Plateaus happen to all of us. You work so hard so lose weight, gain muscle, lean out, get more flexible, get stronger but suddenly you can’t seem to make a bit of progress. This is pretty normal and if it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. So you push a little harder, maybe training lifting heavier, or running further, or eating less…..after all, you have to bust through this plateau somehow right? Here’s where the bus bench VS. park bench concept comes into play.
Admittedly, I stole this idea from a much smarter man than myself. Dan John originally came up with this bus bench, park bench idea, but I liked it so decided that it needed to be shared. See, training heavy every day sounds like a great idea. Who wouldn’t be psyched if they hit a new PR every week after all? The reality is this just doesn’t happen. Your body likes rest just as well (if not
better) than it likes exercise. This is where the Park Bench workout comes in handy. See, when you’re sitting on a park bench, you’re watching, relaxing, calm, collected, not in a hurry to get any where. Some days in the gym are park bench days, where you aren’t quite feeling up to par but you know it’s better to do something than it is to do nothing. So you go in the gym on Monday and load up the bench (because Monday is chest day, remember?) and everything feels heavy. This is the day we’re talking about. It’s OK to have an off day. Go through the motions, use 50% of what you usually use. Mastering the movement is more important than mastering the weight. Give yourself a break, your body will thank you for it.
Sitting on a bus bench on the other hand is a completely different experience. You have some where to go, you’re probably in a hurry, wondering “when in the world is that bus going to get here?!?!?”. These days can be fun days. These are days when you load 405 for deadlift and it flies off the floor. Push it a little bit here, but be smart. Bus bench days should come along a lot less than park bench days. They are hard on your central nervous system and take time to recover from. Trying to have a bus bench day every day will put you into adrenal fatigue and over training, when your numbers start to go backwords.
Don’t take this as a call to stop lifting heavy. That is crazy talk, I enjoy a nice PR day as well as the next guy. If you don’t want to break down over time, listen to your body. When it tells you not to push it, DON’T PUSH IT! When it tells you it’s time to go, IT’S TIME TO GO! Feel free to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.