The following post is specific to those who have got to a point in their training and are looking to progress that little bit more. Progress in training is rarely a straight line of success, especially as you become fitter and stronger. As I say to a lot of our clients at Results FAST “You will never be more efficient than when you start a new training regime!” This is fundamentally due to the law of diminishing returns where as you become more expert extra gains are tougher and require more effort to achieve greater results from your training.
1.Decrease high repetition training and specifically work on your maximal strength levels. This is where we often find that a lot of people stay in bodybuilding/ toning (hate the word) rep ranges and cannot work out why they are not improving. Lift heavier, drop to between 3 to 5 reps and find out what strong feels like.
2. Drop your number of sets and try to get a few extra repetitions out. This is where we commonly find the “strength athlete” who is strong but struggles with anything over 3 repetitions as they have poor conditioning levels. Cycling in moderate loads of 5 to 8 repetitions when you have been training maximal levels at 3 repetitions and below is useful for de-loading joints and connective tissue which will take the brunt of a maximal phase of training.
3. Change the order of your training. Although 95% of the time we recommend that you partition strength work closer to the start of your workout than at the end it can be a good thing to mix things up in order to change the training stimulus and avoid staleness. Sometimes we do this with movement drills which can be misinterpreted as a extra conditioning but it works quite well to fix this at the start of a session. It also works well with our fat loss clients who always appreciate that little bit more pulse raising work.
4. Look for small improvements. It has been said to me before that a great gym will have more small plates than large ones. Why? As you become more advanced with your training it becomes harder to illicit improvements. Therefore every small improvement is a step forward. For example adding 5 pounds to a 100 pound bench press is a whole lot different to adding 5 pounds to a 200 pound bench press. Don’t force improvements just find small ways of adding load or advancing the complexity of the exercise.
5. Use ballistic methods of training. To often people get caught in the weight room without developing their athletic potential. Jumping, kettlebell drills and medicine ball work are accelerative in nature. Two things recruit muscle mass- load and speed. So rather than just trying to add more weight try adding more acceleration and impetus to your exercises by decreasing the load and moving quickly or by using more acceleration dominant exercises. Don’t get carried away though if it goes well (as seen below).