How to Bust through a Workout Plateau

It is a popular opinion that resistance training has to be boring and terribly hard to be effective. This is false information. Of course, there are those days where we don’t feel like working out. Exercising can get stale! Don’t worry…I’ve got you covered. The best way to combat this dreaded staleness is to use varied programming also known as periodization.

Periodization training is designed to add variety, spark interest, break plateaus and minimize risk for injury. This is how elite athletes and competitive bodybuilders train for their sport. This is also a highly effective way for the rest of us to get the most out of our workout sessions.

Women who desire optimal body composition, while minimizing the risk for injury, will benefit from this type of training.

Periodization involves training in phases.

Each phase has a goal or an objective. Using different phases works extremely well to maximize the benefits of training while minimizing the risk of injury and boredom. Removing boredom is a pivotal factor in terms of remaining consistent in the gym. Remember, consistency is the most important factor in making progress.

For newbies, the same workouts with the same movements will work initially, but in a short time repeating the exact same workout will lead to a plateau and eventually not even sustain the plateau.

Changing up the focus and format of workouts with periodization can go a long way for maintaining interest, consistency, and ultimately progress. Nobody wants to spend hours in the gym and have nothing to show for it.

If you have visited this site before, you know that exercising to improve endurance, strength, and muscle maintenance/gains are imperative after age 35.

Think of endurance as keeping up with your kids/grandkids and taking flights of stairs with ease. Endurance is also reflected in excellent posture and core stabilization without back pain. Listen up endurance athletes, your core stabilizers and upper body need to have mucho-endurance as well to minimize your energy expenditure and fatigue during your marathon or triathlon

Folks over 35 also need to focus on the strength and mass of muscle tissues because we naturally lose muscle mass beginning at around age 30. Did you know we can lose up to 5-7 pounds of muscle mass per decade? This translates into passive fat storage or gaining weight without increasing calories…Ouch!

If we are being honest, we also want to improve our appearance, as well as maintain or improve our cardiovascular health. Right?!

We cannot accomplish all of these objectives at once, because there is no single workout to achieve all of these objectives.

Now that we know how beneficial periodization is, let’s get to using it.

In general, there are two types of periodization.

In block periodization, the phases last about a month.

In undulating periodization, the workout variables are changed up weekly. This is what we have been using in our boutique studio, for several years.

Our clients prefer weekly changes for several reasons:

  1. It helps tremendously with boredom.
  2. The changes allow them to power through the weeks that are not their favorites, because they know that the next week will be different.

For training the over 40 female population, we can program workouts to change often enough so that we are taxing our muscles in one way or another. Varied reps, sets, weights, and rests are all effective parameters to switch up. Changing these parameters weekly with undulating periodization keeps the sessions interesting and effective.

In terms of midlife fat loss and dieting, we can think of a periodization analogy as well. Eating for fat loss is not something that is  NOT as effective as a life long strategy. Eating for fat loss will work initially. Once the body perceives itself to be in chronic starvation mode, a plateau or worse will result. 

Are you interested in trying out undulating periodization for yourself? Click here to learn more about how you can sit in on a virtual class as I work with a small group of women in my private studio.

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