6 muscle building techniques - Muhdo

It is the one thing we all dread when building muscle, the PLATEAU. When we start training as a beginner the gains come thick and fast, but unfortunately they dry up as time goes on.

Here are 6 tips on how to bust through the plateau.

1. Negative / Eccentric training

One great way to shock the muscles is to utilise negative reps on some of the big compound movements. Try some of the below:

  • Bench press – 120% of 1RM- 6 reps – 5s eccentric down to chest – 75s rest – 3 sets – (REQUIRES SPOTTER).
  • One arm preacher curl (DB) -110% of 1RM -5 reps – 5s eccentric – 75s rest after both arms – 3 sets (USE ALTERNATE ARM TO GET WEIGHT UP).
  • Pull-Ups – BW – 1+ reps to fatigue – 8s eccentric – 75s rest – 3 sets.
  • Squats (BB) – 80% of 1RM – 3 reps – 8s eccentric – 90s rest – 3 sets.
  • Cable Rows – 80% of 1RM -3 reps – 8s eccentric – 75s rest – 3 sets.


2. Try a supplement you have not tried before

  • Creatine monohydrate: try 3-5g daily with a meal for 8 weeks to break through the plateau.
  • Beta-alanine: try 3g 5 days per week with 2 days off for up to 15 weeks, it may be your ticket to lasting longer in sessions and knocking out a few more reps.
  • Carbohydrate based drinks during training; this may be able to make a big impact on your session especially if you train after work.
  • Live in the UK? Try vitamin D3 supplements! Most of us are deficient in this crucial nutrient.


3. Take a break?

One of the best ways to break a plateau is to rest, give your body 14 days of full rest to recover, work out the small twinges, repair and recuperate.

4. Partner up / Switch it up!

If you currently train solo it may be a wise choice to give it a go with a partner. A partner can supply support, spotting and can provide a good rivalry and competition to help boost motivation and break you out of a rut.

If you train with someone and have been for a while why not try and go solo, using your own music, focusing on perfect timings and picking a programme developed for you.

5. German Volume Training (GVT)

GVT is a great protocol to chuck into a programme that is going stale. The idea of GVT is quite simple although everyone does it slightly differently, here is our guide:

  • Use on compound exercises (Bench, Squats, Shoulder press, etc.)
  • 60% of 1RM.
  • 10 sets 10 reps.
  • 2s eccentric 1s concentric.
  • 60s rest in-between sets.
  • Try on at least one major muscle group per session.


6. Agonist / Antagonist supersets

This is a method of training that allows intensity to increase but also allows muscles to recover:

  • You have to train agonist/antagonist muscle groups in a session, i.e. back/chest, biceps/triceps, quads/hamstrings…
  • Every set you do is a superset with a heavy load/low reps and a lighter load high reps, i.e. 6 reps bench press with 15 reps cable row.
  • You rest 60-90s between each superset and repeat the superset 3 times.
  • Pick one main muscle group to work heavy and the other to work light and then swap on a separate day after at least 24-48 hours.

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