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Don’t you hate it when you hit a plateau. It can be so incredibly frustrating when something that has been working, isn’t anymore. Are you starting to slow down in your gains? Booty not growing as fast? Shoulders not getting any more definition?  If that’s where your at then it’s time to change things up in a dramatic way. Plateaus occur when your body has gotten used to your routine and is no longer challenged by it. The human body is incredibly adaptive and will always rise to the challenge.

Here are my favorite ways to break through a plateau. You would do these with a single muscle at a time, one that you are not seeing any growth in. For instance glutes or biceps. They are spectacularly challenging but will shock you muscles out of their normal routine.

1. Drop Sets

Drop sets work by using your muscle until failure and lowering the challenge in regular increments. Pick a workout, maybe dumbbell curls. Start with a challenging weight and do as many reps as you can until you cannot lift that dumbbell again. Put the weight down, take a 30 second break then do it again but with 5 lbs less. Do about 5 sets… or more if you have it in you. Stick with this routine every time you work that muscle for about a month before you switch back to your normal workouts.

Example routine: bicep curls

25lb until failure

–30 second recovery–

20lb until failure

–30 second recovery–

15lb until failure

–30 second recovery–

10lb until failure

–30 second recovery–

5lb until failure

–finished–

2. Pyramid sets

Pyramid sets are a great way to gain muscle size and break a plateau.

Start by lifting a low weight for 50 reps. Next increase the weight by 5lbs and decrease your reps to 40. Continue in this manner until you do 10 reps. Repeat the entire program in reverse, Starting with low reps high weight and working back to high reps low weight. You can increase your weight in whatever increments work best for you. 5 lbs is a good place to start but if it gets too difficult before you complete the full range of sets maybe change your weight in 2 or 2.5 lbs increments. Here is a sample workout to start you off.

Tricep Kick Backs

Set 1: 50 reps – 5 lbs

Set 2: 40 reps – 10 lbs

Set 3: 30 reps – 15 lbs

Set 4: 20 reps – 20 lbs

Set 5: 10 reps – 25 lbs

Set 5: 10 reps – 25 lbs

Set 6: 20 reps – 20 lbs

Set 7: 30 reps – 15 lbs

Set 8: 40 reps – 10 lbs

Set 9: 50 reps – 5 lbs

3. Negative Sets

Negative sets are a great way to change up your workout routine and re-challenge your muscles to gain both strength and size. Every exercise you have has a positive movement and a negative movement. I.e. in a bicep curl the curling/flexing motion is the positive and the decompression or the release is the negative side of the movement. When you do negatives you are only working the negative side of the movement.

If you have a partner start with a heavier weight than you’d usually do and work hard to get 5-8 reps. Have your partner lift your weight for you into the flexed position and then slowly move through the negative or releasing movement. Work hard to keep the weight elevated for as long as possible.

If you don’t have a partner you can still get in a modified negative workout. Lift about half the weight you typically can. Push or pull your weight into the flexed position in 1 second, then slowly release, taking about 3 seconds to get to the fully relaxed position. Example – Push -1- lower -2-3-4. Then repeat. Do these until failure or about 10-12 reps. If your making it to 10-12 reps try increasing your weight a little.

Examples of positive and negative movements

Bench Press/ Chest Press: working the chest muscles.

  • When you’re extending the arms you are doing the positive action, the action that ends in a flexed muscle.
  • When you begin to lower the weight back to your chest you are doing the negative action.

Bicep curls: working the bicep muscle

  • Positive action: pulling the weight up
  • Negative action: lowering the weight.
3 Ways to Bust that Muscle Training Plateau | Gain Muscle | Fitness Plateau | Drop Sets | Pyramid Sets | Negative Sets |