Everyone hits a plateau at some point in their training.
If you feel like your big lifts have plateaued, try this 50-rep workout method to help you break through and potentially add 10kg to your lifts.
In all honesty, hitting a training plateau is not a big deal. It’s basically your body’s way of telling you that it has adapted to the training demands and it might be time to increase the intensity. That’s why you should be basing your training program around the principles of fitness – progressive overload in particular.
Progressive overload is the process of gradually increasing the volume, intensity, frequency or time of your exercises. It stops your body from getting used to the training demands and provides the stimulus that is necessary for breaking through your plateau. This principle of fitness could very well be the main factor for increasing your muscle strength and size.
The 50-Rep Workout Method
When you’ve hit a plateau, don’t get discouraged by it. Simply switch up your approach and keep going. You can try this 50-rep workout method 2-3 times per week until you have broken through your plateau. As you might have guessed from the name, this workout method consists of doing 5 sets of 10 reps for a particular exercise. This method is similar in its approach to the German Volume Training (GVT), which uses 10 sets of 10 reps.
But actually, research has shown that 5 sets of 10 reps might actually be a better way to produce great results. In this 6-week study, researchers from the University of Sydney looked at the effectiveness of the 50-rep workout method. They compared it to GVT and found that doing 5 sets of 10 reps added 0.5kg more of lean muscle. The study also favoured the 50-rep workout method for producing more muscle strength gains. These were the exercises that they tested:
Subjects managed to increase their 1RM by 11 kg on average, compared to 6 kg with GVT.
Subjects managed to increase their 1RM by 5.9 kg using the 50-rep workout method.
Subjects 1RM increased by oer 24 kg when using the 50-rep workout method – almost 11 kg more than with GVT.
In this particular study, the researchers concluded that doing exercises over 5-sets can actually be counterproductive. It seems that the GVT method is no more effective than doing the 50-rep workout method for increasing muscle hypertrophy and strength. To maximize muscle and strength growth they recommend doing 4–6 sets per exercise, as it seems gains will plateau beyond this set range and may even regress due to overtraining.
So, if you’ve hit a training plateau, give this 50-rep workout method a try and you should be able to break through it.