Are you stuck in a rut?
Not losing weight, not seeing any gains in your strength or in your performance?
Having you been doing the same old exercise routine over and over?
Are you bench pressing or squatting the same weight you were lifting six months ago?
One basic training principle states that when the same stress is continually applied to the muscles over time, the muscles adapt to that specific type of stress and your body becomes more efficient. However, in this case more efficient at a particular exercise is not necessarily a good thing.
Many times plateaus in strength, fat loss, or performance is due to your body adapting to a particular exercise or exercise routine. Keep reading to find out how to break the plateau.
If you’re trying to lose weight or gain strength, you should not frequently repeat an exercise, because your body will adapt, the exercise will become ineffective, and you will no longer see results.
Listed below are 5 killer workouts you can do to “reboot” your body, stimulate strength gains, increase fat loss, and break out of your training plateau.
1. Workout with a weighted Rucksack
Any type of weights will work, however, I personally like making a “Sand Pill.” Sure you can buy a weighted vest, but why spend $100 when you can make a sand pill for under $4.00. In addition to saving money, the sand pill is unstable, which adds to you workout as you try to stabilize it during your workout.
Go to your local hardware store and get some play sand, equal to 20% or more of your body weight, and a sand bag. Put the sand in the sand bag and wrap the entire bag in duct tape. Form the wrapped bag into a small square and you have your sand pill. It is heavy, but also soft, so it will not dig into you like metal weights.
Now, put your sand pill in your backpack, and go do your normal workout. You will be amazed how much harder your exercises will be when you’re doing them with 40-60 pounds of weight on your back.
If you don’t have a typical workout, do jumping jacks, pushups, flip a tire, pull a tire around a track, or do a crossfit workout while wearing your sand pill.
2. Combine cardio sessions with strength training
Instead of just going for a run, add strength-building sessions into your run. A combined workout might look something like this:
Run for ½ mile
Stop and do 20 burpees, 20 push ups, and 20 air squats
Run for 1 mile
Stop and do 20 lunges, 20 standing long jumps, and 50 side to side jumps over a stick
Run 1 mile
Stop and do another 20 burpees, 20 push ups, and 20 air squats
10 min run on the treadmill
20 reps of bench press, seated rows, and leg extensions
20 min on a stationary bike
20 reps of leg press, clean and press, and calf press
20 min on the elliptical
3. Run or hike while carrying something heavy… and I mean HEAVY!
The heavy weight can be water jugs, your sand pill, a tire, a log, a large rock, a bucket full of cement – the weight can really be anything. The key here is to make the object you’re carrying really, really heavy.
You should only be able to carry the weight 20 to 100 meters before you have to drop the weight. Also, the more odd-shaped or unstable the object is, the better it is. Carrying an odd shaped object will force you to carry the weight in a variety of different ways, requiring you to use different muscle groups as your shift the object.
One of my favorite workouts – I grab two of those 40 gallon water bottles, filled with water, and then walk around my neighborhood and up and down the bleachers at the high school for an hour or two. Heck, anyone can simply run up and down bleachers. Let’s see you do it while carrying 80 pounds.
Who cares about the weird looks, when I’m getting one hell of a workout!
I can barely move after one of these 2 mile hikes carrying my water jugs – you will love it.
4. Add variety to your workouts
Most people tend to do the exercises they like and avoid the exercises they don’t like. This often leads to repeating the same exercises, and that’s a bad thing, as I already mentioned.
Want to make sure you never do the same workout twice? Write each of your exercises down on a small piece of paper: 100 push ups, 50 turkish get ups, 100 air squats, 50 pull ups, 100 medicine ball throws. Then, drop the pieces of paper in a hat. When you are ready for your workout, randomly pick several exercises from the hat. This is a fool-proof way to add variety to your workouts.
5. Run with your sand pill
The sand pill you made is not just for your backpack, you can also take it for a run. Grab your pill and go for a run. If simply running with your pill is not enough, try these variations;
Run ¼ to 1 mile with your sand pill on your shoulder
Lift your pill over your head 20 times
Do 20 air squats while holding your pill
Do 20 push ups
Grab your pill and run another ¼ to 1 mile
Now repeat the overhead presses, squats and push ups
For one hour, power walk while holding your pill above your shoulders, every time you drop the weight below your shoulders do 20 pushups and 20 air squats.
If you have been stuck in a rut and you’re not seeing as much as progress as you hoped to see, try adding some of these workouts into your training plan. The new moves will likely awaken some muscle that you have been neglecting in your training.
One final word of advice, if you have not been doing any workouts like these before, read up on the Superhuman Recovery articles – you are going to need them.
If you have done some “out of the box” training sessions that have helped you break out of a rut, share them by posting in the comments section below.