3 Common Program Pitfalls That Keep You STUCK
If you're making any of these mistakes with your workouts, you're limiting your gains and going to hit a plateau. Here's why and what to do about it.
Hey! It's Eric.
Most people who train on their own make at least 1 of these 3 pitfalls.
Even many people who have trainers are making these mistakes, because many of the "certifications" available aren't much harder to get than a prize from a pack Cracker Jacks.
But read this page and you won't make these mistakes any longer and you'll be rewarded by making continued gains in strength, power and conditioning and also minimizing the chance of repetitive strain injuries like tendonitis of the shoulders or knees.
Before we move on, a really quick intro if you don't yet know me...
I’m a strength and conditioning coach with a love of 2 things: fitness and MMA.
Since 2006, I’ve dedicated myself to developing methods to help MMA fighters be in top shape and have been lucky enough to have been trusted by 3 UFC fighters and dozens of local pros and amateurs in their quest for success.
Now, you might be thinking, "Eric, I'm not an MMA fighter. Why should I listen to you?" Here's the thing...
Even if you have no desire to be an MMA fighter, training like one is a great idea you want:
- Well-rounded fitness including strength, power, agility, endurance AND conditioning…
- Having an athletic, mobile, agile, flexible AND not-too-bulky physique…
- Efficient programs that get you results without requiring you to be in the gym all the time
Then training like an MMA fighter is a SMART way to go, since success in the sport requires developing these traits (and more) and doing so as EFFICIENTLY as possible.
Pro fighters have so much other training to do, they can't afford to waste time or energy and I'm guessing, neither can you.
However, training like this involves WORK.
If you're afraid of PUSHING yourself, read no further.
I'm not going to sugar coat it - when it's time to work, you've got to be focused and put in 100% effort.
If you're used to half-assing it, you're wasting your time.
When you train 2-3 days/week like I recommend, you've got to give it your all each time.
If you're ready to do this, then let's talk about the 3 common pitfalls most people make so you can continue making gains without getting stuck on a plateau.
Not Changing Your Workouts
Not Changing Your Workouts
Do you know the story of Milo and the bull?
The one where he carries a calf everyday and as the calf grows, his strength grows with it?
Well, it's bull-shit.
This story illustrates the concept of progressive overload, but the thing is, progressive overload only works for so long before you hit a plateau.
This method is also the one most commonly associated with overuse injuries like tendonitis, because you're doing the same movements over and over with increasing loads.
Not to mention the fact that this can get pretty stale after a while and missing workouts becomes an increasingly attractive option.
But again, this method DOES work, for a while, but maybe only a year or so at most if you're brand new to working out.
So, other basic variables to manipulate to ensure you're making gains include:
- Your targeted rep range
- The rep speed
- Rest times
- # of sets
- The exercises you choose
- The order you perform the exercises
And some more advanced methods to make use of:
- Station vs. Superset vs. Circuit training
- Complex and Contrast training
- Density training
- Neuromuscular Potentiation
- And many more...
As you can see, there's more to making continued progress than just adding weight to the bar and if you want to make gains faster and with less injury potential, then using these other methods is for you.
So if you've been doing the same workout over and over, it's time to freshen things up.
But just make sure you don't make mistake #2...
Changing Your Workouts Too Often
Changing Your Workouts Too Often
On the other end of the spectrum is changing your workouts too often.
Some people do something different every time, because they want to "confuse" their muscles.
But what happens with muscle confusion is the same as when anybody is confused - they don't know what to do so they don't do anything.
To make gains in strength, power or conditioning, your body has to do at least 1 of 3 things:
- Increase muscle size (hypertrophy)
- Improve metabolic efficiency
- Improve neuromuscular efficiency
Metabolic efficiency has to do with the various factors that relate to energy production and oxygen transport, so these factors are related mostly to endurance and conditioning. Things like how much oxygen your lungs can extract from the air you inhale, how dense the little "batteries" in your muscle cells are (called mitochondria), etc...
Neuromuscular efficiency has to do with the ability to efficiently activate a muscle or muscles, which includes the ability for your motor units to synchronize and shutting off muscles that shouldn't be working.
The problem with changing your workouts up too often is that hypertrophy and the metabolic and neuromuscular adaptations take time and require you to repeatedly stimulate these adaptations before they occur and more importantly, stick.
Again, beginners will make gains doing anything, so this is to those of you who have a year or more of training under their belt. [If you are a beginner, stop now and just start doing SOMETHING - it doesn't matter. Do that for a year then come back and talk to me]
But for the rest of us, we need to strike the right balance between not changing up our workouts at all and changing them up too often.
The solution is to change your training program every month.
Each month, change one or more of the variables or use a new advanced method listed above in Pitfall #1 and you'll be giving your body enough variety to break through the plateau, but also giving it enough time to adapt.
You could go a bit longer (up to 8 weeks) or a bit shorter (as little as 3 weeks) but a month is a good anchor to remind yourself it's time to switch things up and it works on both a physiological and psychological level.
Does this all make sense so far?
Now, if you want to make the fastest gains possible, you've got to understand Pitfall #3...
Not Applying Proper Periodization
Not Applying Proper Periodization
Periodization is the science of building entire workout programs so that each ability trained leads physio-logically into the next.
