Plateau or stagnation in bodybuilding routines: what it consists of and how to overcome it

The exercise has obstacles that test determination. One of these adverse factors is the plateau or stagnation in bodybuilding routines, a situation that puzzles many.

Last update: July 16, 2021

The training plan begins perfectly, causing accelerated muscle growth in the early stages. However, after a few months of great results, favorable changes tend to slow to a halt. This lack of physical evolution with the application of normal exercise is what is known as plateau or stagnation in bodybuilding routines.

Stopping muscle development can be demotivating for many people, so making immediate adjustments to overcome the issue is critical. Of course, to be successful you have to understand how the muscles act in this process and establish strategies to break the harmful adaptation. Read on to find solutions!

Why do muscles slow their growth?

To begin with, the satisfactory variations in muscle and strength that occur in the first training sessions are due to the body receiving a new stimulus. As sessions are added, the muscles adapt gradually.

In this sense, there comes a point where the used muscles do not require a significant effort to overcome the routine, ceasing to perceive that additional demand that drives growth. Along with this, imbalances or imbalances in the training-recovery relationship are also essential for stagnation in bodybuilding routines.

The main sign that the plateau has been established in our physical conditioning is in how simple the culmination of the series becomes. Therefore, you must be attentive to the reaction of the body and the feeling of wear and tear week after week. The monotony in the sequence of exercises is the main reason that the muscles reduce or paralyze their growth.

Once the exercises have become repetitive in the routine, the muscle involved tends to plateau.

Other factors that alter the training routine

The lack of progress not only lies in training without variations over time, but also in multiple external factors. Following that order of ideas, we will describe how diet, lack of sleep, stress and poor recovery they can affect hard work in the gym.

Feeding problems

A poorly structured diet can be the reason for lower muscle gain after passing the training. Care must be taken that the ratio of proteins and carbohydrates is in sufficient quantities.

In this sense, it is important to keep proteins in a range of 0.8 and 2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. Protein gain that is safe, according to studies published in the United States National Library of Medicine. In turn, carbohydrates should be included between 5 and 10 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.

Lack of sleep

Respecting the hours of sleep is an immense contribution so that the muscles are in good condition. ¿Why is it so important? Well, because about 80% of growth hormone production occurs during the rest period.

Excess stress

The damaging effects of stress are known; it is something that the different muscle groups do not escape from. In a simplified way, stress is capable of increasing cortisol levels. This alteration can affect muscle growth by promoting the following consequences:

  • Increased appetite
  • Greater accumulation of fat.
  • Decomposition of proteins.
  • Promotion of catabolism.


Poor recovery

Overexertion is another factor that has an impact in stagnation in bodybuilding routines. It occurs when certain areas of the body are subjected to training with insufficient rest intervals, resulting in fatigue that impairs performance.

To counteract this, a shock is recommended, which consists of reducing the intensity of physical activity for a defined period of time. This will allow sufficient time for full power recovery. A discharge every 6 or 8 weeks would allow to avoid the plateau.



How to get out of stagnation in the bodybuilding routine?

If stalling in your bodybuilding routine has become a prolonged complication, you should make considerable variations in your sequence and include the following tips. Put these strategies in motion!

Use short exercise plans

Plan different routines that you can vary, so that the application of each one does not exceed 3 months. In order not to fall on the plateau, the exercise cycle should be used between 4 and 6 weeks, maintaining the regular rotation. Only in this way will it be possible for the muscles to receive renewed stimuli.

Modify the repetitions

Frequently changing repetitions and loads is a useful measure. How to do it? With the exchange, that is, if the regular thing is that you opt for 4 sets of 8 repetitions, then transform your action with a greater load towards 3 sets of 6 repetitions.

Stimulate beforehand

Stimulating the muscles – prior to the most demanding work – is crucial to achieving sustained growth. For it it is convenient to do some spaced repetitions, but reducing the load of classical exercise. This produces better results when changes in isolated muscles are desired.

Increase total execution speed

Total execution speed is a great ally to put an end to stagnation in bodybuilding routines. Its inclusion in the conditioning habits is very simple.

You only need to do the repetitions in a fraction of the typical time that is developing. Thus, new stimuli are generated, guaranteeing improvements in strength and size.

Speed ​​up your workouts if you want to make changes that avoid stagnation.

It has a range of exercises

The number of exercises considered must be large, since the central idea is that the muscles do not get used to a certain work. For this purpose, it is recommended to define the exercises by standard (invariable) and rotating (variable) categories.

This facilitates the task of reorganizing activities to avoid stagnation in bodybuilding routines. Among the standard options the following can be considered:

  • Press banking.
  • Dead weight.
  • Free squat.

Stagnation in bodybuilding routines can be avoided

As a final note, the modification in the angle of the exercises causes noticeable effects in favor of different stimuli that remove the risk of stagnation. Likewise, the changes must be made respecting the preferred technique.

In addition to this, supplements are valid alternatives to increase the speed of recovery with the incorporation of nutrients that are absent in the diet. For this, consultation with a specialist who evaluates the requirement of the routine and the proposed results is essential. Stagnation in bodybuilding routines is fought with recurring changes!