Seth Godin is a great writer, business man and motivator. In his book The Dip, he explains how it is important for entrepreneurs, investors, business men and women of all kinds to work through the dip. The dip is when everyone gives up, when the majority of those who are pushing forward fall back. The dip is when things get hard, once you’ve started a new project, which is fun and exciting, and suddenly it becomes complex, too hard to handle. This is when most of us quit, right before it really starts to pay off. Well, we can say the same thing for fitness, and I’m here to tell you that training through the dip is rewarding and pays off in the end…you can’t let the resistance win.
It happens to anyone who is new to resistance training, dieting, running or any other part of fitness and to those who have been training for years. There are dips everywhere. I like to call them plateaus. If you work long enough you’re bound to hit one, no matter what age or how perfect your routine or diet is, you will plateau. I see it every day. If you’re new to training, you will get hit with the dip the hardest, because you don’t see it coming. When you start your body is adapting, your strength is going up, gains are coming without a problem, your body is changing and suddenly it stops. You’re not sure why, you’re doing the same thing you did last week and the week before that and the week before that. It’s worked good so far, so why the plateau? Simple adaptation.
See, your body is a lot more complex than you give it credit for. Every time you train it is changing, maybe not at an obvious level, but at some level it is changing. So when you throw the same routine at it for a long period of time it will adapt and the gains will quit coming. So the objective at that point is to figure out what can be done to push through this plateau and there are a few different variables that you’re able to change:
1) TRAIN YOUR LEGS!!!-Ok, so for some of you this is a no brainer and you lucky few can skip this section, but for those of you who think that running constitutes working out your legs, please continue to read. You see, incorporating squat variations, deadlift variations and other bilateral and unilateral lower body movements has this funny way of making the rest of your body stronger. Try to perform a simple goblet squat with a decent amount of weight and tell me that you just feel it in your legs. Doing these exercises takes strength and stability throughout the core and upper body and as such will develop strength in the musculature that is helping with the movement. Don’t worry, it helps with fat loss also.
2) Sets-Instead of 3 sets of an exercise, do 2 sets and add an exercise or 4 sets and take away an exercise. Don’t make this complex.
3) Reps-Instead of doing pyramids all the time, do sets of 5 or sets of 8, or if you’re doing sets of 5 try doing a pyramid, 10 8 6 4. Again, this isn’t complex, it can be a very simple change.
4) Exercise Selection-I understand that bench press is fun. It feeds your ego and you get to tell all your buddies that you finally hit 300…great. But try something different. Not only will you continue to move forward, you will save your shoulders from a lot of pain in the future.
5) Rest-Maybe you’re training too much or maybe just training one movement too often (hello, bench press!!). Give yourself time to recover and don’t go full speed ahead every day. Just remember, some days it’s OK to grease the groove. Also, get plenty of sleep. Sleep is when your body really recovers, replenishing hormones.
These are a few easy ways to keep yourself training through the dip. It may be changing your reps or exercise selection, but find out what works for you and get the weight moving….safely of course, and remember to KISS (keep it simple stupid). If you have any questions feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and have a great day!