How to Bust Through A Strength Plateau
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Serious head-turning strength is a rare thing in this world today.
Look around and you’ll see that most of the powerful lifters have one thing in common: they’re all very far from being lean and chiseled. Yep, that’s right! Most strong people today are overweight and lack really solid definition.
In fact, some people don’t even think it’s possible to be lean and strong! They think you have to choose between one or the other. Certainly these people have never been introduced to Kinobody and my training methods.
You see, when most people hit a strength plateau, the common answer is that you need to eat more food. Sure, if you eat tons of food, you’ll gain mass (muscle and fat), which will make you stronger.
But there are two things wrong with this approach:
- You’re going to end up looking worse since you’ll be adding a good chunk of fat.
- You will be sacrificing ‘relative strength’. Relative strength is really the key to being athletic and functional. Relative strength is how strong you are proportionate to your bodyweight.
Who cares if you can bench press 400 lbs if you struggle to do 10 chin-ups. Who cares if you can squat 600 lbs if you can’t jump or sprint with power and speed. With relative strength you support total athleticism and body mastery.
Now obviously none of this “relative strength” talk pertains to busting through a strength plateau. And you’re exactly right, but bear with me for a second; there’s a point to it all.
You see, your goal isn’t just to gain strength. Gaining strength is easy!
Instead, your goal is to build relative strength. You want to gain strength without getting fat in the process. This is something that I have mastered. And when you are building strength while staying lean, you will hit plateaus.
Eating more surely is not the answer. Therefore we need a new method to bust right through an exercise plateau. The answer, my friend, is called exercise rotation!
How To Break The Plateau With Exercise Rotation
Time and time again I’ll get questions on my blog that go a little like this:
“Hey greg. I’ve been following your program and I’ve been making great gains. I’m leaner, stronger and more muscular than before. The only thing is that my incline press has reached a plateau and I can’t seem to get it to budge. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.”
Let’s break this down! When you’ve been advancing on the same exact movement for several weeks, inevitably you will hit a plateau. What’s going on is that your body needs a fresh stimulus.
The more you keep doing the same exact exercise over and over again, the more exhausted you will become. In fact, you may even feel drained just doing a couple sets of that particular movement. Often times, if you keep trying to progress on a movement that has stalled, you will regress and get weaker.
You Need To Make A Change (ANY Change Will Do)
What is going on is that your central nervous system requires a new and fresh stimulus to continue making gains. This is literally as simple as making the slightest variation like changing your hand position or switching from barbells or dumbbells.
By changing up the variation of an exercise, you continue to build the same movement pathway and muscle groups, without getting stuck. You effectively take the brakes off your bodies limits. You will then start to make strength gains for several weeks.
That said, inevitably another plateau will set in. It is at this point that you want to go back to the original movement. And what do you know? You will be pleased to find out that you’ll be stronger than ever. Moreover, you’ll start to make progress on the movement again.
Here Is An Example Of Exercise Rotation
Here’s how it looks:
Let’s say you’re experiencing barbell incline bench press plateau. For the next 4-6 weeks, you’d work on incline dumbbell bench press. Once you hit another strength plateau, usually around the 4-6 week mark, you’ll go back to barbell incline press.
Let’s use another example. Let’s say you’ve hit a plateau on weighted chin-ups and you are struggling to even add a pound to the belt. Well you would then want to switch to pull-ups (hands facing away) for 4-6 weeks. You will definitely find pull ups very challenging at first, but as you advance on pull-ups, you will be improving your chin-up strength as well.
Therefore when you go back to weighted chin ups, not only will you be fresh, but you’ll continue to make strength gains for the next 3-6 weeks! (Yes – it’s really that effective.)
How To Use The Kinobody Exercise Rotation Tactics
For building the kinobody physique, there are six core movements that support a well developed and athletic physique.
For the upper body these are:
- weighted chin ups
- incline presses
- overhead presses
For the legs/lower-body, these include:
- single leg squats
- deadlifts or hang cleans
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