3 Reasons your athletic performance is plateauing – and how to combat it

When it’s just not working

You’ve been hitting the gym consistently.

You’ve been training hard.

You’re putting in the hours and putting in the reps.

But for some reason… your progress has plateaued.

Instead of gaining strength, you’re feeling tight, stiff, restricted and defeated.

It’s a frustrating experience – one that most gym goers can no doubt relate to. So if this sounds familiar, know that you’re not alone!

So what’s going wrong?

There are a few potential culprits of the dreaded plateau and some of them might surprise you!

1. You’re too consistent

Yes you read that right.

What initially was your biggest ally, consistency, can actually start to turn against you!

After years of training, the coaches at Aspen have seen this time and time again

People can generate incredible will power and create diligent habits around hitting the gym without stopping to question whether the time they’re putting in is giving them the results they’re after.

Why? Because our bodies are habit making machines.

If you present your body with the same obstacles each day it will find very efficient ways to deal with them.

In order to continue to progress and challenge our movement pathways, gain strength and increase our mobility, we must be providing new stimulus and progressive overloading, to make sure our body doesn’t get so efficient that it gets lazy!

2. Your range is too shallow

In order to increase weight or add more reps, the range of motion in your movements often decreases.

In other cases, as you age, over time things might have just gotten tighter.

And it’s entirely possible this is happening without you even realising!

If you’re only working your strength through a limited range you will be holding yourself back from accessing your true strength.

By backing the weight off or lowering your reps and working on improving your biomechanics and range of motion you can help to overcome this pesky problem.

This won’t happen overnight, and depending on your body’s condition this could be a long term project.

We’d recommend investing a good 6 months to re-establish how you move, and watch how your strength bounces back to new levels.

3. You’re not resting enough

Wanting more, doing more, achieving less – sound familiar?

It takes a lot to trust the process but sometimes, less is more.

When was the last time you took a rest week? Not by accidently getting sick, or going on holiday and eating and drinking too much – but consciously turning the intensity down on output and upping the attention given to your self care?

Prioritising sleep, nutrition, rest weeks and incorporating varied movement into your days can really help your body to replenish and rebuild tissues.

Through looking at where we might be going wrong, you can already start to see actions you can take to improve your performance. But what about avoiding this loop in the future?

Here are some strategies to help you stay aware and progressing.

Daily Practice

Create a daily movement practice to check in with yourself. It only needs a small chunk of time, sometimes 5 minutes is enough.

This is time for you to be in your body. Listen to how it feels, move gently, get the blood flowing and start to understand how your body is recovering and developing.

First you will be curating a good sense of self awareness, and over time this will allow you to make smarter decisions around your training as you start to observe the impacts (positive and negative) it is having on you.

Back to Basics

The one no-one likes to hear. When you’ve been training for a while, there’s bound to be some gaps you’ve overlooked. And now those easier exercises seem so far behind you, you don’t pay them any dues.

Frequently returning back, and refining the basics will lead to better engagement and muscle recruitment pathways.

This will become especially important if you want to start pushing towards more advanced skills.

Your Blindspots

We all have them. They’re natural. We have a problem in front of us and we are doing everything we can to try and solve it. But what we cannot see, is what we cannot see. It can take zooming out to gain perspective and start to see the wider landscape.

You may need to find someone you trust to help you with this process and start to evaluate how your actions stack up next to your intentions. It could be glaringly obvious once you pause to look, or perhaps it will take some digging.

But we can guarantee there will be something that you are not seeing that once the light is shone, can’t go away.

Progress isn’t linear

Progress is not linear and doesn’t follow a straight line.

We need to constantly adapt to life’s challenges and opportunities whatever they may be, while staying grounded in our perspective.

Instead of constantly going upward, we want to loop back, pass through the old and move forward into new territory slowly.

Continuing this process allows for adequate adaptation, reflection and the choice to change course from time to time.

Want to gain some perspective and guidance around your training?

Contact us to schedule a private coaching session.

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