New Program for Overcoming Muscle Growth Plateaus

By December 1, 2018 Uncategorized

See if this story sounds familiar:

You start off training with a great new program and for weeks the results just keep coming and coming! Your muscles are looking bigger, all your lifts are increasing at a steady rate and your abs might even be starting to show!

You: “This shit is easy, I’ll look like Arnold by the time Summer comes round.” Yep, you’re a smug bastard…

Then, as if out of nowhere, it all stops. First you start to feel weaker. You: “No biggie, I’ll just have to try harder”.

You push harder in the gym: more sets, more reps, more sessions. You strain so hard you nearly shit your pants on every rep and still… No improvements.

You: “Hmmm, I’ll just try a new post-workout shake. More carb’s will surely solve the problem”.

You repeat what you did the week before, then look in the mirror and could swear your arms are an inch smaller than when you started.

You: “Ok what the fuck is going on!”

It’s official my friend: You’ve hit a plateau! And there’s actually a pretty simple explanation for why this has come about.

You see, the whole premise of improving your physique is based on your body’s ability to adapt to a stimulus. Basically, you spend 4 hours a week lifting heavy cylindrical items and your body goes: “That was bloody hard! I don’t know what this jerk is getting up to, but if he’s going to force me to do that again I’m making it easier on myself”. So, your muscles grow, your brain learns how to activate more muscle fibres (making you stronger), and your body sheds some unnecessary fat:

Let the good times roll! (Yeah I stole your saying Kawasaki… Fight me).

But anyways, the problem is, our body is about as laidback as a council worker (#burn). In short, it pretty much wants to:

  1. 1)  Survive.
  2. 2)  Maintain physiological balance.
  3. 3)  Use as little energy as possible.

That’s about it..

Now don’t be mad. It’s this innate laziness that keeps us alive (That’s good… like froghurt!) but unfortunately it also causes our lifting plateau (That’s bad, like cursed froghurt…)

You see, eventually, our body adapts so well to a specific training protocol (rep range/set range/movement pattern etc) that it becomes ruthlessly efficient at completing that workout, to the point that all those bad- ass adaptations such as muscle growth, fat loss and improved strength are no longer necessary… 3, 2, 1: Booooooooo!

So, how do we overcome this and keep our results coming?

Well, there’s a few ways, depending on each persons physiological and psychological traits. But one way I’ve found to be particularly effective is using an ascending repetition protocol.

Why? Men training with an aesthetic goal in mind tend to become a little too reliant on the old 8-12 rep range, which is great for muscle growth… until a certain point. The problem with staying within this limited repetition range ALL the time, is that the load is not intense enough to activate your bigger, fast- twitch type IIX muscle fibres, nor does it allow enough time under tension to fully tax your slower twitch, endurance muscle fibres. In that sense, it’s very limited. So we have people who’ve been doing the same program, with the same amount of weights year in and year out since Shane Warne made his test debut and wondering why they’re not growing.

News flash! Your body adapted to that program a long-ass time ago. Time for a change!

The benefit of utilising an ascending repetition protocol is that it starts with low reps and heavy weights (which will make your strength go through the roof); and then finishes with higher reps/lighter weights (which will improve your endurance). This means it targets a very wide range of muscle fibres and provides your muscles with a new type of stimulus. In short, it will force new adaptation, and voila! Your results will be back on track!

So, how should a good ascending reps program look? Check it out:

Here’s an example of a chest & back training session which utilises this protocol. Give it a try and watch your body groooowww! (You can thank me later).


A1) Bar bell 40° Incline Mid-Grip Press                       x 4-6
A2) Dumb bell Flat Bench Press (Neutral Grip)         x 8-10
A3) Dumb Bell 20° Incline Fly’s                                    x 12-15
A4) Push-up’s (Chest to floor)                                       x 15-20

Perform a a circuit with 15 sec rest between exercises, then 2 minutes after A4

3-4 rounds


B1) Neutral Mid-Grip Weighted Chin-up’s                 x 4-6
B2) EZ-Bar Pronated-Grip Bent-over Row                 x 8-10
B3) Inverted Row with Rings                                        x 12-15
B4) Supinated Mid-Grip Lat Pull-down                      x 15-20

Perform a a circuit with 15 sec rest between exercises, then 2 minutes after A4

3-4 rounds

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