It’s a great question.
Your main focus of training is ‘adaptation’. Adaptation is one of the single most misunderstood terms when it comes to exercise. Many people think that adaptation and stagnation are the same thing.
And while this is true in some sense, realize and remember that adaptation is exactly what we want.
Every time we go to the gym to train we create a specific stress on our nervous system, muscular system, and skeletal system.
From this stress we want to obtain adaptation to allow us to be ready for future stress.
Your Body Wants to Survive
Let me put it to you as easy as possible. I really want you to understand how the human body works:
Your body is one big survival organism. All your body wants is to survive.
Your body doesn’t know if you’re in the gym or outside in the woods doing labor or hunting animals. So when your body is exposed to a certain amount of physical stress, okay? This can be carrying a big boulder in the woods or a dumbell in the gym.
Your body will think:
”Hey I’m in an environment where I will be exposed to a certain amount and a certain type of stress”. Okay?
So, your body wants to adapt to that stress so it can overcome that stress easier in the future, to make survival easier. Because your body doesn’t know if that same amount and type of stress will come again in the future. So it assumes that you are in an environment where you will be put under this stress in the future again, just for the sake of survival. So your muscles will then grow bigger and stronger.
Does that make sense? Does it make sense how your body adapts to your environment? If not, let me know and will explain it again.
So, back to adaptation.For someone that is trying to build muscle, our adaptations are actually our goal outcomes. Which is increased muscle size (hypertrophy) and strength. A bigger, stronger muscle will be better equipped to handle that training stress in the future. So what we want is adaptation. What we don’t want is to stop adapting.
How To Overcome Training Plateau’s
So, how do you overcome training plateaus, because hitting a plateau is literaly your body that stops adapting. Right?
Training plateaus will happen to everyone, including myself, but how do we minimize them?
Well, Much in the same way we would increase calories during a weight-gain plateau.
We will increase the amount of training stress to stimulate further adaptation.
And just like our macronutrient intake, we should be able to tweak variables and workloads in order to achieve our our goals.
And while going into the gym and completely destroying a muscle group can get you results, it’s usually by proxy and not by a structured program.
And Alot of times then we are doing much more than is required or optimal for long-term progress.
Not only losing long term progress but only risking injuries.
So that’s what we don’t want, right?
”Stimulate, Don’t Annihilate”
We want to stimulate the muscles just enough to adapt and grow, we don’t want to completely tear up everything.
”Stimulate, dont annihilate” as 8-time Mr.Olympia Lee Haney used to say.
As we get bigger and stronger we must continue to stress our body to stimulate adaptation.
You can create additional workload by adding weight to the bar, but increasing the total volume is an often overlooked concept.
We must do more work over time in a controlled and sustainable program.
At the same time, we want to milk as much progress as we can out of a given amount of work before we add more volume.
Top level bodybuilders and powerlifters may spend hours and hours in the gym each day across multiple sessions.
In most cases this isn’t because they are trying to get rapid results, it’s because they require that workload to keep progressing.
We must do more work over time. Doing more work is called: Progressive overload
I’ve said this many times before: Progressive overload is the most important thing to keep improving your body composition and building skeletal muscle tissue.
If you are not consistently exposing your body to new stress, then there is no reason for the body to adapt.
If there’s a stress-free environment your body has no reason to adapt, like I explained at the start.
You need to push yourself to a point where you haven’t gone in the past, and only after that happens, will your muscles be forced to grow back bigger and stronger.
When you go into the gym one of your main priorities should be progressing from your previous workout, especially on multi-joint exercises like presses, rows, squats and deadlifts.
It’s crazy to see how many lifters nonchalantly lift the same weight for months, even years, on end and (not surprisingly) they look the exact same now as they did on day one.
But don’t worry. if you keep following my advice you will not become that guy or girl.
Or if you are that guy or girl already, I’m here to drag you out and to help you get the body that you deserve, okay?
Forms of Progression
Keep in mind that progression comes in many forms, such as:
* adding weight to the bar
* increasing repetitions
* increasing time-under-tension
* increasing number of sets per exercise
* lifting the weight faster
Thank you so much for your support. I appreciate it!