Overcoming a plateau in calisthenics and get back to progressing!

If you have been working out for a while, you’ve probably come across a plateau once or twice, maybe even more! Hitting a plateau could be the reason you are making no progress in calisthenics. These plateaus can be a wall and also demoralize you. Have you ever experienced this? Did you manage to overcome the plateau? Either way, make sure to read the following as I will answer most of your questions about overcoming a plateau.

Recently I’ve hit a different kind of plateau, an injury! This plateau set me back three months as it took me three months to recover from this. Due to this injury, I couldn’t do most exercises, and therefore I was making no progress. Luckily it’s becoming better now. It is still sensitive, but at least I’m able to exercise again which makes me very happy! I need the exercise to relax and remain in a good mood. Enough about me let’s get into the subject!

Signs you are hitting a plateau

There is more than one reason you could be hitting a plateau but how do you recognize these. The following signs could raise your awareness. Understanding these signs is the first step in overcoming the plateau.

Not making any more progress 

You are not experiencing any improvement and are not able to increase your repetitions, or you are not able to move forward to the next progression in the technique you are currently focusing on. Experiencing this can be very frustrating, and this alone can stop you from progressing. Frustration is one thing that could prevent you from advancing but what if you are going backward.

Your repetitions drop, and you are not even able to hold the progression you worked so hard for! Losing strength is possible even if you religiously stick to your workout routine.

Feeling down and losing focus

Because of the reasons mentioned above, you might start to feel down. There could also be other external factors making you feel down. Maybe something terrible happened, or you are struggling with other issues. All these things could lead to lack of focus and therefore working out could get less of a priority.

No motivation left

Being frustrated and feeling down can lead you to feel unmotivated. Seeing results gives a new boost of energy when those results stop coming it could lead to feeling unmotivated for the next training.

You are starting to compare yourself with your calisthenics role models. You start thinking to yourself no way I’m going to reach that level, ever! Grab a bag of potato chips and order that pizza. You are done, no more training instead you are looking forward to that new series that just released on Netflix.

Procrastination leads to stress and therefore entirely keeping you from reaching your goals. Be sure to pick up yourself up and think about the goals you’ve set. It’s okay to fall off the wagon sometimes just climb up again and start breaking those walls!

Reasons why you could be hitting a plateau

So what are possible causes you are hitting that plateau? Try to find out which of the following applies to you and determine how you can overcome these.

1. Same workout over and over again

Repeating the same routine is in the basics the first step into progressing. Repetition is necessary to help you grow in strength and improve your calisthenics movements. But with everything in life too much is not beneficial.

Do you find yourself doing the same routine every other day or every week then this might be one of the reasons you are hitting a plateau?

2. Create some variation in your workout routine

Within any sports, it’s important to keep adding variety into your training schedule. This way you develop all skills and muscle equally. Your body gets used to movements quickly this might be good to grow your rep count. The counterpart in this is that your body adapts to the same moves and therefore progress stagnates.

3. Overtraining

In other words, you are training too much and are exhausting your body. Overtraining could lead to serious injury. No one wants injuries since they set you back even more.

Training too much and not allowing your body to rest enough could lead to regress, which means you are going backward. Muscle growth happens while you sleep. During a workout, you break down your muscles, and the recovery of these scars leads to increase in strength and size. This means that if you are training too much, you are only breaking down muscle tissue instead of building muscle.

4. You are not training hard enough

Many reasons can cause you are not training hard enough. Maybe you are following a program. The program looked like a challenge, but after you are done with the workout, you are far from tired. This could be the first sign of the routine you are following is not challenging enough for you.

It is essential you find the right balance in your workout routine. As mentioned before getting enough variation in your program is very important. Muscles get used to certain movements quick. Always try to do moves or routines that you hate! What?! Peter, are you seriously asking me to do the exercises I hate? In short, my answer is yes, and I’ll tell you why.

There is a big chance that the movements and routines you hate are the ones that are the ones you are not good at. Try to challenge yourself! Try to be a little better after every training. You’ll see you will start to like the movements you hate. Myself I had a bad relationship with the burpee. A burpee is an excellent movement to increase stamina and strength altogether. I used to hate those big time! After a while, I started to love them because they increased my endurance in a way I never experienced before.

5. Not getting enough nutritious food

Without the right nutrition, progress could fall off quickly. A metaphor used a lot in the fitness business is that of a house. If you want to build up a sturdy house with resistance to any weather you need good building materials. The same applies to building your body.

