Anyone who trains regularly should understand that eventually there will come a time when you hit a plateau. It’s the phenomenon of your body completely adapting to your current workout routine, which in turn reduces muscle gain to an extreme.
The scientific name given to plateaus is homeostasis, discovered by Hans Selye. He came up with the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) theory, which, like Health Line states is “the three-step process that describes the physiological changes the body undergoes when under stress”. The three stages have been called alarm, resistance and exhaustion.
Alarm is your body’s first reaction to stress (all beginner lifters will experience this); Resistance refers to your body beginning to adapt to this new stress, a process that occurs over a long period of time. and exhaustion refers to when your body is no longer able to withstand the stress and you may end up depleting your physical, emotional, and mental resources.
It’s also important to remember that nutrition plays a large role in determining how much muscle you gain or how much body fat you lose. To gain muscle, not only must you train, but you must be in a calorie surplus. To lose fat, you have to be in a calorie deficit.
GAS does not only apply to physical fitness, it should be known, but in response to any type of stressful event. When it comes to fitness, however, when your body reaches the exhaustion stage, a good way to prevent this from happening or minimize its effects is to go through a week of rest or discharge. .
To prevent your body from adapting to the training program that you regularly impose on it, it is always recommended to use some variety and one of the most commonly advocated methods is to modify your training program regularly.
Check out Ron Jones’ workout plan tips in the video above
Fitness trainer Ron Jones recently took to TikTok to offer his two cents over your workout breakdown. He says for him he has a “bag of different exercises to grab throughout the week.”
“Every 6-8 weeks, completely change the split. This is why the idea of optimal exercises is a terrible concept. Throughout each week, I add and remove different exercises. The goal is the same for that day,” i.e. he will always perform a set of upper body exercises or leg exercises, depending on his goal for that day- there, “but I do it in a different way each time.
“Every 6 to 8 weeks, I totally change the split. This gives my body enough time to physiologically respond to this training split.
So, is changing your program every 6-8 weeks the best way to “shock” the body and break through the plateau?
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DMARGE reached out to Personal Trainer and Myprotein Ambassador and Transformational Coach Josh Williams to find out which method(s) he thinks works best.
Initially, Josh tells us, “It’s not so much about changing the exercises, but more about how the resistance is applied to those muscle groups. While switching up exercises can have its benefits, it’s not really the most convenient or sustainable way to train.
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“At the end of the day, there are only so many new exercises you can do, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The human body hasn’t changed for thousands of years. years and we already know which exercises work best for muscle growth.
With different fitness professionals having different opinions and there is no hard and fast rule, what do people do in the gym?
For Josh, he says, “People don’t change their workout structures enough. Most people find a routine they like, then stick to it consecutively, week after week.
“You get a weird person trying something new from a video they watched online, but for the most part they don’t implement any new training variables/protocols and therefore don’t maximize not his potential in the gym.”
When Josh refers to variables and protocols, he’s not just talking about modifying your program, but highlighting the idea of things like progressive overload or time under tension. These are just a few new training methods you can use to help boost your gains.
Josh explains this a little further, adding, “Incorporating new exercises has its benefits, on the contrary, there are fundamental exercises that you should never really remove from a client’s program.” Here’s looking at you, deadlift, back squat and bench press.
“The idea that changing exercises periodically comes from the fact that with unique movements the body is subjected to a new stress with which it is not familiar.”
“Theoretically this is true because it then forces the body to grow. However, there is a much more sustainable and practical way to confuse the body the same way without actually changing the exercises themselves.
So what does Josh suggest?
Progressive overload is essential
“The human does not want and does not care to grow. Human adaptation is a huge component when it comes to people hitting plateaus and not progressing.
“You have to force the body to grow by confusing it, and the only way to achieve consistent muscle growth is through progressive overload and we don’t necessarily need to change exercises to achieve that. ”
“What we focus on with our clients at Limitless Warrior is implementing new training protocols that stimulate muscle receptors by applying resistance in a unique way that, in turn, forces muscle growth. ”
“Some examples of this are HVT (High Volume Training), GVT (German Volume Training), Tabata, TUT (Time Under Tension) and many more. We do this every 4 weeks as some people will adapt more quickly than others, so we prefer to be careful to achieve full program optimization.
“That way we don’t complicate things too much and we don’t run within the limitations of equipment, mobility risks and we can focus on injury prevention by keeping things safe and simple, but effective. ”
“At the end of the day, you can easily achieve continued muscle growth by performing the same exercises, they just have to be implemented in a unique way.”