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HOW TO BREAK FITNESS PLATEAUS LIKE A PRO

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Stuck in a rut? If you exercise regularly but can’t figure out how to smash plateaus, you’re in the right place. This plan, by IFBB fitness pro Fiona Harris, will trim inches off your thighs, tone and sculpt your arms, perk up your glute-ham tie-in, and create defiinition like your Insta-idol @NicoleMWilkins. By manipulating variables such as intensity and frequency, and incorporating different training techniques—like heavy/low-rep and light/high-frequency body-part splits, plus cardio, HIIT, and plyometrics—you will keep your body progressing right to the top.

RECOMMENDED WORKOUT WEEKLY SPLIT
  • DAY 1: Lower-body workout 1, heavy weights; 35 minutes steady-state cardio
  • DAY 2: Chest/shoulders, StepMill HIIT cardio
  • DAY 3: Plyometric whole-body workout, rower HIIT cardio
  • DAY 4: Rest
  • DAY 5: Lower-body workout 2, high-volume 35 minutes steady-state cardio
  • DAY 6: Back/arms, treadmill HIIT cardio
  • DAY 7: Rest

PLATEAU-BUSTING TECHNIQUE 1: DO TWO TYPES OF LOWER-BODY WORKOUTS PER WEEK

Woman In A Gym Doing A Back Squat

Edgar Artiga

Harris recommends one day of heavy lifting and one day of higher volume, as well as pairing plyo with traditional lower-body moves. Mixing high-rep training and plyometrics with heavy lifting helps provide a new stimulus to muscles.

Lower body

Workout 1 (heavy weights)

  • Leg extensions: 1½ reps (1 rep from full flexion to full extension, then ½ rep to halfway down, then up to full flexion); 1 warmup set; 7 sets of 12–15 reps.
  • Barbell back squat: 5 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Leg press: Narrow stance (feet/ knees together) 4 sets of 10–12 reps.
  • Hack squat: Wide stance, toes pointed out, 4 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Lying hamstring curl: 1½ reps; 4 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Barbell hip thruster: 4 sets of 10–12 reps.
  • *Rest 45-60 seconds betweetn sets

Workout 2 (high volume)

  • Leg extension superset with pop squat:** 1 warmup set; 4 sets of 12–15 reps/20 reps
  • Smith machine sumo squat with pulse: 4 sets of 15 reps.
  • DB reverse lunge to curtsy squat: 4 sets of 12–15 reps per leg.
  • Single-leg cable hamstring-curl superset with bent-knee kickback: 3 sets of 15 reps/15 reps.
  • Abductor machine superset with side-walking squat with resistance band: 4 sets of 15 reps/10–12 reps each direction.
  • DB walking lunge: 3 sets of 20 reps per leg.
  • *Rest 30–45 seconds between sets
  • **Superset: Do one set of each move with no rest in between sets.

PLATEAU-BUSTING TECHNIQUE 2: FULL-BODY PLYOMETRICS

Woman Jumping Rope Outside

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Complete entire circuit with no rest between exercises. Rest 2–3 minutes, then repeat, starting with five minutes of cycling. Do entire circuit three times. Try to improve the number of rounds with each workout

  • Stationary cycling: 5 minutes at moderate intensity.
  • Burpee with jump: 15 reps.
  • Alternating quick-reverse lunge off low step with light DBs: 20 reps per leg.
  • Jump squat: 20 reps.
  • Walk-out pushup: (Bend forward, walk hands out to pushup position, do 1 pushup, and reverse.): 10 reps.
  • Mountain climber: 25 reps.
  • Low side-walking squat: 15 reps stepping to left, then 15 reps stepping to right.
  • Bicycle crunch: 25 reps per side.
  • Skier jump side to side: (Left/right equals 1 rep; do total of 10 reps.)
  • Jump rope: 100 skips.

PLATEAU-BUSTING TECHNIQUE 3: HIIT CARDIO

Women Gym Class

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Incorporate these HIIT cardio workouts in two or three of your cardio sessions per week to shock your body and kick your fat burning into high gear.

Step mill: Warm up five mins. at moderate speed. Then do intervals of 45 sec. high and 1 min., 30 sec. low to recover. In first high interval, increase speed to where you are just able to keep up with stairs without holding railings; recover. Second high interval: increase speed, bend over, and place hands on platform above stairs; recover. Third high interval: increase speed, skipping every other step; recover. Do circuits for 25 min., then finish with five mins. cooling down at moderate speed.

Treadmill and plyometrics: Warm up for 5 min. at 6% incline, 4.0–4.2 mph. Do intervals of one min. plyometrics (choose from moves below) and then two mins. Recovery on treadmill (6% incline/4.0–4.2 mph). Continue for 25 mins., then finish with five mins. cool down.

Plyo moves:

  • Jump squats
  • Jump switch lunges
  • Pop squats
  • Burpees alternating reverse lunges
  • Mountain climbers

Rower: Warm up for five mins. steady-state rowing. Then do burpee intervals (with or without jump) followed by two mins. steady-state rowing: Row two mins., then do 10 burpees; row two mins., then do 15 burpees; row two mins., then do 20 burpees; row two mins. Start again with 10 burpees and continue the cycle for 25 min.; cooldown five mins.

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