5 Tips to Relaunch Your Development
Are you pissed off, because you do the same things in and outside the gym, as you always did before, still you don’t experience any changes lately? Provided that you have changed neither your eating habits nor your training routine in the past few months, it’s probably your musculature that NEEDS something new. The human musculature – and the human body in general – always strives for optimal operation and has an unrivaled capacity to adapt to various circumstances. That’s why your muscles have grown accustomed to your everyday routine, no matter how good it is. In such cases the solution is always to make some changes in your regime: in training, nutrition or both. Below we are providing you 5 tips to relaunch your development, which will help you get to the next level.
1) Rest and nutrition
One or more muscles or muscle groups may not react to the exercises the way the rest of your muscles do. Believe it or not, sometimes the best solution is as follows: do not even try to shock the weak muscle. Moreover, stop doing exercises for it. I don’t mean forever, of course. Just put it aside for a week or two. Meanwhile, make sure you pay at least as much attention to your diet and rest as you did before. What’s more, you might also play with your calorie intake. Although we don’t believe in counting calories, now we recommend you to get some extra calories. From protein, fat, carbs or an extra meal. It’s up to you. Just increase it. To what extent? No one can tell. We are not the same. Nevertheless, do not go to the other extreme either. It’s not likely that you put on a considerable amount of excess fat in this short transitional period, while your muscles will benefit from the extra nutrients.
These short breaks, paired with extra calories, can easily re-ignite anabolic processes. This way you can kickstart the development of the stagnating muscle (group).
2) Take a longer break
In some cases you can benefit the most from a full pause. If you are a true fanatic and you never skip a workout, come tide or high water, now it may be high time to try it. If you stop for a moment to think it through, you might agree that you need some rest... and wipe away any thoughts about how it would set back your development. Because it won’t. This is the goal itself: rest and allow your muscles and nervous system to recover. This means kind of de-conditioning yourself. Plus, you will also have some time to think about the next method to bomb your muscles.
...you might have overtrained yourself without noticing it?
A little longer rest will not only do good to your muscles, joints and nervous system, but it is also a great opportunity to think through some questions. In the end, you will die for a kickass workout! How much rest would you like to take? One week? Two? Three? Oh my, that’s too much!
If you allow your body enough time to get back on track, you’ll return to the gym as a whole new person. It ain’t a big deal. You might have thought of it before, too. But, as most people, you probably thought that most of what you have achieved so far, would be lost. Take it easier. It works. You’ll see.
3) Change the number of your sets and repetitions
Or, reschedule your training days completely. The simplest method is, however, to work with more – or less – sets and/or repetitions. This is the most self-evident change you can make in your training plan, and it works every time. Working with lighter weights and higher rep counts will not interfere with your results. Neither will extraordinarily heavy weights or lower rep counts.
The light weight-high rep version is typically a great way to make you focus better, concentrate on strict and more efficient performance and strengthen the mind-muscle connection. After one or two occasions, as you return to heavier weights and lower or moderate rep counts, the next time you will be able to work with the heavier weights in a much more secure and controlled manner. If you aim for 12-15 reps in your program, increasing the weights and doing 6-8 reps can also boost your development. Remember: the muscles will always adapt to new stimuli and stress.
4) Use intensity-boosting techniques
Simple sets without any extra: these make up the basics of every training plan. If you are planning to make drastic changes in your training regime and haven’t tried any of the below techniques yet, now it’s high time to do so. Partial and negative repetitions, supersets, pre-exhaustion, giant sets, drop sets... do whichever suits you the best. You can choose any of them. Because, if you are not used to these techniques, they will pose a kind of stress on your muscles and nervous system that your body will need to adapt to. For example: do the last sets until failure. Then, lighten the load and carry on without rest again, until failure.
Repeat until you kick the bucket. :) That’s how drop sets work. However, it is important to remember that intensity-boosting techniques should not be applied during each workout (especially the ones that involve muscle failure). First, because, doing so, you can easily go to the opposite extreme. Second, rest and recovery are of outstanding importance during this time. So, use intensity-boosting techniques carefully. If you use them smartly, you can re-ignite your development for sure.
5) Vary workout equipment
Machines, free weights or a combination of both; find out what works best for you. One thing is for sure: if you tend to prefer one of them in your everyday workout routine, now it’s time to change this pattern as well. What’s more: you might even go to the extremes! Do only cable tricep exercises for one week or two, or work your lats using machines only. Then, switch to free weights. Machine exercises are often suitable for exerting nearly the same load on your muscles as their free weight equivalents, but there are always some slight differences: in the case of machines, the motion range is limited, and the resistance of cable machines never load the muscles exactly the same way as free weights do. Even if you don’t feel these nuances, they can really make the difference if you have reached a plateau. You might get the groove now with some of the machine or free weight exercises, if you have neglected them before. And in time, you may perform better even with exercises you sucked at before.
At times like this, change is all that matters: to break the routine. Use equipment, for example, an arm blaster. The bottom line is that you should load your muscles in unusual and diverse ways. Do you always do dumbbell presses? Do barbell bench presses now! Do you prefer squats to leg presses? Use the leg press machine now!
Small things can make a big difference if you are stuck in your development! You might as well combine the above tips within reasonable limits. We don’t mean that only these methods work, or just one or the other. The results only depend on you, the quality of your training and dietary regime, your habits and your attitude. One thing is for sure: each of the tips listed above can be helpful, whether you have reached a plateau or not. They can spice up your workout routine for sure!
Based on an article by Shannon Clark
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