BEAT YOUR BESTS
Stuck on a plateau? Shift up your training to reach new heights
26 Press the bar faster
More weight isn’t always the answer. In a 2014 study, bench pressers who pushed the bar as fast as possible made almost double the strength gains of another group who lifted deliberately slowly. (Obviously you still need to control it on the way down.)
27 Periodise your plan
Been doing three sets of ten forever? Time to change it up: in a 2004 study, lifters who varied their rep ranges regularly improved much more efficiently. The simplest way to periodise your training is to start with three sets of eight for every lift, adding weight until you can’t improve every session. Then switch to 5x5 and repeat the process, then go to 5x3.
28 Add volume
Really stuck? Drop the weight and up the volume. For instance, if the weight you do three sets of eight with is maxed out, drop it by 10% and go up to four sets with eight reps each. Alternatively, add more sets: in a 2012 analysis, lifters who did eight sets of squats (as opposed to one or four) outpaced the competition over a six-week period. Sometimes, more is more.
29 Change focus
“If you’re getting nowhere with one lift, rather than constantly trying to add weight or volume, consider switching your focus to a different movement,” says Adamson. “If you’re stuck on the military press, for instance, do some push presses. Switch back squats for front squats, or deadlifts for cleans.” The change might bring up lagging muscle groups and help you push on through.