Posted on July 01 2018
Does this sound familiar? You have been working out consistently for a while now, and lapping up the results, however you suddenly seem to have hit a fitness plateau.
A fitness plateau takes place when your body doesn’t respond to your workouts as it once did. Your body can adjust to your exercise routine and ‘get used’ to the amount of demand you are putting on it.
There are a few things to look out for if you think you’ve hit a fitness plateau. Is your heart rate still high? Do you feel out of breath? If not it may be time to change something within your workout. If you are feeling bored or like your workout is another daily chore it is probably time to challenge yourself. Below are some ways you can adapt your workouts for more of a challenge:
Increasing the weights you lift may seem like an obvious concept if you strength train as it is normal to do so, however think about increasing weights in other forms of exercise you do too. Do you like to run or walk? Try wearing a weighted backpack or jacket. If you prefer yoga or pilates classes try attaching weighted ankle or wrist straps for more of a challenge.
Working out on an unstable surface will not only work your chosen muscle group, but it will also work your core as you are trying to keep yourself from falling over. You can do this in numerous ways for a number of strength exercises. Try standing on one leg during deadlifts, standing on a bosu ball for squats, or standing in a lunge position for shoulder presses. The core muscles including your obliques and abdominals will all get a significant workout at the same time as exercising numerous other muscle areas.
The speed at which you move during a workout can apply to weight training and not just cardio. You lift weights at a certain speed the same way you run or swim at a certain speed. Try increasing the tempo of your weight lifting and see what changes it makes in terms of muscle fatigue and heart rate. If you swim or cycle try to beat an existing time by moving faster, It is a great method of making your workout more of a challenge, however be careful not to push yourself too hard and risk pulling a muscle.
The time you take to rest between exercises during a workout is just as important as the hard work itself, but you can make a workout more challenging by shortening your resting periods. Try halving your rest time between sets, so if you normally wait 60 seconds try resting for only 30 seconds. Or if you really want to challenge yourself try supersets or even trisets where you do one lift after the other. If you are a runner who practices sprints, you can try cutting down your rest period in-between sprints and really challenge yourself.
How do you like to challenge yourself when working out? Let us know in the comments!