Plateaus. Everybody hits a plateau or two in some aspect of life, whether it’s in your career, relationships, education or creative endeavors. Sometimes I get the plateau of writer’s bloc, but I get over that pretty easily.

Plateaus are there for a reason, and that’s to tell you to change things up. People do not learn or work at a constant increasing linear rate. That’s not natural. Growth and changes in life always come in bursts, but it’s up to you to create those bursts of development.

With strength training, it is no different. Having trained a number of clients, I’ve across these common training plateaus:

1) Sporadic/Infrequent Training- Technically, this is not a plateau at all, because a plateau indicates something has been started and maintained, but progess has leveled off. Someone who trains sporadically just needs to train regularly to see results, at least 2 times a week.

2) Inconsistent Training- This is different from sporadic training. Inconsistent training simply means you’re changing things up without rhyme or reason. The inconsistent trainee has exercise A.D.D. and does whatever s/he wants for that day or, in extreme cases, for that minute. This erratic type of training doesn’t build any foundation of strength. For this guy to see any results, he just needs to pick a program and stick with it.

3) Static Training- This is the exact opposite of inconsistent training. This guy does the same thing over and over, workout from workout. Even when this guy changes it up, he doesn’t stray far, because he can only think of one parameter to change up: the exercise.

In reality, there are many parameters to a program that can be changed up. For example, if you train with high reps, then you’ll gain by training with lower reps at heavier weight. Your muscles have to adapt to the higher tension of the weight by growing in size and thickness. Conversely, if you train with heavy weight and low reps, then you’ll gain size by training with higher reps. Your muscles adapt to the longer time under tension by getting bigger. So for the static trainer to blast through plateaus, he just needs to shake things up.