When it comes to training, there comes a point when everyone reaches a plateau. Getting stuck in a rut, feeling like you’re making no improvements can be frustrating, so when you physically can’t add any more weight or manage another rep, what can you do?
Fear not, all may not be lost.
Known as The 5 R’s of Intensity, subtle changes to your workout and exercises can mean you make gains without realising it.
We’ve already talked about the main two Resistance and Repetitions (how much weight and how many) but the other three are just as important and can make a real difference:
- Range of Movement – to ensure you’re getting the maximum out of each exercise, make sure you work to the full range of movement. On a bicep curl, this would mean full flexion upwards and then full extension downwards, so the weight finishes almost touching your thigh.
- Rest – reducing your recovery time between sets can increase the intensity of your workout (and shave off valuable minutes!) I know I’m not strict on my recovery times normally, but if I’m in a rush or need to feel like I’ve pushed harder, I get out the stopwatch!
- Rate – the speed at which you complete your reps can be extremely important. Usually I would use the speed of your breath to keep your speed to an even tempo throughout your workout (it also helps you to remember to keep breathing!), but slowing the reps down can increase the intensity. On a squat, you could go down for a count of 3 and then rise for a count of 3 – the movement is slowed right down, meaning your muscles are getting the full benefit and working for longer within the set.
So next time you feel like you’re reaching a plateau, try changing up your rest, your rate or your recovery and see how much of a difference it makes.
As always, if you have any questions or need any further advice please drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org