10 Exercise Plateau Busters

By on March 19, 2015

A week rarely passes where I’m not asked, “what’s the best exercise for (insert goal or body part)?” and people are always surprised by my answer. That’s almost certainly because my answer is “you’re asking the wrong question.”


Are some glute or ab exercises more effective than others? Yes … but the exercises you perform are not nearly as important as the variable in which you perform them.

In plain English, variety is the key to achieving ongoing results and never plateauing. Your body only improves when it is challenged and then forced to adapt. Most people stick to the same ol’ workouts where they do something along the lines of 3 sets of 10-12 reps per exercise with 2-3 minutes rest between sets, but quickly start to see their results come to a screeching halt.

Example: Your body can barely tell the difference between doing 3 sets of 12 repetitions of dumbbell squats vs. barbell squats; however, your body will be challenged to no end if one week you did 1 set of 50 dumbbell squats and then 10 sets of 3 repetitions with heavy weight the next week.

Here are 10 exercise plateau busters to spice up your routine and keep the results coming:

1. Try 10 sets of 3 with a medium weight, resting only 20 seconds between sets.

2. Try using a heavier weight and complete 5 sets of 5 reps. This is great for building strength and lean (not bulky) muscle.

3. Try using a near maximum weight and do 10 sets of 1 rep, with 90 seconds rest between sets.

4. Try using a lighter than normal weight and do 1 set of 50 reps for each exercise.

5. Try a workout based on only one full body exercise, such as barbell clean & presses or dumbbell squat & presses, and do nothing but that exercise for an intense 20 minutes.

6. Try a circuit of 12 different exercises covering the entire body without any rest between exercises.

7. Try that same 12 exercise circuit on your subsequent workout, but do the entire circuit in the reverse order.

8. Try your usual exercises at a faster repetition speed on one workout and then at a super-slow speed on your next workout.

9. Try completing five 30 minute workouts one week, followed by three 1-hr workouts the next week.

10. Try doing drop sets of all of your exercises, where you drop the weight between each set and keep doing repetitions without any rest until complete muscular fatigue (usually about 5-6 sets in a row).