How to Break Through a Bodybuilding Plateau

Regardless if you are just beginning the sport of bodybuilding or a have been training for years, eventually you’ll hit it – that dreaded plateau – the place in your training program where regardless of what you do, you can’t make any progress. Nothing can stymy a training program more than not seeing progress.

But once you realize the cause of a plateau, there are things you can do to break out of it. To further explain why a plateau happens, you have to realize that the body easily adapts to the stresses placed upon it. So if you are doing the same routines over and over, and consuming the same number of calories, over time your body will become more efficient and use less calories to accomplish these same tasks. You won’t see any loss on the scale, nor will you see any increase in muscle mass.

To keep making progress with bodybuilding, you have to adopt a “stress–adapt, stress–adapt” training methodology where you have to keep challenging your body to adapt. Some of the ways bodybuilders accomplish this is with different types of weightlifting sets:


With this methodology, run through your typical set and exercise that muscle to failure. But instead of quitting that set, drop off some weight and lift again to failure. Continue this lift/drop process until you reach total muscle failure. Drop sets are good for building both muscle and strength.


Under rest-pause, take the muscle to failure, but instead of dropping off weight, rack the bar and count to 5. Continue lifting until failure again. Rack the bar again and this time count to 10. Now lift again can continue to failure. Rest-pause is also good for building muscle strength and mass.


A good cardio training routine, supersets are taking two exercises and doing them back-to-back with no rest in-between. The exercises can target the same muscles, like the barbell bench press and flyes or opposing muscles, like barbell curls for biceps and the lying tricep press.


Similar to supersets, giant sets use four or more exercises done in succession without rest that usually target the same muscle group. For instance if you are targeting the shoulders, you might do three sets of 10 repetitions each of seated shoulder press, side lateral raise, rear lateral raise and dumbbell upright row. Once finished with these sets, rest for a minute before continuing on with your workout.

Hitting a plateau is frustrating, but implementing these four plateau-busting methods into your routines will get you back on track.

Truth About Muscle Building Plateau