Dog Days of Summer: Push Past Your Plateau
For many of us, the workout routine we work so hard to establish can lead to falling back to the same exercises week in and week out, ultimately resulting in a plateau. Understanding how you’ve ended up there can get you back on the upward swing.
Your physical therapist or chiropractor is here for more than just injury treatment. They can help you create a plan specific to your objectives and help you overcome these dog days of summer. Take a look at a list of common causes for plateau below that you can use to kick off the conversation and get back to achieving your goals.
1. You’re not lifting enough weight.
Once your body adapts to a workout or routine, it won’t continue to grow stronger unless you continue to challenge yourself. If you feel confident in your weightlifting technique, increasing the weight you lift is a straightforward way of making your routine more challenging. A common rule of thumb is to consider how you feel during the last few repetitions in your set—the last two or three reps in each set is a struggle.
2. You’re resting too long between sets.
Your muscles require two kinds of stress to grow stronger: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical stress is exactly what like it sounds like. It’s the physical stress of your muscles contracting against the weight of heavy things. Chemical stress is a bit trickier. When you exercise vigorously, your muscles will burn through the oxygen they typically use as fuel and turn to glucose instead, which is stored within the muscles. This chemical stress, however, can only occur in an oxygen-deprived environment—you know it as anaerobic exercise, and it’s key to increasing muscle power and efficiency. Shorter rest intervals, think 30–90 seconds for a typical high-repetition routine, can help maximize the chemical stress on your muscles.
3. You’re lacking variability.
Variety is as important in your exercise routine as it is anywhere else in your life. As your body gets used to a specific movement it becomes more and more efficient, meaning that you burn fewer calories doing the same amount of exercise. In addition to keeping your workouts exciting (and you from becoming bored), changing the way you move your body makes it work harder to adjust.
4. You’re off the other 23 hours of the day.
If you’re not paying attention to the choices you’re making outside of the gym, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Feeling your best means getting consistent and quality sleep each night, adequate water intake, good nutrition and regular movement throughout the day—not just during your gym session. Setting reminders to take a 10-minute walk or to drink a glass of water each day can help build good habits that will make moving better easier in the long run.
Your physical therapist or chiropractor can do more than treat your injuries. They can help you reach your fitness goals with a plan unique to you.
Ready to go? Book an appointment today.