There is a problem I have noticed for a long time now when looking around most gyms.
The only seriously strong guys are always the huge guys.
Now when I say huge I do not mean lean and defined but more of an overweight type huge.
Don’t get me wrong , most these guys have an incredible chest and tree trunk arms to go with it.
Though they lack lean , dense , and angular muscle definition!
Most guys think it is impossible to remain lean while building serious strength.
The thing is when you progress on lifting heaver and heavier weight over time , you are going to hit a strength plateau at some point.
At this point most people assume you just have to eat more!
Eating more for strength gains does have some truth to it, I’m not going to deny that.
The idea is to eat a lot of food while lifting , build some serious strength and muscle goes up!
Now if your goal is to get stronger without regards to fat gain , then eat big to get big is for you!
But from my experience most people into Aesthetics want to look good NAKED!
And that’s just the honest truth.
So if eating and strength are your only goals then go for it my friend.
The sang goes, “Eat Big Lift Big Get Big!”
Eat Big Lift Big Get Fat
There is a couple problems to the whole “Eat Big Lift Big Get Big” method.
The first problem is you’re going to end up looking worse off than when you started.
People go into this with the plan to gain as much of weight as possible and lose all the fat later, though this rarely happens.
Most are not prepared for the actual amount of fat they will be gaining by Eating “Big”.
This is because you will be gaining a hell of a lot of fat during the whole “Eat Big to Lift Big” phase!
Secondly your relative strength is going to be minimal at best.
Which is very unfortunate, considering relative strength is the key to looking Aesthetic!
Your relative strength is how strong you’re proportionate to your body weight.
These guys that are benching with 3 plates on either side of the bar, typically can not rep out 6 to 10 body weight pull ups.
A physique is not going to be really that impressive if one is benching 225 lbs for 6 reps but close to weighing in at 200+ lbs.
Whats more impressive is the guy weighing in at 180 benching 275 for 6 reps!
This guys lean and chiseled physique will be a byproduct of his relative strength!
I know the focus of this article is about how to break through a strength Plateau but i need to address something first.
The goal should not just be about getting stronger and that’s it!
Your goal should about gaining Relative strength, the idea is to gain as much strength as quickly as possible without the excesses bulk.
Contrary to most fitness articles and advice your have read, Eating more is not necessarily the answer for strength gains when building relative strength up.
Breaking through your strength plateaus is as simple as Rotating your Lifts.
How to Break Through your Strength Plateau with Lift Rotations
The Two most common plateau’s I get talked to about most of the time are Barbell Bench Press and Barbell Incline Press.
The worst thing you can do is continue to performing the same lift workout after workout.
Performing the same Exercise time and time again when you have hit a strength plateaus can even cause your strength to decrease in that lift!
You must understand when you have been repeating the same movement week after week , your body will adapt.
Some people refer to is as Monotonous program overtraining: this is simply the process of the same lift performed again and again without varying of the movement or intensity.
At this point we need to provide the nervous system and mind with something new in order for the muscles to have to re-adapt for the new payload.
Simply rotating your lifts with a similar form you will allow your body a break while still working the muscle groups in the same progressive direction.
This means its important for the variation of lifts to be very similar , no need to change up your routine drastically.
A Quick Guide to Lift Rotation
So you have been busting your ass on a particular lift and now your strength gains have stalled.
Fear not because all it take is a plan to be put into place to reach your desired strength goals!
(Henry Cavill in Man of Steel using same methods and key lifts from my program Alpha Gains.)
For example below is a list of stalled core lifts in bold:
- Barbell Bench Press/Incline Barbell Press->Lift Rotations->Dumbbell Bench Press or change your order ( if you have been doing bench first rotate and do incline first)
- Conventional Dead Lift->Lift Rotations-> Sumo Dead Lift, Romanian Dead Lift, Stiff Leg Dead Lift
- Standing Military Press->Lift Rotations->Standing Dumbbell Shoulder press, Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Weighted Dips->Lift Rotations->decline Barbell Bench Press, Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
- Weighted Chin Ups->Lift Rotations->switch up to pull ups (hands facing away)
When you use the lift rotations you will experience continued strength progress for the next 6-7 weeks.
At some point just like the original core lift you will stall out on the lift rotations.
This is when you will jump back to the original core lift you started with.
This will have allowed your body time to reset from this lift and strength gains will be as continued.
The main point to take home here is progress.
You should be focused on progressing in strength week to week on your key lifts.
So to recap: when you Stall and you will, If you progress on the lift rotations you will progress on your core lifts.