"Stuck in a Rut" (Blog #28)
Over the past couple of weeks I've had a few very experienced lifters tell me that they felt like they were in a rut and didn't know how to get out. Now we've all been there before and there are two main ways to bust out of these platues. The first thing I would look at is the clients training program; their intensities, how many days a week they're training and their volume. Many times people that hit that wall are usually over training, not undertraining. Signs of over training are nagging injuries, poor sleeping habits and feeling unmotivated to hit the gym. If this is the case, a week off of training is the way to go. This will let your body heal up and allow your CNS (central nervous system) to regenerate. During this week off you should focus on getting great sleep, very clean nutrition and stay lightly active. Things like walking in the park, or swimming at low intensities or even taking a bike ride will work. When you go back to training you will feel fresh and ready to rock...
The other reason people hit Plateau and get stuck in ruts is because they under train and/or are doing the same exercises with the same weight and the same amount of reps and sets for too long. This scenario is most common because humans like staying in their comfort zones. Here is where it's vital to increase your intensities and/or change up your routines. Routine is synonymus with rut, it's easy to get caught up doing the same old training you've always done but this will ensure that you don't get stronger, leaner and will keep your body looking the same. One of my favorite ways to bust through a rut is to blast your body with intensities and volume that you're not used to for a couple of workouts. Now when I say this I mean pick a couple of "big bang," multi-joint exercises and pair them up with each other and do high volume. Of course, your form still must remain PERFECT or you will get hurt!
Rut Buster #1: (this will vary from person to person)
Sumo Dead Lift with Barbell
You will do "heavy weight" that you can do approximately 8 Reps of on each exercise and do 10 Sets of Each. With he DL make sure 8 reps is brutal to get, but doable. The same with chin ups, if you can do 10+ chin ups make sure you load the chin up (weight vest) every set. And with the walking lunges, hold dumbbells heavy enough to make 8 reps (each leg) brutal. You will do the DL, Chin Up and Lunges then rest for about 2 minutes and repeat 10 Rounds. You must make sure your form is impeccable on every rep and every set. This will be a lot of volume and probably cause a lot of soreness, but like I said, it's only for a few workouts to change things up. *Use with caution.
Rut Buster #2:
Barbell Front or Back Squats
Bench Press (barbell or dumbbells)
Again, your Intensities (weights) must be heavier than you're used to...10 Rounds!
(A little More advanced) Rut Buster #3:
Barbell Cleans (nothing over 5 Reps for safety)
Kettle Bell Swings
Over Head Barbell strict press
This rut buster #3 is for really advanced lifters. Make sure the cleans are lower reps, but the KB Swings and Press can be in the 8-15 rep range. 10 Rounds!
No timer is nesseccary for these workouts. Your main objective is safety first! Work hard, heavy and fast with flawless form and after you complete a Rut Buster you may want to take a day or two off and then go back to another one. After a few of these you will ideally be rejuvinated and on your way to getting stronger and leaner again. Repeat every couple of months.