The word plateau in fitness is often used negatively. However, a plateau simply means you’ve reached solid, steady ground. A plateau doesn’t necessarily mean stagnation and back-pedaling. It might be frustrating when you’re not seeing huge weight loss or strength gains. However, you are also not packing on pounds or losing strength. Reaching a plateau can be seen as an accomplishment. The truth of the matter is, though, human bodies are in constant flux and continual change.
What you do when you reach a plateau is what makes the difference when it comes to gaining strength and meeting fitness goals. To keep the continuum of positive change going, recognize your plateau for what it is- solid ground on which to define new goals. A plateau is a foundation that indicates your body and mind have adjusted to changes you’ve made. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, lift more weight or reach any fitness goal, if you’ve reached a plateau it’s time to shake things up at the gym in order to trigger new adaptations that will get you closer to your long range goals.
Here are five proven methods to disrupt plateaus
Tweak your existing workouts by making them more difficult. Change one of three variables; speed, duration or resistance. The change should accord with your long-range goals. For example, if you are strength training, incrementally add more weight to your workout. If you’re running pace won’t budge, try speed intervals. Introduce changes in intensity gradually to prevent injury.
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Check-Out a New Piece of Equipment
Throwing-in new moves or a day of cross-training will wake-up muscle fibers that need a nudge. It can also revive your interest in exercising, so boredom doesn’t get the best of your mind.
Attend a Group Exercise Class
Group exercise classes have a certain magic. The energy of a group can help you get past moments of doubt that creep-up on you when you workout alone. The motivation and supervision of an instructor can boost your athletic performance. What’s more, you’ll likely learn new moves you can incorporate into your refreshed individual workouts.
Grab a partner
Exercising with a partner can help you break out of a rut and adhere to a fitness program. A partner can be by your side when you try a new piece of equipment, spot you when you lift heavier weight and be there to catch a ball when you try a buddy workout. Don’t underestimate the power of a pal when it comes to getting out of ruts.
Ask a Pro
A fitness expert can administer a general fitness test, help you establish new goals based on test results and craft a plan to help you reach those goals.
Whatever path you choose, let it be the one that continues up the hill from the solid ground you’ve reached. There’s no sense sliding downhill when you can see another peak ahead.The Effects of Music on Exercise