Not eating quality food could stop you from progressing. Usually exercising without eating properly does little to nothing for your body. I believe eating right is about 70% and the other part is sleeping properly and training. Make sure you get enough macro and micro nutrition into your body to allow it to build and recover well.

6. You are not getting enough sleep

Getting enough sleep and getting quality sleep is the most important thing when it comes to muscle growth and muscle recovery. During sleep, your body releases growth hormones. These hormones allow your muscles to recover and therefore grow and getting stronger. I guess now; you understand why a baby sleeps so much!

Next, to this, we all know how we feel after a bad night sleep. You become grumpy and are less likely to get up and get that workout done. Have you ever had to wake up super early? You’ve probably noticed that this makes you extra hungry. Not getting enough sleep messes with your apatite

7. You’ve set impossible goals

The last one on this list speaks for itself but allow me to elaborate on this. It is possible you are currently aiming for goals that you are not physically able to reach this moment. Does this mean you will never achieve the goals you’ve set? No, it doesn’t, but progress is made by taking steps and not by leaping towards your goal.

What I mean by this is to rethink your goals and keep something realistic in mind. Take it step by step, progression to progression. Especially in calisthenics it’s important to progress slowly. Let your body adapt to the heavier workload and the extra mobility.

Overcoming a plateau

How do you overcome some reasons that made you hit that plateau in the first place? Here are some of my suggestions on how you could break through your plateau and once again move forward with your progress! In the end, it’s progress that motivates us to want more and more.

1. Get a personal trainer

If you do not have enough knowledge or you are not willing to invest time in teaching yourself, getting a personal trainer might be the answer to your question. This way you don’t have to worry about any of the science in calisthenics or nutrition.

A personal trainer will do all this for you and will present it to you. All you have to do is stick to the diet plan and follow along with the routine provided. They can unlock physical capabilities you never thought you would be able to do. One of the significant downsides of a personal trainer is that it could be very costly.

I find teaching yourself is very valuable. You will start to understand the science behind all you are trying to achieve. This will make it easier for you to make a specific diet or workout routine decisions.

2. Mix up your routine

As mentioned earlier it’s important to keep enough variation in your workout routine. Are you not increasing your repetitions or aren’t you able to add any extra weight to your weight vest. It’s time to mix things up.

You could decide on picking different exercises. Another thing you could do is attack your exercises differently. Include more or less breaks in between exercises. You could also lower the weight and increase those repetitions.

3. Take a break

Give your body some time to recover fully. You’ve kept going for a long while and even though you get enough sleep and include enough rest days your body needs a holiday sometimes too!

Your body can be exhausted even without you noticing. Please take that well earned holiday and enjoy some summer night at the beach or crawl up to your fireplace!

4. Start eating quality food

Also mentioned before enough macro and micronutrients are necessary to keep your body growing. Stay away from the soda’s and heavily processed food or any added sugar.

One way that helped me to stay away from any of the “wrong” foods was meal prepping. Meal prepping makes sure your food is already ready and waiting for you to eat. Therefore you won’t feel the need to go for the easy fix.

Also never do groceries when your hungry, you might end up buying food you don’t need or isn’t that good for you!

5. Invite someone to join you

I can’t stress enough how important this is. Having someone to workout together with is super valuable. My friend I work out with motivated me so many times to keep going. Hopefully, this worked out the other way too, I’m sure it did, right?

Besides being a foot in the door, working out with someone else is a lot more fun. You can share your journey and keep each other motivated. Apart from that, someone else could help you point out some flaws in technique. Usually one or the other is better at some movements and vice versa.

6. Get your hands on an app or workout program

There is plenty of free content out your workout routine to help you get a good workout in. Usually, these programs give you a routine to follow which slowly builds up. Try out some of them and see which one fits your goals and schedule best. A lot of them offer extra content where you have to pay for.

If you like the program, you should consider upgrading your account and support the creator. Many of the apps and programs out your workout routine offer a trial period or monthly payment which allows you to get to try out the program long enough to decide whether this program is suitable for you.

What’s next?

Hopefully, I have given you some more insight on why hitting plateaus are all part of the journey. By now, you should be able to recognize the plateau, the reason why you are hitting them and how to overcome them. Are you going to overcome your plateau?

Please comment below if you have some additional insight or experience you want to share. If you are currently in a plateau, don’t be bummed out by it. Overcoming a plateau is all part of the great journey. The result is what matters.

Success doesn’t come without failure. Sometimes you need to look back and see why you have no progress in calisthenics to be able to move forward. What do you think? Are plateaus part of the deal? Let me know and thank you for reading.



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