If it's been a few months since you first started exercising and you're not seeing the same kind of results that you did at the beginning, you may have hit a plateau in your exercise program. This happens to many exercisers at some point. In fact, unless you continually update your program to reflect the changes your body has already experienced, you are almost guaranteed to plateau.
Here are ACE's top 10 ways to continue progressing down the road to better health and fitness while avoiding dreaded plateaus.
- Consult a trainer
A personal trainer can help improve your form and make appropriate changes to your workout that can make a huge difference. If your workout needs an overhaul, a personal trainer can evaluate your progress and set you on the right track.
- Find a workout partner
Some of us just need another person there to inspire, encourage and motivate us to keep improving.
- Vary your mode of resistance
Try changing the type of resistance you use; for example, switch from machines to free weights or from bands to bodyweight exercises.
- Change the number of repetitions
If you always do 10 to 12 repetitions with the same amount of weight, increase the number of repetitions or, if it suits your goals, increase the weight and decrease your repetitions.
- Change the speed of movement
Lift weights more slowly while concentrating on moving through the full range of motion. Research has shown that this type of high-intensity training can be very effective.
- Incorporate advanced techniques
Alternative weight-training techniques, such as supersets, pyramids or breakdown training, can add variety to your routine and offer new challenges to your mind and body.
- Bump up the intensity for short periods of time
Add short, intense bursts of activity to speed up your heart rate. As your endurance improves, increase the length of your intervals.
- Try cross training
Instead of heading straight to the treadmill every day, take a spin on an exercise bike or spend some time on an elliptical machine.
- Change the scenery and terrain
If weather permits, take your workout outdoors — swim, go for a hike or simply explore your neighborhood on bike or foot.
- Take a break
If you're feeling fatigued, it's possible that your body actually needs some down time for repair and replenishment. If you suspect you may be overtraining, your best bet may be a few days of rest and relaxation.