Keep It Interesting and Avoid Plateaus

Some fitness programs out there give a month’s worth of workouts; others may even go up to 90 days.  But what do you do then?  Rest a week and do it again?  One big problem with that:  you’re asking for a plateau.

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No Endless Loop

One of the key reasons that a program like ThriveFit is superior to many of the month-long of 90-day DVD sets is that not only does it come with 200 workouts (which should last you about a year), but once you reach the end, you’ll have the tools to create more workouts for yourself.  Once you understand the philosophy of varied programming using functional movements, the sky’s the limit for the number of unique combinations you can create.  This makes your workout more enjoyable and less monotonous  but also minimizes your propensity for plateaus.

Apply the Principle

A personal example of this happened to me recently in my 1-rep max squat.  Several months ago, I had plateaued at a squat of 315 pounds.  Traditional programming would have led me to simply keep doing squats week after week.  Instead, I intentionally built for myself workouts involving squats, but sometimes back squats, sometimes front squats, and sometimes thrusters.  Not only that, I also varied how many reps of squats I’d do and whether to do them heavy or light.  Examples of these types of workouts would include:

1. Three rounds for time of

2. As many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of:

  • 5 squats 255#
  • 25 pushups
  • 15 box jumps 24″

3. For time:

  • 21 thrusters 125#
  • 21 v-ups
  • 15 thrusters 125#
  • 15 v-up
  • 9 thrusters 125#
  • 9 v-ups

With this type of programming, I was able to train my squatting muscles without repeating the exact same movement in the same way week after week.  As a result, when I retested my max squat last week, I found I had jumped from my previous max of 315 pounds all the way up to 345!  While this won’t get me anywhere near the Olympics, it was a huge gain for me and a big victory in an exercise I’ve struggled with for some time.

Try It Yourself!

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out the ThriveFit page and learn the philosophy and techniques.  I look forward to hearing about your success reaching new heights by mixing things up!

To get where you’ve never been, do what you’ve never done

If you’re ever began a new fitness program, you’ve probably found great results (and the associated soreness ;)) in the first few weeks.  The amount of weight you can lift jumps up and up.  The time it takes you to run 400m drops by large margins.  But after a few months, you seem to stall out.  It can feel like you’re hitting a glass ceiling.  Where you used to gain 30 pounds per week on your deadlift, you now strain to add 5.  What’s going on??

To avoid these frustrating plateaus, it is essential that your fitness regimen be varied.  As Arnold Schwarzenegger explains in Pumping Iron, “you have to keep zee muscles guessing!” If you repeat the same program week after week, your body will adapt to the stress, and what challenged you last week won’t stress your body this week.  This is good in one sense, because it means that you’re making progress.  But it’s bad if you don’t vary your program at this point.  You’ll find yourself stalling out, leading you to frustration and tempting you to drop your fitness program altogether.

In order to provide you with the best long-term results, our ThriveFit program includes dynamic and varied programming.  We use a plethora of different functional movements, training your whole body as an integrated system.  This keeps your body perpetually “on its toes” so that your muscles are always adapting to new stresses–thereby avoiding plateaus and promoting a high rate of improvement.

As you progress through each workout posted in the ThriveFit section of the site, feel free to be creative with the exercises involved and rep and set schemes.  And don’t forget to post those scores to build the ThriveFit community–as we compete with each other, everyone is motivated to push their limits and we all win!