Workout plateaus are a fact of life for every athlete. There’s really not much you can do to avoid them regardless of the routine you follow or how hard you work.
In a way, a workout plateau is a good thing. It means your body has adapted to the stress of the workout. Even so, I know that doesn’t take away the frustration that comes from working your tail off only to stay where you’re at.
Many people respond to a work out plateaued differently. Some get frustrated and quit only to pick up and try again later when their motivation has returned. Others, decide to ride out the plateau in the hope that the routine will magically start to work again. Lastly, there are those who recognize that a plateau means they need to make a change in their program.
Unfortunately, many who try to change their program do so in a haphazard way. They mess around with random adjustments or modifications in a blind hit-or-miss approach.
Neither of these options is very good. The best thing to do is to have a plan in place so when your workout starts to become stale you have your next training phase already planned out. This way, you know what to do, you know what’s going to be your next step, and you won’t get caught off guard when the plateau hits.
This is what periodization is all about. It’s simply the practice of planning several workouts in advance where each one emphasizes something that helps you continue to make progress.
There are many different ways you can plan a periodization schedule. Athletes often plan their routines around their competitions and off-season. Bodybuilders plan it around contests or photo shoots and emphasize different rep ranges depending on their needs and preferences.
Don’t make the mistake that I used to make and believe that periodization is only for the super serious exercise enthusiast. I know it can seem intimidating but it doesn’t have to be this way.
To keep it simple, I recommend making up three or four different workout plans with each emphasizing a particular characteristic of your goal. You can emphasize different skills, levels of resistance, intensity, or anything else you think is important for your goal.
From there, create a separate workout log for each workout. You can even Personally, I just keep a file on my Google Docs that has each of my Scoreboard Progression workout logs in it.
Once you have each of your workouts simply plan the order that you will practice them and roughly how much time you will spend with each workout. Some people, like to use a separate work out for each month so the Calendar gives them a reminder on when it’s time to switch things up. Others, like athletes, prefer to use events like a competition or given season as a time scale. You can also just go with a flexible approach and stick to a workout for as long as you feel you can make progress. Once it feels stale you switch over to the next workout in your schedule.
Using the strategy will help you avoid the three plateau scenarios I discussed earlier and keep you moving forward throughout the whole year towards your goal.