Have you ever hit a plateau with your training?
You know when you stop seeing results (fat loss, muscle gain, fitness improvments etc.), I have and I’m definitely not the only one.
One of the most common reasons for getting stuck in this rut is because people do the same thing in training all the time.
So many gym users have a training program set for them and then they will do this 3-5 times a week, week in week out without changing it. At the start it may be challenging but eventually the body will get used to it as it comes easier and will stop benefiting from it. It won’t get any worse but you won’t get better either. The minute your body starts finding it easy is when you need to progress it e.g. heavier weights, faster speed, longer distance, more sets, more reps, different movement, larger range of motion, less rest, there are loads of different variables you can change not just speed and weight.
So what I’m trying to say is you need to mix things up, keep thing fresh, if you do the same thing it gets repetitive and boring as well as what I just mentioned about the body getting used to it.
I like to switch my training around every week or two.
I normally have 3 strength workouts to do each week all different and then every 2-4 weeks I will do another different 3 workouts and so on. My other training will then consist of running where I could do 2 long runs one week somewhere and then 2 hill sprint session somewhere else the week after. Plus adding 2-3 fitness classes in spin, kettlebells, trx, circuits, bootcamp and more. This keeps my body guessing and it never gets boring.
I love to exercise because I keep things fresh. I used to get super bored when I was training in the gym doing the same thing over and over.
I know not everyone wants to train like me but if you go to the gym 4 times a week and do the same thing why not do the same thing twice and then do something else for the other 2 sessions?
There are literally 1000s of different ways to train in the exercise world, it would be impossible to do them all but what you can do if you are stuck in a little bit of a training rut is find a few new methods of training.
Variety is key
So for the rest of this article I’m going to share with you a few different ways to train, you may do some of them or you may have never seen or heard some of these training styles. If you are interested and want to know more about any of them just comment below or email me.
These different training methods are mostly for resistance training (weights and bodyweight) but I’ve chucked a couple of cardio ones in there so it can be beneficial for everyone. Like I said you don’t have to change your exercise routine completely, just add in a couple of extra methods and techniques that you learn today if you want to spice things up and keep on/start improving and making some gains again.
So here we go:
Super Sets – My personal favourite. I use super sets for most of my strength training at the moment. Not only are the benefits fantastic but you get the workout done in half the time too. A superset would involve performing one exercise for the required amount of reps and then immediately following it up with another exercise and then rest. This really tests the muscles plus gives you a cardio component by limiting the rest. Normal supersets will involve two opposing muscle groups e.g. chest and back, quads and hamstrings but for a big burn you could use the same muscle group e.g. chest press and then press ups.
Superset training helps to release a tonne of muscle building hormones which will help you to build muscle fast. If building muscle isn’t your main goal then lighten the load and do higher reps, you will still get some awesome benefits out of super-setting. Plus you’ll be sat at home with your feet up by the time you would be half way through your normal session!
Training To Failure – I don’t use this much, if I do it would normally be with a heavy weight or my bodyweight training. Training to failure as long as it’s done safely and when your technique goes you stop does help to recruit loads of muscle fibres which causes the release of muscle building hormones. Try it a couple of times to see if you like it. Definitely don’t do it all the time, maybe one session a week with a few selected exercises and when you have a spotter on hand.
Drop Set Training – This is a good way of mixing up your resistance training. I’ll use the example of a barbell squat for this. You have 100kg on the bar and you perform 10 reps, you wouldn’t have been able to do anymore you’ve pushed yourself to the max. Put down the weight, take 10kg off and do as many as you can with 90kg. Once you’re done take another 10kg off and do as many reps with 80kg as you can. Don’t go all the way down, 3 sets is plenty.
Circuit Training – Find a circuit class and give it a go, you get many private instructors doing it as well as circuit classes at most gyms. I work at Primal Gym Ammanford which has the best circuit training I’ve ever seen, drop me a message if you want to give it a go. Circuit training involves performing a number of exercises back to back for a set period of time without any real rest e.g. you’ll do 10 exercises in a row for 45s each then have a rest and then repeat another two times. This is a great way to train as its fun, different, motivating as there’s an instructor and other people doing it plus it gives you great strength gains as well as cardio gains.
You could even try making a little circuit up at home and do it while you watch the TV. There are 100s of exercises you can do without equipment.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – This is a cardio way of training which blasts long, slow, boring, and continuous training out the water. If you find that you’re spending hours a week running, cycling, rowing and on the cross trainer but aren’t seeing results you need to give this a go… like seriously! HIIT training combines short bouts of maximum effort with an even shorter rest period. An example treadmill HIIT session I do is 45s sprint, 30s slow jog non stop for 10 minutes. Your workout will be done in less than half the time and in terms of fat loss you can get double the benefits. You can burn calories for 48 hours after a HIIT session, with long cardio you stop burning as soon as you stop moving.
So seriously give this is a go, doesn’t matter how fast you can run. I would recommend building up a base level of fitness first before going into this, it’s not for beginners. You can do it outdoors, on the bike, rower, cross trainer, treadmill. It’s a great way of getting maximum benefit in a short time. Once you’ve tried this you won’t be returning to the 60 min treadmill run!
Fartlek – This is a great one to use outdoors to spice up your run. fartlek is Swedish for speedplay and this type of training involves running at different speeds for different periods of time. You could do a 3 minute jog, 1 minute run, 30s sprint, 2 minute run, 20 second sprint followed by a 5 minute jog. Great to do in a park with loads of hills, makes a really interesting and tough session. Be creative!
Tabata – Last but not least we have Tabata training. This type of training can be used with running, cycling, rowing, bodyweight exercises and even weights. It’s a really good one and super hard! This is another form of HIIT, you exercise for 20s hard – rest for 10s and repeat 8 times. Job done in 4 minutes. This works you aerobically (with oxygen) and anaerobically (without oxygen)
You shouldn’t just ditch your training program and do supersets Monday, train to failure Tuesday, fartlek Wednesday, etc. etc. Find and area of your training which you think you can improve on and introduce some of these training methods as and when you need them. If you’re just doing traditional weight training and long cardio then I can guarantee this will breathe a whole new bit of life into your training and help you to enjoy it again plus get some pretty awesome results on the way!
Any questions just please let me know below.
‘Nothing ever changes by staying the same’ (David Brent)
Yeah it was a joke from the office but he was right!