Has your body hit its plateau or peak in the gym?
Why do some people stop gaining muscle or getting bigger no matter how much they are in the gym?
In order to be successful in the gym no matter what your goal is, it is imperative you understand a little bit about the human body and how it works. Once you figure it out you'll be on your way to success.
If you are someone who goes to the gym a lot, then I'm sure you have seen people in the gym who you see every time you're there, and month after month they look exactly the same. This is because of one of two things. Either they have hit their plateau. peak, or wall, whatever you want to call it, and they are doing the wrong things to try to break that wall down. Second thing could be that they simply don't know how to get bigger, ripped, or shed weight. It's not as simple as lifting some heavy objects a bunch of times or drinking enough protein to fuel a horse. If your doing one thing wrong you are not going to get results and your wasting your time. Enough about that. I will be covering some common mistakes people make in the gym that will result in NO result in a hub very soon. So here's why you hit that wall.
If you are not a very active person or someone who does not hit the gym a lot then when you do start working out, your most likely going to see results. Now this hub is more so geared towards those who are already pretty muscular but cannot get any bigger. If you have an average body type and are not seeing results than you are probably just doing something wrong. If you are a little overweight or have higher than normal body fat than you may just not be able to see your results although they are there. The key for people who have the extra body fat is to simply lose the weight and STAY consistent with lifting. OK, so back to the subject at hand. You're in good shape, your muscular, and trying to get bigger but you can't. The first couple of months you packed on some muscle but then it stopped.
The easiest way to explain how you build muscle is this. When enough stress is put on your body or muscle, such as lifting something heavier than you are comfortable lifting then your body sends a signal to your brain that it needs to become stronger in order to be able to perform these tasks. For example; If you chop wood all day long, you are going to be sore the next day. Very sore might i add because this is an excellent workout. The muscles you used while chopping the wood are the ones that is going to be sore. Sorry if this is a little too Barney style for someone but that's the way most things are explained to us Marines seeing as not all of us are the smartest peanuts in the turd. Moving on. Those muscles are sore because while you chopped the wood you pulled and stretched and ripped that muscle apart. Now they are going to heal and grow. So day after day of chopping wood your body is going to say "BODY!, you need to be stronger if your going to do this every day". so you will get stronger. the food you eat now (protein) will be used to rebuild your muscle seeing as this is what muscle is made out of. So you have been chopping wood for 3 months now. Your muscle have grown to the size the need to be in order to perform this task with ease. Every day you wake up you wont be sore, and you will not get bigger. Your simply used to it.
Now that we understand WHY they grow lets take a quick look at why they stop just a little bit more. So you can add more weight at the gym or take more protein or even try out a few different exercises but at this point your body is in great shape and ready for anything you throw at it. Your body needs shock and awe. It needs a DRASTIC change to throw it off and make it uncomfortable again so that is has to adapt to it. MY solution? Static Contraction!
Static contraction weightlifting is a little crazy, really fast to do, and when i explain how to do it its going to sound too easy and to simple to possibly work. Normally people will do these three types of weight lifting. Power lifting, Normal Lifting, or Tone lifting. That's at least what i call them. A quick breakdown. Power liftings goal is to pack on massive amounts of muscle, you wont necessarily be "ripped though" you will just be very powerful and big (think strongman competition). It is performed by lifting Heavy weight but only doing about 3 - 5 reps and maybe 3 - 4 sets. Normal weight lifting is using weight just heavy enough so that your last rep of the set is almost impossible to do. So it REALLY is your last rep. Goal of this is to build muscle and look ripped (think UFC fighter). This is performed by doing about 4 sets of 10 reps. However you can make each set a different number of reps to i a more specific workout routine. and then lastly you have your tone lifting. Very light weight but high repetition. about 4 sets of 25 reps. Your goal would be a slight cardiovascular workout, burn fat, and muscle definition, (think usher, Channing Tatum, lance Armstrong).You will gain strength not power from this. (Power: you can shove someone and send them flying accros the room. Strength: You can push someone a very long distance) Well now you have another type of lifting.
Static contraction weightlifting is very unique. What you would do is hold an extreme amount of weight in one spot for a few seconds. That's it. Let me further explain. Lets use the bench press exercise as an example. Lets say normally i bench 185 lbs. (4 sets of 10) but my one rep max is 240 lbs. I can bench 240 pounds one time by myself. As you probably know bench press works your chest/pecs primarily and your triceps secondary. So my chest has stopped getting bigger and i want to try this static contraction workout. The way it works is you will hold as much weight as you possibly can in one spot for 5 - 10 seconds. If you can hold it for more than 10 seconds you need more weight. if you cant hold it for 5 seconds, you needs less. For bench press if i normally do 185, 1 rep mac 240, my static contraction weight would probably be 350 maybe even 375 lbs. Although i cannot lift this weight i could hold it. The spot you want to hold it in is the peak or hardest part in the range of motion for that exercise which is usually in the middle of the range of motion. In the bench press workout you would probably need to hold it about 6 - 8 inches above your chest. To sum it all up this is how i would perform this exercise.
I lay down on the bench. My spotter puts 350 pounds on the barbell. We then as a team lift the bar and get it into that position about 6 - 8 inches above my chest. My spotter now stops helping although his hands better still be right under that bar in case i drop it. Now i hold it for 10 seconds and then together we put it back on the rest. I just completed one rep. I would then do this 3 more times for a total of 4 sets. You can use the static contraction method for ANY workout. the most important thing is to have a spotter or two in some cases, due to the amount of weight being used. Now you may be thinking to yourself, "ok so all i do is hold the weight for 10 seconds in one spot 4 times and im done? how can this possibly work." ahhhh I'm glad you asked.
The way it works is simple. think back to the wood chopping scenario. When you HOLD this weight that is too heavy for you to LIFT, for 10 seconds. That is plenty enough time for your brain to tell your muscles they need to grow. It is because of how extreme the amount of weight is. That moment your brain tells your muscles this in a normal workout would be that last rep of the last set when you achieve muscle failure and start shaking like salt shaker trying to do that last curl. All of that however is not needed. Static contraction can get you to that pint in 10 seconds.
I finish with this. The way this helps you overcome your peak is because it is something drastically different than what you are used to doing you body is already used to doing a few reps and few sets and working muscles out in different ways and angles but nothing so different than what static contraction can give you. One final point i will say is, your legs is a must. If your going to do this static contraction, you need to do you legs. For some reason people really don't like working out their legs. I guess is because your upper body is what is most fun to show off. Your legs though produce 70% of the testosterone in your body. Working them out releases this testosterone, therefore allowing your muscle to grow faster and better. It will help your upper body get more muscle. Besides, who wants to look like a meatball with two tooth picks stuck in it. Hope this was of some help to you and please shoot your questions, comments, concerns, or threats to the comment section.