Today is day 6 of 30 for the Situp/pushup challenge. Today’s number is 55. Remember to modify things if you need to, but try for 55 at once and if you need a break, only take a second or two, then push out the rest.
It is also the 22nd day of 365 straight days. 3 weeks down, 49 to go.
Back to our topic of plateaus, last week I discussed the food side of things and today I want to touch on the exercise side of conquering a plateau. There are three ways to use exercise to erase a plateau. The first way is the easiest. Allowing the body to take a break will help muscles heal and become fresh for the next bout of exercise. Every 12 weeks or so, it is a good idea to take a single week off from working out. This means for seven days focus on cardio, stretching or active recovery (flag football, basketball, etc). Do not lift weights or do anything requiring muscle strength.
The second way to begin making gains again, can be accomplished in one of two ways. Changing your routine, or changing your set and rep counts can be effective in crushing a plateau.
When changing your routine you can work the same muscle groups, just be sure to use a new set of exercises. Each exercise in a routine works the muscles differently and changes angles on the muscles. By switching to a new set of exercises you will change how each muscle works and when performing new exercises some muscles will feel less strain and other will get more strain. These changes allow the muscles to work in a new way and compensate for their new “job”. This will force growth and gains will began to come back.
Another way to change your routine is to change the set and rep counts. Without changing your exercise selection, take a look at your current sets. Are you performing 3 sets of 10? If so a quick change would be to load up the weight and perform 10 sets of 3. This will force your muscles to lift a much heavier load, while still performing a total of 30 reps.
For my latest plateau, I have chosen to raise my caloric intake by 400 and change my routine completely. I am now eating 2600 calories a day, and am following a new workout plan. Today is chest, tricep and abs day. Incorporating the 30 day pushup challenge into my routine, today looked like this:
- 55 Pushups
- Bench Press 4×9
- Incline Dumbbell Press 3×9
- Decline Barbell Press 3×9
- Dips 4×9
- Close Grip Barbell Press 4×9
- 55 Crunches
- Weighted Cable Crunch 2×9
Let me know if you have any questions or comments on the workouts and the plateau fixes.
Keep working hard and enjoying the workouts! And always finish with a quality shake!