When your progress stalls it can be demotivating. Especially if you are working hard week in and week out.
But anytime progress stalls (and it will happen at some point) you can use this as an opportunity to progress your training and get a better understanding of what works best for YOU.
Check out 8 things we look into with online clients to break through their plateau for building muscle.
Are you consistent with training?
This is the biggest thing that is overlooked. Training inconsistently will get you inconsistent results. You have to be honest with yourself here.
Are you hitting all of your workouts each week? If you arent hitting at least 90% of your workouts, that is your issue. Not anything else.
Training consistently 3-4x per week is going to be better than training 6-7x per week for a few weeks and then going a few weeks without training.
Are you focusing on your nutrition?
Are you getting enough protein each day? Are you under-eating and not getting enough quality nutrients in? Consistency is HUGE here.
A lot of times clients will think it’s something with their training but then their nutrition isn’t compatible with building muscle.
Nutrition is challenging because it’s something you have to do multiple times per day. And its easy to get lazy with it.
Just like with consistency with your workouts, be honest with yourself here. If you are consistent with your workouts and not seeing the results you would like, im sure your nutrition could be better.
Read HERE for nutrition commandments for performance and building muscle.
You can also download my free guide “Nutrition for Performance and Aesthetics” HERE.
Make sure you are training with the right amount of volume for each muscle group.
Each muscle group probably needs a little bit more or less than others.
If a muscle group never gets sore, you can probably do a little more for them, if they are constantly getting sore then you may be able to do a little less.
Doing too little isn’t going to be great for muscle growth, but also doing too much isn’t going to be great either as you will be under-recovered.
For most people, about 8-18 sets that are taken 1-3 reps from failure are more than enough to see muscle growth.
Some muscle groups will need more or fewer sets than others.
For example, my quads are very receptive to muscle growth, and because of that, I can get away with way less volume for them than something like my chest or back.
Are you focused on recovering?
Doing more isn’t always the answer, check to make sure you are sleeping well and managing stress outside of the gym.
Sleep is one of those boring things that people neglect, but it is vital to your muscle-building success.
The same thing goes for stress management. Are you always on the go? Always looking to do the next thing? For you taking some time to rest and recover is going to be crucial.
If either of these is off they will negatively affect muscle growth.
Are you training with the same rep range?
You can build muscle anywhere from 5-30 reps so long as the set is taken close to failure (about 1-3 reps).
You might be shooting yourself in the foot by training within a small rep range all of the time (for ex: 8-12 reps).
Changing your reps periodically can be helpful for these reasons:
- Some exercises and people lend themselves to a certain rep range.
Some people enjoy 6-10 reps and have muscle groups that respond best to that. Then your training should be mostly in this rep range.
But some exercises are better in the 10-15 rep range. Something like a back squat is going to be better in the 6-10 rep range than the 10-15 rep range. Whereas something like a bicep curl or lateral raise might be better in that 10-15 range.
2. Can keep your training engaging and interesting.
Staying in the same rep range can get boring. I have found that by changing it up periodically you can keep your training engaging and interesting. Which can help with adherence long term.
3. Can lower injury risk.
Periodically switching up rep ranges can help with lowering injury risk. Especially if you always lift on the heavier side (think 5-8 reps).
Can you improve your technique/focus/intensity during sets. AKA workout quality.
Many times people just try to add more weight and sets, but forget to fine-tune their technique.
Can you improve this?
Focus: Again people think they need to do more, but it simply comes down to them not focusing on the set at hand and instead they just fly through the set, are you staying focusing during your set and maximizing each rep?
I find that 9 times out of 10 clients dont need more stuff, they just need to improve what they are currently doing.
Intensity: Just like with the last two points, you probably dont need to do more, you just need to make sure you are training with the right amount of intensity.
What is that? Taking your sets around 1-3 reps from failure.
Too many people stay way too far away from failure and because of that they dont maximize their muscle growth potential.
Have you taken a deload or lower volume training phase lately?
If it’s been more than 8 weeks without a deload or 3-4 months without a lower volume training phase, you may just need to do less for a brief period of time.
Your body needs to recover. Not to do more.
I cant tell you how many times I have clients tell me in thepast they would’ve just kept pushing and either:
- Given up and stopped training
- Gotten hurt and had to stop training
All because they would just keep pushing it and wouldn’t take a week to dial it back.
Read HERE about a deload week.
You can also read HERE about the training phases we use with online clients for muscle growth.
Lastly, be patient.
Simple advice, but overlooked 99% of the time. After your first year of training muscle growth slows down, like a lot. You must be patient.
Muscle growth takes a long time and if you arent ready to be patient then you are going to always be looking for that next thing.
I have seen too many people give up way too soon because they always need something new and “fun”. Or they think they aren’t making progress.
You have to be willing to play the long game here.
If you are stuck and ready to take your training and nutrition to the next level, then our coaching program is for you. If you are interested check out our 1:1 online coaching program HERE.