You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy. – Arthur Ashe
Post written by Nicolás Zuasti.
I’ve resently changed my life with a simple yet very powerful decision. I was in a really bad place in my life and it was really a straight forward choice: “Take charge and change now or keep being mad about your own life”.
I tell myself the same thing everyday as soon as I open my eyes. It’s my motivation speech.
Even the most motivated person sometimes faces a plateau, not only with workouts, it can happen with any part of our life. Plateus have the particular ability to make us feel like we are failing.
In order to keep pushing myself I strongly try to avoid the negative part of feeling like I’ve failed at something. I do this by having fun with my activities, and if I have fun doing the most important things during the day I remove any excuses I could invent to feel bad.
Even with my positive attitude I’ve noticed that the further I evolve with my workouts the easier it is to fall into a plateau, at least in my experience. You can watch my progress here and if you watch closely you will see some long periods of time where I was stuck at the same amount of repetitions and sets.
YAYOG’s first two weeks uses the concept of Ladders to increase resistance by doing high volume of exercises with low intensity. Ladders are a great way for tackling those exercises you could never do, as an example I went from normal Push Ups to Diamond Push Ups and Decline Push Ups, and now One Hand Push Ups, from military presses to Handstand Push Ups and from normal short crunches to V-Ups.
From Four hour body I learned that it’s pretty much the same, applying the 80/20 rule, to do one longer set than to do multiple short ones of a given exercise per workout. The math involved is pretty long to explain here, I do recommend you to read the book (both are excellent).
But those to concepts are pretty much the opposite!. Yes they are, but only if you try to do them in the same workout. I’ve joined those to great ways into something new.
Note: My experience only involves bodyweight exercises, I can’t recommend doing long workouts of exercise with weights since I have no experience there.
These workouts are a week-long. You start your week doing one set of each exercise till failure and you log the amount of reps. Let’s say: 10 Push Ups, 30 crunches and 20 Squats. For the next day you subtract one less repetition per set than the remaining days in your week (normally it’s 3, in a 5 day workout week), if the result is zero or less, do just 1. Each following day you add 1 repetition per exercise until you get to your previous failure numbers again for the last day.
If you get into really long sets, like my 404 bicycle abs set, you should search for a more difficult version of it the next week and start at that failing point. Your own body will set the starting point for each new exercise.
I’ve noticed that doing this will keep you improving constantly, having a lower chance to fall in plateaus. And since you keep adding every day it’s harder to feel like you are failing, and it’s just plain fun to beat yourself week after week.
It’s important to log your first day numbers to avoid hitting your failure on the next days, for this I recommend using something like fitocracy or use a simple table like the next one:
|Exercise||Day 0||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4|
This workout style have worked wonders for me, and I hope it does the same to you!.