The Secret Tip to avoid a Training Plateau | TPM Fitness |

Posted on: Nov 6th, 2017 by The Physio Movement | Categories: Sports Medicine & Nutrition

TPMs Secret Tip to avoid Fitness Plateau with Exercise Physiologist Callum



Let me tell you about a fitness journey that may seem familiar to some. Joe has just started going to the gym 3 times a week, previously before this, while Joe is an active man he had never  stepped inside a gym. Joe breaks up his training and fitness days to hit specific muscle groups i.e day 1. Back, day 2. Chest, day 3. Legs. Joe does this for around 4-6 weeks and he feels great, his strength is improving, the weights are going up, and he is able to  keep pushing himself with this routine and see fantastic results.

After a while Joe notices this starts to stop, the weights have stopped increasing like they did before but it’s not like he isn’t pushing himself, Joe has a goal of benching his bodyweight and it looks like it’s never going to happen!

So what is this simple tip from TPM Fitness?

It’s increasing your Intensity/load….

Our bodies get really good at becoming efficient at a set load/intensity, which is a GOOD thing, a little annoying for those who want to lose weight but it’s fantastic for sporting performance. If our body didn’t adapt to current load no matter how much you trained, a 30min 5km would always be hard and you wouldn’t get much faster, but it also means that if you want to keep improving your times the intensity/load of your training will need to increase also.

It is important to understand this concept because if you are aware of this, you can retrospectively look at your training and increase the load/intensity. Using joe as an example, while he does go to the gym 3 times a week and is increasing his weight to what he feels like he can do, if his goal is to maximise his bench press, at the end of the day he is only working this muscle group once a week.

Initially this worked for Joe as his body hadn’t done much of anything, but Joe’s body is adapting and over time it will need more than once a week to improve. So, if Joe was to do chest x2 a week he should get another little peak in improvement and so forth.

Also, the more Joe becomes trained in a specific activity the less returns he will get per session, example of this is Olympian sprinters work all year around to try and get an improvement in their 100m times.

So, while the concept is simple, it can become complicated in its application and how to approach ways to increase load/intensity so Joe doesn’t end up doing chest 9 x a week, this becomes incredibly time inefficient. Generally, I like to keep it simple, to stay with the example of Joe and his bench press goal. Work bench/chest 2-3 x a week and record your weights, if its feeling 5/10 easy, increase the weight to a 8/10 difficulty and keep going until it becomes a 5/10 again.

This isn’t to say this is all you need, if this was true there would be no such thing as strength and conditioning coaches,  but for the general population in the gym I do believe this is enough, especially for a goal of benching your bodyweight. Remember keep it simple, keep it consistent.


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