Novice Lifters: What to Do About Your First Plateau

Novice lifter: What to do about your first plateau?

The following are some tips for novice lifters who have reached their 1st plateau.

1) You need to increase the weights.

If you don’t want to lose strength, then you must increase the weights. But if you just want to improve your technique, then it’s better not to lift heavy at all!

2) You need to work out with heavier loads.

For example, if you’re doing 3 sets of 10 reps with 80% of your max, then you need to work out with 100% of your max.

3) You need to increase the volume.

If you’re doing 2 sets of 15 reps with 90%, then you need to do 4 sets of 20 reps with 95%.

4) You need to decrease the rest periods between exercises.

If you’re doing 3 sets of 8 reps with 60 seconds rest period, then you need to do only 2 sets of 6 reps with 50 seconds rest period.

5) You need to add variety into your training.

Novice Lifters: What to Do About Your First Plateau - | Gym Fit Workout

Try different exercises, such as squats, lunges, pushups and pull ups. And try new types of exercises like reverse hypers and box jumps.

6) You need to change the order in which you perform your workouts.

For example, if you’re always doing chest and back together, then you need to start doing them on separate days. And if you’re always doing legs and abs together, then you need to start doing them on separate days.

7) You need to reduce your cardio sessions.

For example, if you’re running for an hour everyday, then you need to cut down your cardio sessions to half an hour.

8) You need to increase your calories.

If you’re eating a maintenance calorie diet, then you need to start eat 500 – 1000 calories above your maintenance calorie level.

9) You need to increase your strength levels in your core lifts.

Novice Lifters: What to Do About Your First Plateau - GymFitWorkout

For the next 6 weeks train only your core lifts, and cut back on the volume of your assistance exercises. Avoid totally cutting out assistance exercises though, as you still need to keep your body balanced and work all the weak areas.

10) You need to keep a detailed training notebook. Record all your workouts. It’s surprising how simple it is to lose track of what you’re doing during a session. Keeping a record book helps you to see if there are any patterns in your training, such as always starting off with bench and then failing at it, which might suggest that you need to change the order in which you do things.

11) You need to increase your knowledge of training and nutrition. Reading articles on the Internet is a good start. But make sure that you read varied sources so that you get a balanced opinion of what’s good and what’s not so good.

The above are just some suggestions. You might not need to do all of them, or you might find other sources of error which are causing you to plateau. The most important thing here is to keep a record and be scientific in your approach. One of the biggest problems with the Internet generation is that they have a short term memory.

They forget all their old techniques that used to work and jump from one program to another without realizing that the reason it’s not working for them is because they aren’t sticking with it. You need to make sure that you keep a record and try to improve on what you’re doing, because that way you make steady progress.

The only thing left for me to say is good luck with your training. Remember to stick with it and you’ll be that much closer to your goals.

Sources & references used in this article:

Protein requirements and muscle mass/strength changes during intensive training in novice bodybuilders by AT Stress

The effects of 24 weeks of resistance training with simultaneous elastic and free weight loading on muscular performance of novice lifters by PW Lemon, MA Tarnopolsky… – Journal of Applied …, 1992 –

Periodization: current review and suggested implementation for athletic rehabilitation by T Shoepe, D Ramirez, R Rovetti… – Journal of Human …, 2011 –


Plateau Buster: A Look at Goals and IIx Fibers by EWG Moore, MS Hickey… – The Journal of Strength …, 2005 –

Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Advanced Guide to Shattering Plateaus, Hitting PRs, and Getting Shredded by R Patrick – Training, 2008 –

Effect of DHA supplementation on muscle damage and inflammation during the first two weeks of a novice resistance training program by M Matthews – 2014 –

Effect of resistance training on C-reactive protein, blood glucose and lipid profile in older women with differing levels of RT experience by CJ Drager – 2013 –

Training To Break Through Any Plateau by AS Ribeiro, CM Tomeleri, MF Souza, FLC Pina… – Age, 2015 – Springer