Q: What’s the best way to bust a plateau? –@PhillyGiner

A: There are as many ways to bust a plateau as there are ways to cook shrimp, but rarely are any of them used. That’s because guys usually hit a plateau for one of three reasons. The first two are easy and obvious to identify:

You either do the same workout year after year, or you do every workout you come across as soon as you find it, never giving any one approach enough time to work (allow at least six weeks). But if neither of these is your problem, your plateau might be behind door No. 3: You have a weakness or imbalance, and your body won’t start growing again until you fix it.

Be honest. When you work out, you play to your strengths or the body parts you love. But if you want complete development, you have to come to terms with your weak points and correct them. Start with the big, compound moves, because if you can bust your plateau on these, you’ll start seeing improvements everywhere else. Let’s look at the “big three” and what you can do to get your numbers up.


Problem No. 1: You can’t lock out.

Your Weaknesses: Glutes and grip

The Fix: Rack pulls. Set the bar on the pins of a power rack just below your knees and pull it from there.

Problem No. 2: The bar is stuck to the floor.

Your Weaknesses: Quads and hamstrings

The Fix: Snatch-grip deadlifts. Lower the weight, using a superwide grip.


Problem No. 1: You can’t lock out.

Your Weaknesses: Quads

The Fix: Try high box squats or highpin squats so you can practice the top portion of the lift.

Problem No. 2: You can’t get out of the hole.

Your Weaknesses: Glutes and hamstrings

The Fix: Hip thrusts and 1¼ squats will build up your glutes and hams.


Problem No. 1: You can’t lock out.

Your Weaknesses: Triceps

The Fix: JM presses. Set up as you would for a bench press, but bend your forearms back until they touch your biceps.

Problem No. 2: The bar gets stuck an inch above your chest.

Your Weaknesses: Chest and shoulders

The Fix: Pin presses. In a power rack, set the pins at your sticking point, then get benching.


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