Training plateau. What is it and how to overcome it?

training plateau

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For any athlete there is no greater joy than watching how his performance grows. At the same time, nothing is so disappointing as the state of stagnation, when the results do not improve, and all the forces that are spent in training are aimed at at least somehow stay at the reached level. This condition is called the “training plateau.”

What is a training plateau?

There are several main reasons for stagnation in training. Often this is an indicator that you have reached your intermediate peak form. Usually this happens when the jump to a new level is too abrupt, and the body is not physically ready for the next transition. The right decision in this case will shift the emphasis from cross-country training to cross-training and, strengthening the muscles, make the next “throw.”

The second reason, which is less pleasant, is overtraining. The growth of indicators is caused by a regular increase in the load. If you do not apply permanent stress to the muscles, they quickly adapt to working weights or running volumes, and as a result, a training plateau sets in. On the other hand, if loads increase, then sooner or later a moment comes when the body simply ceases to cope with increasing intensity, volumes and weights or velocities. Read the bacis principles of the food pyramid.

Training process
Training process

The offensive of the training plateau can be determined by such signs:

  • bodybuilding – lack of muscle mass gain;
  • Powerlifting – the termination of growth of power indicators;
  • running and other cyclic sports – reduction in speed indicators, fast fatigue;
  • decrease in the level of motivation;
  • increased heart rate;
  • Reduced appetite and general fatigue.


Training plateau
Training plateau

How to overcome the training plateau?


The first thing to do is to reduce training volumes by 20-30%. Allow the muscles to recover, but do not give up training. Change the type of physical activity.

Training process

The next thing that needs to be done after reducing the racing volumes is to make the variability in your workouts. Perhaps you are just mentally tired of the routine. Think about how to diversify your schedule. Add fartlek to your long runs or change the route. Change for a while running on the highway by training in a forest or a park zone with a changing terrain. When practicing in the gym, change your training program, replace the exercises performed by their analogues with the same muscle groups.


If you are going to progress, then nutrition is an extremely important element of the training process. Raise the calorie intake by taking more frequent meals. Keep an eye on the nutritional value of the foods consumed.

Healthy foods
Healthy foods

Sleep is the most important component in increasing the results. Recovery is essential when harassing training, so give him enough time. Try to sleep as much as the body requires. If possible, do not neglect sleep during the day.

Running and weight training

The question of how to combine running and strength training is very often asked and actual. It is very important to understand which of these areas is a priority for you, and which is an auxiliary one. Running for long distances is extremely energy-intensive, it leaves little room for muscle building and working with large weights. At the same time, an excessive mass, even if it is a working one, does not help to overcome the marathon distance. Therefore, the achievement of growth in both sports becomes an almost impossible task. Give cardio training no more than 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a week, if you prefer bodybuilding, and do the work in the gym solely aimed at developing the muscles involved in running, if you are a stayer / runner.

Training plateau
Training plateau

Do not write off and those processes that occur in our lives in addition to training: stress at work, lack of sleep, fatigue from business trips, poor nutrition. It is important to remember that our overall well-being affects the quality of training. Try to maintain balance in all areas of your life.