In all areas of life, progression is just as important as consistency – but when it comes to our workouts, even the most finely-tuned bodies among us can stagnate. How do I challenge myself? Improve? What should I increase or cut-out from my routine?

 

These are all questions that Third Space Elite personal trainer Tom Hall, is asked on a regular basis: “If I don’t say “it depends” then I’m making it up.” But he really isn’t.

Our supporting lifestyle and variables in training hold the key to smashing through training plateaus, so Tom has created a quick checklist to help you succeed and push past any current barriers.

 

Lifestyle

Question: Are you eating enough?

Believe it or not, if you are training for hypertrophy, strength or performance, you’re probably not fuelling yourself effectively. You need to be hitting a total Kcal goal to succeed – especially if your goals are mentioned above; you need to be in a Kcal surplus. Start with about 20 to 40 grams of protein per meal, obviously making sure it’s something you like, and enjoy. The Natural Fitness Food new range Is categorised with very easy to follow macronutrients (Carbs, Fats and protein content) so you can choose a meal appropriate for your goal. For example If you are aiming to build muscle the Muscle Gain range is best for you.

 

Sleep

Question: Are you sleeping enough?

It may seem obvious, but sleep is vital to your body and mind as it allows you to reset,
recover and get ready for the day ahead. As a test – add an extra 30 minutes of sleep a night for a week and then see what happens when you workout. On average an adult needs 7 hours of sleep of minimum and In a healthy person HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is released by the brain into the bloodstream during specific phases of sleep. HGH release is part of the repair and restoration function of sleep. If you are deficient in sleep this can seriously impact your production of HGH.

 

Training

Question: Are your workouts varied enough?

Like our diet, we need to mix up the variations of our exercise. Many often opt for squats or deadlifts but I would suggest refreshing the standard moves and try, for example – trapbar deadlifts, Anderson squats, or floor presses. Change the stimulus for 4 weeks then go back to the originals and see if your lifts have improved.
Another great way to add some variety is to try a new class, such as Afterburner which includes a wide range of movements as part of a circuit around our custom built rigs.

Why not try – Pause work:

Pause work is the direct opposite of plyometric or ballistic work, rather than trying to take advantage of any increased nervous system innervation or elastic function of our muscle, the pause takes out this “stretch shortening / reflex” cycle totally, so no bouncing.

Pausing at the bottom on of a lift allows the elastic energy to dissipate whilst simultaneously breaking momentum. So no potentiating energy is stored in tendons, ligaments or muscles.
going from the concentric to eccentric phase of the lift, It relies on your muscle to overcome inertia and give a true representation of your strength.

You can also pause during the lift which builds something called quasi-isometric strength, helping overcome a sticking point in any range of motion. We can use this if you find a certain part of a lift tough.

For example – with the bench press and squats, I do a lot of pause work. Take your weight down to 50 or 60 per cent – with this you are going to descend on both the squat and the bench then just literally pause at the bottom. Hold for 3 – 5 seconds; count it out loud – 1, 2, 3, then explode up.

On the bench press – do the same but pausing at your chest. My overall tip is to try pausing in the places you find the hardest.

Pause work is great for your goals if you are wanting to get stronger, faster and more powerful – also it keeps you honest – your ego cant lift you out of a pause.