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.

Ken Jackson, IFBB Pro

Ken Jackson

Birthdate: July 12, 1976
Hometown: Clinton Township, MI
Height: 5´9 ¾˝
Weight: 245 lbs. offseason; 215–220 lbs. contest

17. Understand plateaus

“In bodybuilding, folks eat the same things every day at the same times, do the same workouts, the same preworkout drink,” Ken says. “It’s all repetitious and the problem is that repetition causes plateaus.”

18. Avoid plateaus

“I believe the body needs change constantly. My trainer, Neil Hill, constantly changes my diet. I’m not competing until 2013 but he’s putting me on a diet like I’m going to compete. Not because I’m overweight or fat but to get used to dieting, then he’s going to rebound me off that diet to help me gain more size. It’s to throw a curveball. The change will be huge for my body.”

19. Adapt to the scale

Adapt to scale

If you’ve been doing the same thing for a year with some success, and you’ve added a few pounds of quality muscle, your calorie requirements are probably different now. “What happens is that your body can shut down and stop responding because the status-quo number of calories aren’t sufficient because you’re bigger now. What you were doing a year ago might have worked but now that you’re bigger and stronger that diet may not have enough calories, protein or carbs to withstand the training.”

20. Pump up … with fat

“If you’re not getting a pump in the weight room, it’s probably more related to your diet and supplementation. More than likely, you’re low on carbs and dietary fat. You should never not get a pump in the offseason — your calories are high, your carbs are high, your fats are high and you’re taking your preworkout supps.”

21. Consider Y3T

Covered in MuscleMag before, the Neil Hill-conceived Y3T periodization program advocates training changes every week in three-week cycles. “Week 1 is 10–12 reps, Week 2 is 14–16 reps, then in Week 3 we’re doing giant sets and supersets where I’m doing 20–60 reps. So my body is being forced to adapt constantly. It’s produced a night-and-day difference in my body. It’s like built-in resistance to plateaus. It also helps reduce the risk of injury.”

22. Squat sparingly

Yes, it’s the king of all lower-body exercises but it’s not the only exercise. If your legs stop bellowing out, try a different version. “Use the front squat or hack squat to get away from strictly back squatting,” he says. “This hits your legs from a different angle, different positions, different range of motion, etc. There are other exercises that can make your legs grow. Guys get so caught up with wanting to squat 1,000 pounds but this isn’t powerlifting, it’s bodybuilding. So try to find what’s optimal to make your legs look the best.”

23. Strategize supps

Not all supplements are created equal and not all popular supps work with every body type. As with your training, finding the best strategy for your body is the best bet. “I’m sponsored by Gaspari. Fortunately, I was using their products long before then. None of their products have adverse effects on my body. Normal creatine blends, I have to cut them out for a whole month because of water retention. SizeOn keeps me nice and full all the way up to a contest and it helps keep my endurance up through workouts when my carbs are low. Anavite, I use twice a day. I found that those, which contain key aminos, keep me from breaking down excess muscle tissue while dieting.”

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