“Complacency is the enemy of progress.” It’s so simple, yet so very true. These words ring loud in just about every aspect of life, but they reverberate most profoundly in the gym.
Going through the motions when pounding the iron will not lead to new gains in size or strength beyond the first year two of training, so it’s imperative to find new ways to step things up if you’re serious about taking your physique to the next level. Here are some suggestions to set you on the path toward gargantuan gains.
Think about how you train day after day and whether it’s brining you the gains you desire. Not at your peak yet? Well, then its time for a change. If you’ve been utilizing lower reps, try higher reps. Are you a low volume trainer? Give high volume a shot. Switch up your body part split. Move reps up, faster or slower. Tweak your grips and stances. Add in some exercises you never tried. There are so many great ways to revamp your regimen and shock your system—in a good way!
Perhaps you’d like to mix up your workout program but aren’t sure how. First, do you know your technique? It’s possible you have been doing some things sub-optimally. The resolution is simple: call in a good coach to help you along the way. In this day and age, even the most elite athletes in every sport utilize coaches. If you haven’t made significant progress in months, be sure to take advantage of the expertise, experience, and knowledge of a quality trainer/coach. Let he or she guide your every step and push you harder than you’ve ever gone on your own.
For sure there are guys and girls out there that overtrain, which can negatively impact overall progress. However, the greater majority of lifters actually undertrain in the sense that they do not push hard enough to force the body to adapt to enough stress to ignite hypertrophy. Start to regularly employ more intensity techniques like forced reps, drop sets, super sets, rest-pause sets, forced negatives, and others into your workouts to finally free yourself from the shackles of stagnation.
There’s no doubt that training with cables and machines can be both effective and fun, but when used almost exclusively, they can inhibit your physical progression. Complacency makes you lazy, which can draw you to the convenience of moving a pin rather than piling more plates onto a barbell. It can lure you to a cable pulley and away from a rack of heavy DBs. Get back to basics blasting and watch how fast you begin adding new muscle. Build your program around foundational lifts like bench presses, squats, deadlifts, dips, military presses, upright rows, leg presses, BB curls, skull crushers, and more. Soon, the sky will be the limit.
Sometimes something as simple as adding in some extra daily protein can lead to a leap in progress. Try consuming an extra 10 grams of protein per meal (for 5-6 daily meals), or fitting in an extra protein drink (about 50 grams) somewhere during the day or evening. When I feel like I am stagnating, I often find that feeding my body more protein provides me the extra anabolic boost I need.
If you have been hitting the iron solo, it might be time to grab a partner. A good training buddy with a similar mindset and goals can definitely help take your workouts to a new level by providing camaraderie, feedback, encouragement, and the ability to push certain movements (like bench presses, squats, leg presses) to the limit. Some of my best workouts have occurred while training with bigger/stronger athletes than myself, because I had to work that much harder to keep up.
BY ERIC BROSER