If you’re hitting a progress plateau with your workout session and can’t seem to lift any more weight, this doesn’t mean you’re on track to being stuck at your fitness level. There are many ways that you can add more intensity to your session, all of which should help you eventually lift more weight and bust through that strength plateau.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the top strategies to try yourself.
1. Drop Set
First, consider doing a drop set at the weight you currently are using. A drop set is where you perform your desired number of reps at your current weight and then drop the weight by about 5-10 pounds. Then perform a second set, drop the weight one more time, and finish up with a third.
This drop set technique will go a long way towards improving not only your strength, but your muscular endurance level as well.
2. Increase Your Rep Range
The next option is to just boost your rep range. If you are doing 5-6 reps, you can definitely take that up to 8-10 reps in an effort to eventually lift more weight overall.
Make sure when increasing your overall reps that you do not overdo your rep range. You still want to do a smaller amount of reps between 5-10. This is a common mistake that many people make when lifting, because they think it will build muscle faster. If you are able to do 15-20 reps that means you need to add more weight to get the appropriate amount of reps.
This is a very good cycle to move through as you continue to see progress. Work your way up the rep range and once you hit a specific point, drop the rep range back down again and try for the a heavier weight.
It’s also a great way to mix up your workout program.
3. Decrease Your Rest Time
Decreasing your rest time is the third strategy to boost your overall workout performance and bust through a strength plateau. By decreasing your rest period, you force your body to do more work in less time, which in turn will get you more fit than you were before.
Just always remember that you should never take your rest periods so short that you begin to sacrifice good form. Do that and you’ll be on a road to injury.
30 seconds should generally be the minimum used for any heavy, major compound exercise. Taking a break is ideal because it lets your body relax from the lactic acid buildup. During the 30 second break it is a good idea to hydrate to decrease the lactic acid buildup.
4. Use Different Equipment
Finally, also try and utilize different equipment. At times, the simple switch could be what will bust you out of the strength plateau and onto better results. For example, if you typically use the barbell press for chest, try doing a dumbbell press instead. Likewise, if you are trying to bust your plateau on the squat, you might transition to leg pressing for a short period of time. There are also a variety of machines you likely never use, like a rowing machine, elliptical or even a tread-climber.
This not only helps you gain strength, but can also help keep boredom at bay. Incorporating new exercise machines into your routine is a great way to continually challenge your body and keep it guessing as to what’s coming next.
So there you have the main ways to up the intensity of your workout program without adding more weight. Use these methods when you get stuck and you can still see progress moving forward.