Bobby Boucher helped me come up with Plateau Buster #2 below,
I’m no bodybuilder but did learn a thing or two and during my years as a strength and conditioning coach. I helped many athletes break many plateaus and see amazing gainz. Several went on to play high level college football.
Here are a couple of easy to follow strategies I developed that consistently worked breaking plateaus on the heavy lifts that let athletes move to the next level. How good are these strategies? You can let me know, but they’ve helped many athletes 1 rep max on the bench over 100 lbs over body weight (example: my 190 lb son’s best was 400 lbs) and 2-4 times body weight on dead lifts and squats.
Plateau Buster 1 8 2 4 Shock Set Strategy
Pretty easy. Start your workout by getting warmed up and ready to lift. Once ready to start your serious lifting here’s what you do
Set 1 PREP SET 8 reps x 50-70% 1 rep max (have to find what gets you ready for next two sets)
Set 2 SHOCK SET 2 reps x 90-105% of 1 rep max (again have to find “sweet spot” amount)
Set 3 PLATEAU BUSTING SET 4 reps x 101-110% of 4 rep max (gotta be a new 4 rep max!)
Be sure you read that carefully. The 8 sets should feel comfortable. The 2 set is where you “risk it all” — I’ve had many athletes achieve a 1 rep max during this set — I’ve even had a RARE 2 reps at a new 1 rep max! But whatever happens on the 2 rep max, you’re in this for SET 3 — that’s the true plateau buster–you gotta make that new 4 rep max!
If you make all the lifts in all 3 sets — LEAVE THE GYM, your workout is over. You need to know that reward is waiting for you if you succeed –it adds to your energy level. If you don’t make all 3 sets successfully, you’ll still be pumped so it’s far from a failure — just move forward with the rest of your workout as planned.
WHY THIS WORKS: As your 4 rep max goes–so goes ALL your maxes. You’ll feel like you’re headed down the tunnel for the Super Bowl just before that 2 rep set, and you should “leave it all on the field”. But, whatever happens on your 2 rep set you’ll awaken massive amounts of motor neurons which will give you a lot of help on your 4 rep set – the one that really counts.
Plateau Buster 2 Visualize, Then Attack! 3 Count Strategy
Even simpler. During your heavy lifts, take a moment to visualize the entire set completed successfully. Then when you lift, ATTACK! Give yourself a challenging “3 count” to complete the lift. This does NOT mean 3 seconds. It means adjust the speed of the count to make sure it speeds up your efforts.
So, let’s say you’re going for a super heavy set of 3 reps on dead lifts. As you start each lift the ONLY thought in your head is “1 -2 – 3!” and when you hit 3 the lift should be over.
WHY THIS WORKS: This strategy is based on a teaching technique used to help skydivers overcome fear and doubt. Counting out a task with a specific visualized purpose in mind recruits multiple areas of your brain and aligns them for the specific tasks at hand. This reduces negative emotions such as fear and doubt.
1) These strategies come with a high risk of injury — be sure you are physically ready for the efforts you are undertaking. There’s no room for a single doubt in your mind when it comes to successful performanc; you must be completely in the moment–so prepare accordingly.
2) Don’t overuse these strategies — They are best used as “Plateau Busters” perhaps 1-2 times per MONTH. You want it to have a “game day” feel every time you use them so they bring you maximum power and results.
If you try either of these strategies let me know what you think. Hope you find these helpful in your workout efforts!
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