33 Ways to Crush a Plateau

33 Ways to Crush a Plateau

Stuck in a rut with no idea how to get out? Let our expert panel help you learn the telltale signs of an approaching plateau and teach you how to bust through it with ease to keep your big-muscle gains on track.

Brian Yersky

Brian Yersky

Birthdate: Jan. 13, 1982
Hometown: Brookfield, Ohio
Height: 5´10˝
Weight: 295 lbs. offseason, 250 lbs. contest

9. Size up with calories

Not seeing any movement on the scale? No problem. Eat all you can … then eat some more. “If I’m trying to gain size and hit a plateau, the first thing I do is add calories,” Brian says. “I’ll take a gainer shake or add a couple more ounces of food to each meal. I’ll also add Met-Rx Xtreme Size Up Shakes and more red meat.”

10. Rest, rest, rest

Hour-long weight sessions, everyday cardio sessions, meal planning, work, school, and family — it’s no wonder our bodies eventually decide to shut down. One must-try strategy is to rest, Brian says. “Rest is pretty much the key. The old standby is that you’ve got to sleep to grow. I try to get 8–9 hours a night and occasionally I get a mid-afternoon nap. In my program right now, I have two dedicated rest days when I’m not training at all.”

11. Decompress

Stress hormones can destroy a bodybuilder’s physique. “Eliminate all stress!” he says. “Don’t worry about it too much. If you’re not gaining weight, it’s calories. If you’re not getting stronger, you need to break down more fibers. These things aren’t simple to get through but the reasons they happen are usually pretty simple. You don’t want to stress. Cortisol levels go up and everything goes to hell.”

12. Train through it

For some, rest is the only viable option. Other times, you may just need a change of pace. “I’ve never taken much of a break. If you haven’t been training that long, just try to maybe train through it but switch things up a bit. Mix in some variations on what you’ve been doing and that could get you back on track.”

13. Strength up with training

If you’re training strictly for strength, then your main shortcomings may be in your routine. “If my main goal is to get stronger, I change what I’m doing in the gym. I start mixing in forced reps or heavy negatives to get those low-rep poundages up.”

14. Shoulder up

Shoulder up

If your shoulders are stalled out, do what Brian does. “Initially, I bust through it with more strength-specific training — heavy negatives with the Smith machine is a good option because it’s safe. If I’m trying to add more detail, I’ll try to use less weight and implement more cable work targeting specific heads to really isolate.”

15. Reduce risk

Plateaus are inevitable if you train long enough. But you can reduce how often they occur by keeping your training fresh. “You want to get more variation into your workout,” he says. “The more you do the less likely you are to stumble. Every other week, do something different. One week it’s squats, the next it’s leg press, the next it’s the Smith-machine squat. Grow yourself from all angles.”

16. Supps to keep

“To get me through my training lows, I try to make sure I’m consuming creatine, glutamine and aminos year-round.”

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