Are Strength Training Stalls or Plateaus Inevitable?

Posted on 09 Jan 2014 18:32

The standard definition of a stall is a temporary stop in progression. When most people talk about a stall or plateau they are talking about failure to progress on one or two exercises.

That is an exercise stall. Not a 'strength training' stall. The terms stall and plateau are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two different things. Read this article for more on that subject.

The problem is that cessations in progression in particular exercises have gotten all mixed up with stagnation or even over-training. Complete failure to progress in strength training would indicate a much bigger problem than a stall. Failure to progress on just one workout, however, or even a regression in one workout, does not always represent an actual regression in fitness. It is more likely a fluctuation.

But it gives rise to many silly ideas. Such as if you fail to add five pounds to your squat one day you should take a week off. Ridiculous.

Listen to the Voice Version

When most GOOD strength trainers tell you how to break a plateau they are telling you how to break a plateau on a PARTICULAR exercise (here, I am using the term plateau in its colloquial sense, meaning a stall). Exercise stalls are not even themselves inevitable, they are just very difficult to avoid. But even while exercise stalls occur there is always another way to get strong. Pick up a new skill. Cross-train. Be creative.

Only people who are training to compete in just a few lifts should be obsessing over a handful of movements and even they must use variety in their training.

This is a tricky one in terms of winning over the crowds. You would think that telling people that strength training stalls are not inevitable would be a popular message. But don't be fooled. People want to feel better about their own failure to progress instead of being told HOW to progress. So, for sure, you want to stick with the "plateaus are inevitable" message if you want to win over the big crowds. Of course, I might be biased by my own failure to retain a large audience!

This page created 09 Jan 2014 18:32
Last updated 19 Mar 2018 02:22

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