Q: How can I break through a plateau?
A: If you are having trouble making gains on an exercise, you might have hit a strength plateau. Plateaus are commonly caused by a stale workout routine. Fortunately, you can break through a plateau by altering your program.
When you perform an exercise, your body adapts to the stress over time. If you fail to change the exercise, weight used, or sets and reps performed, you won't challenge your muscles beyond that point, and strength, size and power gains will be harder to attain.
To prevent a plateau, keep challenging your muscles by varying your workouts. Regularly change the exercises you perform and progress to a new workout phase every three to four weeks. (Find an example of a workout progression.)
If you are stuck on a plateau, one of the best things you can do is to take a week off from training and do some active recovery. This will allow your muscles to recover and get ready for a new phase of training.
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