Muscle building plateau

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Breaking out of a muscle building rut

Bodybuilding can be an emotional roller coaster. After a few months of serious workouts, a beginner will see his body change- for the better. More muscle mass, more definition, the appearance in broad daylight of muscles you never even knew you had. And then about  6 months into a program,  progress seems to halt.

You’re working just as hard, eating as well, but muscle growth ceases. What happens and how can you break out of this rut?

One big reason for muscle development grinding to a halt is that people over exercise. What does it mean to over-work a muscle group? It means to strain a muscle and not give it enough time to recover. Pumping iron breaks first breaks muscles down. Through diet and adequate rest, the muscle begins to rebuild itself and grow even bigger. But if you interrupt that rest period and start to work the muscle again, the muscle will not repair itself or grow. Always keep these five tips in mind for speeding up recovery after training.

Practically speaking, never work the same muscle group two days in a row. In fact, leaving two days between muscle group workouts will guarantee that each large muscle group will get its needed downtime. Once you’re months into a body building program, take a week off every now and then from training. Continue to eat sensibly, of course. What applies to the beginner six months into a program, applies as well to the veteran body builder.

As tempting as it may be to work a muscle group two days in a row don’t do it. You might love how your biceps look in the mirror, but don’t go back for more curls. Resist the temptation, even if your arms don’t feel especially tired.

Getting into a rut can happen even if your diet is good. Sometimes, however, reaching a plateau and being stuck there is the result of an irregular or ineffective diet. A good way to monitor your eating is to record what you eat and drink each day. That way, if you wander off your muscle building diet, you can tell right away and make the necessary corrections.

Learn to read your body’s signs. As the expression goes, listen to your body. The desire to get big and cut, and to do it as fast as possible can lead you to push your body to lift weights when it really can’t.  You might be able to force that weight up, but if the muscle is depleted or sore, it will get no benefit from those agonizing forced reps.  When a muscle feels sore, certainly don’t subject it to more lifting. In fact, the idea is to listen to your body and not workout until a muscle is sore.

Remember that there’s a big difference between pushing your body to do what it can do without incurring strain, soreness, or injury, which is essential if you’re going to break down and then re-build muscle, and putting demands on it which leave you sore or strained.  Don’t be confused. Your body puts out signs, signs that are clear. Respect them. Abide by them. If you don’t, your desire to push your muscle building pace to an impossible level will actually slow down your progress.

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