Prevent Plateaus and Perpetually Progress

By November 17, 2014Exercise

Three Things to Watch for to Prevent Plateaus and Ensure a Better Workout

You’ve probably all encountered a plateau in your training. And that’s ok. But did you know that you can make progress every day to prevent plateaus?

You can. And I am going to tell you how.


Briefly, the Nervous System controls your movements. Voluntarily or involuntarily. Move enough, you get better at it. It becomes refined. This is motor learning (what most usually call muscle memory).

When learning movement, your body has 7 step system that lets you know when to chill the fuck out. Frankie refers to them as the elements of effort. I am going to talk about the first three.


When you learn a new skill, you might start off a bit slow. Eventually, you’ll get faster. Eddie van Halen started his guitar learning slow, and refined it to the point he could play with blistering speed, through motor learning.

Your gym movements work the same way.

When a new trainee comes in, the movements go from Slow to fast, and they always become more refined.

We want to train this skill.

So no matter where you are, look at your speed. If you’re exercising at a given pace, and you feel like you start to slow down, cut the set. Rest. Do another one. If that means you do not hit the ten reps, that is OK. You’re pay off is higher because you’re training yourself to do it as refined and fast as possible.


Also your “form.” Whatever this may be that works for you, keep it consistent.

If you are doing your set of bicep curls, and you lose speed, and you can’t catch yourself, your form goes next.

That perfectly straight posture might become a little crooked. A little twisted. If you’ve made it this far, you definitely should stop your set. Same as before, you don’t want to get better at moving badly.


This is an image of a person who cannot prevent plateaus, and receiving excessive tension during a curl.

If you do this while you curl, you have excessive tension.

If you keep on bicep curling, past the first two elements of effort, you will get here.

You might start gripping the weight tighter. You might start squeezing your ass cheeks together, You might be making weird faces. And you might be even squeezing your free hand.

All of these are examples of excessive tension, which you might want to avoid.

Use just enough to lift the weight/do the exercise. No more, no less.

You’ve all seen the bro in the gym screaming while lifting. Don’t be that guy. If you find yourself squeezing too much, stop.

It means you have surpassed the first two of the elements of effort.

There you have it. By avoiding these three things, you will make more progress in your exercising endeavors. Questions? Head here and join the discussion, or leave a comment.


About Peter Baker

In addition to being a fan of music and heavy metal, I am an avid player of table top RPGs, and I am a personal trainer in Tampa, FL as well as a graduate of the prestigious University of South Florida. Formerly, I was a prefect for House Slytherin.

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