Your body was made to adapt to regular stressors, which is why you have to adapt your workouts instead to keep your body working hard. Doing the same exercises over and over again risks more than just a plateau, you could also be risking a repetitive stress injury.
Luckily, it’s not hard to change up your routine to start seeing results again. Here are a few ways to get off of your plateau and back into great results like weight loss, muscle gain, and increased strength and agility.
If you have just started a new workout regime that seems to be working for you, you can stick with it for eight to twelve weeks while still seeing results. It takes up to eight weeks for the brain to figure out how to respond to the exercises, though it could be less depending on how often you work out.
Then you’ll start seeing muscle gain for approximately four weeks before the results start to plateau. You don’t necessarily have to scrap your whole routine if there’s a workout style you really like, you can adapt it and add to it to make it more challenging.
If you really love your current moves, consider adding a few more minutes to each workout. Try adding an extra two to five minutes to cardio workouts and runs (any more than that will be pushing it.)
Changing your workout routine often will help to avoid a plateau.
You can opt to add new exercises to your routine every two weeks (like adding lunges and pull-ups to your usual squats and push-ups,) or you might consider performing different types of exercises on different days (like rock climbing on a Monday, a cardio class on a Wednesday, and yoga on Friday.)
Changing your workout will work different muscle groups, giving you a more complete workout and allowing some groups time to rest while you work others. Some gyms, like Primal Fitness, change their classes often to keep them challenging, which makes it simple to adapt your routine – your instructor has done it for you! Ask your gym how often their classes change or if they offer the same workout in every class.
Make sure to include both weight-bearing and non-weight bearing exercises. Non-weight bearing exercises are ones where you don’t have to support your own weight, like swimming and water aerobics (where the water makes you weightless) or seated exercises like bike riding (stationary or otherwise) or rowing.
If you’re weight training, once you’re able to complete twelve reps with a certain weight, increase the weight by five to ten percent and see how many reps you can do. Aim for eight reps and work up to twelve. Once you can complete twelve reps easily, increase the weight again.
For your mental strength as well as physical, consider adding a sport or activity that will make you work your grey matter through problem solving. Rock climbing is great for this since you’ll be planning your next hold strategically. Tennis also requires lots of strategy and problem solving.