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What to add/remove to overcome a plateau


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Hey guys,

 

I've posted a few times about improving the efficiency of my workouts, and now that I've hit a plateau it's time to call upon your sage wisdom once again. I'm doing circuit training 3 times a week, round about 45 mins per circuit. It's kicking my butt, but I'm no longer seeing the gains in muscle mass or strength that I was. Here's what I'm doing at present:

 

7-8 mins rowing machine warm up

 

10 x Incline one arm press ups each arm (round about 45 degrees)

10 x Hanging straight leg raises

10 x door assisted pistol squats each leg (parallel with floor at present, still working on going deeper)

10 x pull ups  - or until failure ( recently moved from chin ups)

1 min decline plank

1 min rest

 

Times 4, then full body stretch for 5 mins and hit the shower.

 

Like I said, it gets me sweating that's for sure. The main problems are that I'm no longer progressing as well as I had been and am not feeling the muscle or strength gains I feel I should be, and I'm finding it hard to drop the last little bits of body fat I want to - I'm probably stuck just over 22% and I've got some belly fat I want to go away - I realise this one's diet, but I'm being REALLY good. Now to me, there's a few possible theories:

 

I'm being impatient.

 

I'm biting off more than I can chew - either with too long a workout, too much cardio, or working on too many different progressions at once.

 

I need some variation - which I have been thinking of adding - maybe one day over the weekend doing some full body exercises and flexibility things like back bridges, handstands....hadnt really thougt it through fully but it's an option.

 

I'm not working on all of the areas I should be - I know shoulders are kind of lacking in this circuit.

 

Those are my best guesses. I have a feeling I am being impatient, but I dont think it's just that. I'm open to any suggestions at this point. I'd rather stick to strictly bodyweight stuff at this point, or minimal weights. Simply because since moving to strictly bodyweight I've noticed a vast improvement in my flexibility and I'd like to keep exploring that. But any suggestions or comments at this point would be very welcome.

 

Thanks

The Logros - Guardians of the First Throne itself.

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What is your rest time? Instead of circuit,  switch to doing each exercise individually and upping the amount of exercises and difficulty  you do.   The goal for each workout is to increase the reps/or difficulty of each exercise.. l For example:

 

Do pull ups rest 2 min do another set do pull ups/next workout try and increase your number

pistol squat rest 2 minutes then another set/ next workout increase your number

and so on with your exercises

 

Also: if you can do 10 assisted squats i would ditch the door and just work on the pistol

Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

Elastigirl:Luck Favors The Prepared - Current Challenge: August 1 to September 4 - Nerd Fitness Rebellion

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song, above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" J.R.R.Tolkien

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Can't really say it with more brevity than Waldo did.

Circuit training is not strength training. The two are distinct from each other. If it's your first month off the couch you'll see some modest strength and mass gains at first. But that's because for a little while, even doing something ineffective is better than doing nothing. You probably are seeing improvement in your running too -- doesn't mean you're training it effectively. But after that first month or two, those newbie gains stop.

So your weight loss has stalled, you're right in thinking that's your diet. Your strength and mass gains have stalled, that's because you're not strength training and you're not eating to gain weight.

Sounds like now's the time for you to pick your first priority: weight loss or strength? If you choose to lose the last of the excess fat first, stick with circuit training, dial in your diet and accept that your stalling is natural. If you choose strength, start eating more and changing to a more traditional strength workout structure.

Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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Yup sounds like you guys are right. Yes I'd like to lose the last if my fat, but that's an aesthetic thing that should really be secondary. I have the means now to work on strength and gains, money may be a little tighter in the future so it probably makes sense to cut later. I have been teetering between bulk and cut for a while and didn't know which way to turn. Am I right in thinking cutting will be a lot easier when I've built up more muscle?

In terms of changing my workout structure, I'm not 100% sure what to do there. Any suggestions? Am I better to work on specific areas each day , like the traditional chest/leg/back day arrangement you generally see in powerlifting? It seems like with body weight they'd sort of bleed into one another a little anyway.

And I'm increasing rest between sets to 2-3 mins yes? And working on reps between 6-10?

Elastigirl ill give it a go, I guess I have kinda stalled the true pistol squats a little. Legs have never been my strong suit.

Thanks for the input so far everyone.

The Logros - Guardians of the First Throne itself.

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Yup sounds like you guys are right. Yes I'd like to lose the last if my fat, but that's an aesthetic thing that should really be secondary. I have the means now to work on strength and gains, money may be a little tighter in the future so it probably makes sense to cut later. I have been teetering between bulk and cut for a while and didn't know which way to turn. Am I right in thinking cutting will be a lot easier when I've built up more muscle?

In terms of changing my workout structure, I'm not 100% sure what to do there. Any suggestions? Am I better to work on specific areas each day , like the traditional chest/leg/back day arrangement you generally see in powerlifting? It seems like with body weight they'd sort of bleed into one another a little anyway.

And I'm increasing rest between sets to 2-3 mins yes? And working on reps between 6-10?

Elastigirl ill give it a go, I guess I have kinda stalled the true pistol squats a little. Legs have never been my strong suit.

Thanks for the input so far everyone.

Holding unto the wall for pistol squats is a good start. The problem with them can be that you end up using the wall too much and then your progress stalls. Another option is to stand on a bench and let your non working leg hang down. Then you can concentrate on the movement without worrying about raising the other leg.

A good progressive tutorial:  http://www.alkavadlo.com/2010/06/14/pistol-squat-tutorial/

Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

Elastigirl:Luck Favors The Prepared - Current Challenge: August 1 to September 4 - Nerd Fitness Rebellion

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song, above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" J.R.R.Tolkien

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Thanks elastigirl. I've looked at a few progressions, I think ill try non assisted, parallel to floor and see how I go. If not ill try taking a step back and see how I go. Al kavadlo is great, his progressions are always excellent, thanks for the link!

The Logros - Guardians of the First Throne itself.

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So is anyone able to suggest what sort of changes to make in my routine that might help me make some progress? Even a link in the right direction would be great. I've talked to a few friends about it who suggested upping reps to 12 and cutting the rowing machine out as well as working back with some light deadlifting, but otherwise they didn't think I had any problems. So now I'm confused as to who's right and who's wrong, or what I should be doing. Ideally I don't want someone to tell me just what to do, I want to know what I can do to progress, but also why. And that will help me to continue to progress into the future.

Any takers?

The Logros - Guardians of the First Throne itself.

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Ok, so I did some research over in the "help me plan my routine" section (I probably shouldve posted there first, sorry) and came across the sort of info I was after. If anyone's still following, this is what I picked up: Am I correct in assuming that:

 

With bodyweight goals are much more important than a program per se - so aiming towards specific movements rather than making sure I'm exercising all the different body parts - it will happen as a matter of course due to the fact that these are compound exercises.

 

Low reps of any exercise in a progression will be much more conducive to pure strength than endurance and mass, as seen in higher reps. 

 

I think thats pretty close, I'll work on these assumptions for now, and see how I go.

The Logros - Guardians of the First Throne itself.

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