Sunday, 7 December 2014

Common Gym Mistakes and Simple Solutions to them - Part 13

13. Dealing with Training Plateaus and Overcoming Problems.

This could end up being the biggest topic; I will try and keep it short and simple. So you have been training well but for whatever reason your squat is stuck at 100kg. Every time you try and lift more you fail or can’t get to full depth. You can squat 97 kg fine so what do you do now?

First thing is to study your training log and look for clues. If you don’t keep a training log then do 20 burpees as punishment and go to WH Smiths and buy a notebook and start logging everything. If you don’t log your training then how do you know you have plateaued? Maybe you have inadvertently tried to lift too much too early? Maybe a training log would show you have actually been lifting too much volume so are simply tired. Maybe you have not been training your squat enough so it is no wonder you are failing. Log everything!!

So you were a good trainee and have logged everything and you log shows no obvious reason why you cannot squat 100 kg. There are now 3 likely reasons: Nutrition/rest, Form or a weakness.

So first are you eating enough and resting enough? You may have just had a week of night shift followed by a week of restless nights sleep. You may have been skipping lunch each day due to work etc.
What is your form like? Sloppy form will only allow you to go so far. Ask one of the Personal Trainer at your gym to check your form it wont cost anything. Or ask someone who can squat big at the gym (anyone can squat light properly, it’s a big difference once its 100kg plus). If the form is bad go back to basics, drop the weight, fix the form and build again.
Do you have a weakness? This will probably be revealed with your form. If you are tall you may be hamstring dominant so your quads could be weak. If you arse comes up before your back then you back/glutes are probably weak. If you knees buckle in then again its glutes or abductors and so on.

For the cardio guys/girls the same logic applies. Check your log, check your diet and rest, check your form/technique and check for weaknesses. I have met many competitive runners with tight/weak hamstrings, weak glutes who don’t appreciate how much this impacts their race performance. Some simple Kettle Bells swings once a week can take minutes off a 10 km race time for these people.

For any other problems keep it simple. Are you missing any part of the body when you train? This is common (for guys its legs, for girls it upper body) so stop missing bits and train the whole body. If you normally train with machines try free weights, if you normally use a barbell use dumbells. If you normally use a wide grip try a close grip etc etc.