There are few things more frustrating than putting in all your hard work and effort only to feel stuck and like you are not progressing.
Fortunately, progression takes many forms and by adjusting your focus from one area of progress to another you can both avoid some of the frustration that comes with a slow progression as well as help break through progression plateaus that inevitable occur.
Here are four ways to progress your training when you are feeling stuck in the gym:
Increase your repetitions. It’s not always about how much weight you can push around. Increasing your repetitions at particular weight ranges can also help progress your overall lifting. This is especially helpful for individuals who may bee recovering from injuries or have physical limitations that prevent them from pushing higher in weight safely.
Increase your weight. For individuals who are safely able to push more weight then reducing your rep range (aka you don’t have to do 10 of everything) while increasing your weight at the same time is a great way to build strength and progress in your movement.
Adjust your range of motion. One aspect of training that can prevent you from progressing is limiting your range of motion in a particular movement. Exploring the full range of your ability and even working on increasing your range of motion can be a great way to prevent against injury as well as progress in different movements.
Slow down. So many times I witness my online health coaching clients flying through their reps with such speed that it reduces the effectiveness of the movement for strength or muscle building. Time under tension is the amount of time your muscle has to work while completing a movement. By increasing this time under tension you maximize the effort your muscles have to perform the movement and gain greater results.
Remember that progression isn’t linear- most likely, there will be moments of very fast progression followed by blocks of slower progression as your body adjusts and catches up. Don’t be discouraged! Having multiple areas of progression that you can focus on means you can pivot and adjust your focus when progress slows in one area and instead focusing on another area where progress may be more quickly seen.
You may also find that by shifting your focus from time to time your progress is your area of top priority may actually increase faster.