We have all heard of the dreaded wall, maybe you have hit it at one time or another during your fitness journey. In the middle of those early morning gym sessions, lunchtime cardio, and late night carrot and peanut butter snacks it’s easy to become stagnant and plateau. This can be a source of frustration and demoralization. As any of my clients can attest, my favorite thing to say is ‘someone built the pyramids’. Any stress we place on the body i.e. strength or cardiovascular training the body will adjust. There is few that we can not do. It is a matter of patience and knowledge. The key to avoid plateauing is managing the variables of fitness.Assuming genetics, sleep, stress, and nutrition are accounted for, we are going to focus on the importance of program design.
Programing is a crucial part of avoiding the dreaded wall. The key to over coming the hump is periodization. It is the systematic planning of an exercise program to elevate performance and meet goals. Exercise programs should be changed or altered every 8 to 12 weeks. The National Academy of Sports Medicine identifies 5 phases of periodization within program design. The OPT model phases are divided into stabilization, strength endurance, hypertrophy, maximal strength, and power. The stabilization phase ranges from 3 or more sets and repetitions ranging from 12 to 20. Adversely, power phase’s ranges from 3 to 5 repetitions. Consistency facilitates adaptation and growth and change stimulates progression.
No one will ever know your body more than you do. you have been living in it for decades. With that said, you do not need to throw away your trusted exercise routine every 8 to 12 weeks. Instead, make adjustments; small changes such as grip, angle, and TUT every few weeks can change the way a isolated muscle group is activated and developed. Periodically adjusting the resistance on exercises is another great way of adjusting a routine to avoid plateauing. Try raising the weight for upper body exercises 2.5 to 5lb per week and 5 to 10lb for lower body; of course if the increase is too heavy keep the weight the same then try again the following week.
Program design can be complicated and intricate depending on the desired goal and time frame. Fitnessbyben.com offers an online training service which includes program design, videos, suggested nutrition plan, and a weekly service call to help reach your fitness and health goals. The certified trainer provides flexible scheduling to help support our clients’ programs regardless of the demands of daily life.