Breaking Through Plateaus - Erin Stern

September 12, 2014

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This is my first blog as a part of Team BetaTOR! I’m excited to share my workouts, meal-planning, and mindset with you!

In season or off-season, I never go into the gym without a plan. I make sure the plan is S.M.A.R.T.- specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This is a great way to stay motivated! It can also help us go from “exercising” to “training.” For the last few weeks, I worked mostly on aesthetics. I performed mostly compound movements, but kept the tempo of the lifts slow. I would do 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise. The slower tempo allowed me to focus on specific areas of muscles. I wanted to round out my shoulder caps, and add size to my lats, glutes, and calves. Slower tempo lifts can be taxing on the muscles, and I noticed I was able to squeeze more volume into my workouts by supplementing with BetaTOR!

With any program, I think it’s important to change at least one aspect of workouts every few weeks to avoid plateauing. Some examples of plateau-busters are:

  • Reversing the order of exercises
  • Changing muscle groups worked (push/pull, total body, or one muscle group)
  • Combining exercises in supersets or giant sets
  • Pre-exhausting muscles with isolation movements before compound movements
  • Changing the number of sets
  • Decreasing recovery time between sets
  • Changing the rep range and tempo of the lifts
  • Taking your training outside for a week – park, beach, pool, etc.
  • Incorporating conditioning into weight sessions – jump rope between sets or do bike sprints
  • Incorporating new exercises or disciplines – kettlebells, TRX, plyometrics, etc

I chose to change the rep and set range for the next few weeks, along with incorporating some Olympic lifts (cleans, snatch, jerks). Rather than 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps, I’ll do a pyramid of reps – 10, 8, 6, 4. With each set, I look to increase the amount of weight I lift. This is a great way to work on strength, without completely taxing the central nervous system with one-rep maxes. With the heavier weights, I try to increase my rest to 1:30 – 2 minutes between sets. I like the longer recovery as it allows me to lift heavier! More to come soon!

-Erin Stern, IFBB Figure Pro/USATF Competitor

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