I talk constantly about this concept because it's important to making the fastest gains possible and it's a concept that most programs you'll find online neglect.
When it comes to training fighters, I follow a structure that looks like this:
- Base Conditioning
- Power Endurance
Both strength and conditioning workouts reflect the structure they're in.
When it comes to exercises, you can only focus on building 1 or 2 exercises each workout, because after that, you won't have the juice to make gains.
So in Month 1, my exercise selection might look like this:
Day 1: Back Squat, Overhead Press
Day 2: Stiff-leg Deadlift, 1-arm Row
In Month 2, the 2 days might look like this:
Day 1: Deadlift, Bench Press
Day 2: Pullups, Reverse Lunge
There are MANY reasons why I've chosen the preceding pairs but just looking at them , you can see that all of the movement patterns are addressed, the program is balanced and all of the muscle groups of the body are trained despite the fact that there are no isolation exercises.
The rep ranges would also change from Month 1 to Month 2 and of course, I'd add supplementary exercises to ensure maintenance of the previous month's adaptations.
How's that for EFFICIENCY?
So there you have the 3 Common Program Pitfalls and now, you know how to avoid them and what to do instead.
And if it's efficiency you're after, here's a thought:
Outsource Your Program Design
In business, outsourcing is all the rage these days...
Because it's a cost-effective way to get things done, whether that's to grow your business (outsourcing your web design) or save time (hiring someone to clean your house).
So instead of trying to figure this out all on your own, which probably isn't your background or strength, why not outsource your program design to me?
That way I can worry about ensuring you've got everything you need to reach your goals and you don't have to waste any more time plowing through the endless streams of information online and still end up confused about the best way to achieve your goals.
If this sounds good to you, I invite you to join powerDOJO today.
The key feature inside powerDOJO that relates to what we've talked about in this article is the Workout of the Month.
Each and every month you'll get a brand new workout that includes your strength training program, which includes either a 2 or 3 day per week workout, as well as a conditioning program, which includes specific steady state, interval or CAGE Cardio workouts, depending on the program.
Either way, you won't be required to workout more than 3 days/week and one of those sessions might be just a CAGE Cardio workout that will take under 30 minutes (including warmup).
Each WoM also includes a PDF outlining the details and science behind the program and instructional videos so you can do everything properly.
Following the WoM makes sure you avoid the 3 pitfalls we covered above and allows you to tap into my 9+ years of training MMA fighters - guys who need the most effective and efficient workouts available.
Imagine the benefits of getting a NEW workout from me each and EVERY month?
I can tell you that it's not just the workout, but the motivation to keep up knowing the next workout is coming that ensures you make the best gains possible.
And best of all, powerDOJO isn't anywhere near my $125 per hour rate for Personal Training...
Nor is it near my $500 flat rate for an 8-week Program Design.
Instead, you can hire me as your S&C coach, get a new workout every month and make consistent gains in strength, power and conditioning for just
$39 per month.
Until Friday, July 24, save $10 off the regular monthly rate and pay just $29 per month - get in now and lock this special rate in as long as you remain a member:
Plus, Every Month, Compete
in the KUMITE
I remember the first time I was exposed to the idea of a Kumite, which was in the movie Bloodsport starring the one, the only, Jean-Claude Van Damme…
The most famous type of Kumite is the 100-man version, which is an EXTREME test of physical and mental endurance where one man goes 100 rounds against similarly or higher-ranked opponents, with a new opponent each round.
Inside powerDOJO, each WoM includes a “KUMITE” that will test your physical and mental endurance and have you pushing yourself to new heights you never thought possible as you battle both yourself and fellow members for supremacy.
And aside from the incentives of reaching new physical heights and the intrinsic satisfaction of pushing past your limits, winners will be awarded each month with various prizes to recognize their achievements.
Want To Take A Peek Inside?
These Are Some Of The Features You
Get as a powerDOJO Member:
Get as a powerDOJO Member:
Here's What Current Members Have To Say:
Structure is a huge benefit. I like how this takes someone from various experience and fitness levels and builds us in a standardized, yet also personalized way.Tim Parisi
The community is huge, as it gives a great perspective on personal progress and motivation to push yourself.
My personal progress has been awesome. My physical prime was back in high school over a decade ago. Since then, i have let myself slip. In the DOJO I have not only caught back up, but am surpassing that level of strength and performance.
powerDOJO has helped me develop the consistency and commitment to constant improvement through the community and tools such as the workout tracker.
Meza, AZ, USA
I’m just beginning my workouts, but so far I have noticed that I am more motivated to workout because I feel like I am actually doing something instead of just going to the weight room & throwing a few weights around.Jerry K, 56 years old
I like the instructional videos most in powerDOJO.
I recommend powerDOJO to anybody that is serious about getting in shape. powerDOJO is well worth the money.
I’ve experienced increased strength, size and stamina & lots of fun.Riccardo V
I love the WoM and the Forum.
I recommend anyone who wants to have fun, but effective workouts and would like to be part of a fantastic community that can help you push over your limits to join powerDOJO.
There’s lots of info available and Eric will answer any question promptly.
I also just want to stress how awesome the community in pD is.