goal,there has either been a time or there will come a time when you plateau. I’m here to make sure that never happens!
For those of you who don’t know, “Plateauing” in the gym simply means that no matter how hard you’re training or how much time you’re putting in in the weight room, you’re staying at the same level of success. I’ll give you a personal example: When I was 19 years old, I finally reached my goal of benching 210 lbs. After I reached my goal, I was stuck at 210 lbs as a max for a few months. I followed the same workout, same diet, same sleep schedule but my results were staying the same.
I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t seeing my results improve and it felt like my time spent in the gym was just a waste of time because I felt like I was going to stay the same forever. Luckily I didn’t give up and neither should you! I asked around and I got a bunch of different opinions as to what I was doing wrong or what I needed to do. I finally got the answer I was looking for and it was from the person I least expected, my dad.
When he was in college, he was what people today like to call a “gym head”. When he was a freshman in college, he was 5’11 150 lbs and he ended up graduating at 205 lbs. He told me that it was nothing I was doing wrong but that there was a better way of going about my workout. So he dug up his old notebooks and folders and in all honesty, handed me the “golden ticket”.
He gave me the workout that he did in college and explained it all to me. The workout he gave me and the one I’m going to share with you, prevents plateauing. The whole point of the workout is to create muscle confusion and to make sure your muscles don’t get immune to the same workout. When your muscles get immune to what you’re doing, they stop giving you the results you want.
Now lucky for you and me, this workout isn’t complicated and it doesn’t involve any complex exercises. It contains all the same lifts and exercises that you probably do every time you go to the gym. What it does is takes those exercises and puts them to the best use possible. It might seem too good to be true but in all honesty, it works! If it didn’t work, I wouldn’t be writing about it.
The first thing you need to know about this workout is that it has 4 phases and each phase is a week so one cycle is a month. The second thing you need to know is in no means do you ever deviate away from what the workout says because if you do, you’re not going to see results. The third and final thing you need to know is that you should always keep record of your workout, every exercise, every set and every rep. This will help you keep track of where you left off from your last workout.
Here is how each week should look:
Monday: Chest and Triceps
Tuesday: Back and Bicps
Wednesday: Legs and Shoulders
Thursday: Chest and Triceps
Friday: Back and Biceps
Saturday: Legs and Shoulders
Now the first week has a sets and reps scheme of 3 and 10. So for you beginners, that’s 10 reps x 3. Allow for 2-3 minutes in between sets. Now for each body part, I have found that it really doesn’t matter what lifts you do, as long as you follow that week’s set/reps scheme. I will tell you that you should always work your chest before triceps and you should work your back before your biceps. I say this because your chest and back are bigger muscles so they need the most work. When you work those two muscle groups, your tricep and biceps are helping them so they’re already getting a workout.
Week 2 has a set/reps scheme of 4 sets of 8 reps. Now what you’re going to do is look back at the last week’s workout and see where you left off. So say you did bench press and your numbers were “175, 180, 190” and you got all the reps. In the second week you would go up in weight so it would be “180, 185, 190, 195” This helps you put up more weight and creates muscle confusion because you’re doing a different set/reps scheme. Now if you don’t get those weights the first time that week, do not lower the weight the next time, try it again.
Now the third week is going to be a set/reps scheme of 5 sets of 6 reps. Once again, if you got all of the reps in your last workout, go up in weight. If you didn’t get them all, carry it over to the next week. So if you did bicep curls and got “50, 55, 60 and only 4 reps at 65” stay there. So your workout for the third week would be “50, 55, 60, 65, 70”. It’s not a hard concept to follow at all people. I’m not the brightest crayon in the box but I can do simple math.
The fourth and final week of your cycle is going to be a little bit more tricky. The set/reps scheme is going to be “10, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2.” Those numbers are the reps for each set. So 10 reps on your first set, 8 reps on your second set and so on. This is by far the most challenging week but it’s also the most fun because you get to see results! You’re going to start extremely light and work your way up in weight. You’ve been increasing your weight by 5 lbs for each set but this week you’re going to be increasing 10lbs and you’re free to add more weight if it feels too light. But whatever you do, never drop down in weight!
That is the workout ladies and gents! It’s simple, it’s fun and best of all, it works! Now I just want to share with you some tips on the workout.
(1) As I said before, NEVER drop down in weight! It will ruin everything you’re working for.
(2) Always, always, always have a spotter! I can’t stress that enough! Lifting weights is dangerous if you’re doing it alone!
(3) Don’t rush into the next set! Take a couple minutes to regroup, take a breather and a drink.
(4) Follow the workout! Don’t think you’re smarter than the workout because you’ll lose every time!
(5) Don’t start off too heavy! The weight might seem easy on the first set but you’ll regret it by the end!
(6) HAVE FUN! The gym is a fun place! Don’t make it a chore or a torture session on yourself. Be happy to be at the gym because after all, you’re there for a reason!