Break Through Plateauing Results by Training Smarter

Stuck in a rut? If you exercise regularly but can’t figure out how to smash plateaus, you’re in the right place. This plan, by IFBB fitness pro Fiona Harris, will trim inches off your thighs, tone and sculpt your arms, perk up your glute-ham tie-in, and create definition like your Insta-idol @NicoleMWilkins. By manipulating variables such as intensity and frequency and incorporating different training techniques—like heavy/low-rep and light/high-frequency body-part splits, plus cardio, HIIT, and plyometrics—you WILL keep your body progressing right to the top.


  • DAY 1: Lower-Body Workout 1, Heavy Weights; 35 minutes steady-state cardio
  • DAY 2: Chest/Shoulders, StepMill HIIT Cardio
  • DAY 3: Plyometric Whole-Body Workout, Rower HIIT Cardio
  • DAY 4: Rest
  • DAY 5: Lower-Body Workout 2, High Volume; 35 minutes steady-state cardio
  • DAY 6: Back/Arms, Treadmill HIIT Cardio
  • DAY 7: Rest

SEE ALSO: 9 Nutrition Hacks to Break Your Fat-Loss Plateau

Plateau Busting Technique 1: Do two types of lower-body workouts per week

Harris recommends one day of heavy lifting and one day of higher volume, as well as pairing plyo with traditional lower-body moves. Mixing high-rep training and plyometrics with heavy lifting helps provide a new stimulus to muscles.

Lower Body

Workout 1 (Heavy Weights)

  • Leg Extensions: 1½ reps (1 rep from full flexion to full extension, then ½ rep to halfway down, then up to full flexion); 1 warmup set; 7 sets of 12–15 reps.
  • Barbell back squat: 5 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Leg press: Narrow stance (feet/ knees together) 4 sets of 10–12 reps.
  • Hack squat: Wide stance, toes pointed out, 4 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Lying hamstring curl: 1½ reps; 4 sets of 8–12 reps.
  • Barbell hip thruster: 4 sets of 10–12 reps.
  • *Rest 45-60 seconds betweetn sets

Workout 2 (High Volume)

  • Leg extension superset with pop squat:** 1 warmup set; 4 sets of 12–15 reps/20 reps
  • Smith machine sumo squat with pulse: 4 sets of 15 reps.
  • DB reverse lunge to curtsy squat: 4 sets of 12–15 reps per leg.
  • Single-leg cable hamstring-curl superset with bent-knee kickback: 3 sets of 15 reps/15 reps.
  • Abductor machine superset with side-walking squat with resistance band: 4 sets of 15 reps/10–12 reps each direction.
  • DB walking lunge: 3 sets of 20 reps per leg.
  • *Rest 30–45 seconds between sets 
  • **Superset: Do one set of each move with no rest in between sets. 

SEE ALSO: The Secret to a Killer Core 

Plateau-Busting Technique 2: Full-Body Plyometrics

Complete entire circuit with no rest between exercises. Rest 2–3 minutes, then repeat, starting with 5 minutes of cycling. Do entire circuit 3 times. Try to improve the number of rounds with each workout

  • Stationary cycling: 5 minutes at moderate intensity.
  • Burpee with jump: 15 reps.
  • Alternating quick-reverse lunge off low step with light DBs: 20 reps per leg.
  • Jump squat: 20 reps.
  • Walk-out pushup: (Bend forward, walk hands out to pushup position, do 1 pushup, and reverse.): 10 reps.
  • Mountain climber: 25 reps.
  • Low side-walking squat: 15 reps stepping to left, then 15 reps stepping to right.
  • Bicycle crunch: 25 reps per side.
  • Skier jump side to side: (Left/right equals 1 rep; do total of 10 reps.)
  • Jump rope: 100 skips.

SEE ALSO: How to Change Your Diet and Strength Routines to Reach Your Goals 

Plateau-Busting Technique 3: HIIT Cardio

Incorporate these HIIT cardio workouts in 2 or 3 of your cardio sessions per week to shock your body and kick your fat burning into high gear.

Step Mill: Warm up 5 min. at moderate speed. Then do intervals of 45 sec. high and 1 min., 30 sec. low to recover. In first high interval, increase speed to where you are just able to keep up with stairs without holding railings; recover. Second high interval: increase speed, bend over, and place hands on platform above stairs; recover. Third high interval: increase speed, skipping every other step; recover. Do circuits for 25 min., then finish with 5 min. cooling down at moderate speed.

Treadmill and Plyometrics: Warm up for 5 min. at 6 percent incline, 4.0–4.2 mph. Do intervals of 1 min. plyometrics (choose from moves below) and then 2 min. Recovery on treadmill (6 percent incline/4.0–4.2 mph). Continue for 25 min., then finish with 5 min. cool down.

Plyo moves:

  • Jump squats
  • Jump switch lunges
  • Pop squats
  • Burpees Alternating reverse lunges
  • Mountain climbers

Rower: Warm up for 5 min. steady-state rowing. Then do burpee intervals (with or without jump) followed by 2 min. steady-state rowing: Row 2 min., then do 10 burpees; row 2 min., then do 15 burpees; row 2 min., then do 20 burpees; row 2 min. Start again with 10 burpees and continue the cycle for 25 min.; cooldown 5 min.

SEE ALSO: 19 Kick-Butt Cardio Workout Routines

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