The Dreaded Plateau

We’ve all had those times when we’re trucking along seeing great results (consistent weight lost, body continuing to get noticeably stronger, etc.) when suddenly we’re doing the same things, but not seeing the results.  This is known as the Principle of Specificity,though most of us refer to it as the plateau.  The Principle of Specificity states that the body will adapt to the level of stress placed on it and will then require more or varied amounts of stress to produce a higher level of adaptation in the future.  Therefore, that 45 minute elliptical training session on cross country setting is not yielding the same results because your body has adapted to the stress that exercise puts on it, and now requires a more intense version or different exercise.  A form of exercise that we often hear about but overlook, is circuit training.  Circuit training is helpful because you are incorporating cardiovascular conditioning and strength training into one workout, keeping your body guessing.  Depending on your level of fitness there are several different circuit training routines you can try.  For beginners:

1. Ball dumbbell chest press

2. Ball dumbbell row

3. Single-leg scaption

4. Single-leg dumbbell curl

5. Ball dumbbell triceps extension

6. Step-up to balance

Do all six moves in a row with no rest until the end.  At the end give yourself a minute to rest then do the circuit again.  Repeat until you have completed the circuit three times.  Remember to warm-up beforehand.

For advanced power:

1. Medicine Ball chest pass

2. Medicine Ball soccer throw

3. Medicine Ball scoop toss

4. Squat jump

As with the beginners, do all 4 moves back to back then rest for one minute.  Repeat until you have completed the circuit three times.  The idea with these exercises is to do them as quickly and powerfully as can be controlled.

Below is a Shape Magazine article reiterating the benefits of circuit training:

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