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Stagnation in bodybuilding

Stagnation in bodybuilding


When we start practicing a sport, the early stages are associated with a great phase of progression. The body is receptive to all the information and stimuli it receives. The body adapts, progresses and, in the case of bodybuilding, these adaptations translate into increased strength, volume and muscular endurance.

However, after the first few months of practice, the practitioner will experience a period of stagnation. Progress, even if initially rapid, is not linear. It occurs in stages.

At first, the muscles involved progress in strength, then endurance and finally muscle size.

When do you know you're in a stagnation phase, and what are the reasons for it?

When you practice bodybuilding and you no longer progress either in strength or in volume, or even when you notice that you are regressing, then there is a good chance that you are in a stagnation phase .

As mentioned above, stagnation is virtually unavoidable, as progress is not constant. The next step is to identify the reasons for stagnation, which can be many and varied:

  1. The lack offorce

In the early stages of bodybuilding, muscles are not used to being stimulated with loads, and so in order to "handle" the workload placed on them, they need to gain strength. After a while, if you don't work specifically on strength, you won't make it to the next level.

  1. Unsuitable nutrition or diet

Nutrition is an integral part of bodybuilding training. The quality of your physique, but also the quality of your training, depends on what you eat. Food is your energy source for intense training, and your muscle builder, providing the protein you need to build and repair muscle.

  1. Training

Well-thought-out training is a source of progress. In fact, the way in which you organize and structure your workouts will have an impact on your progress. It's important to think about the exercises you choose, and the order in which you do them, to optimize stimulation of the muscles you're working. The techniques you use will enable you to progress or overcome stagnation.

  1. Rest or neglected recovery

Just as training is important for progression, so is rest in bodybuilding. In fact, the muscle needs a certain amount of time between each session targeting the same muscle, before being stimulated again. During training sessions, the muscle undergoes micro-trauma (microtears). It takes several days for these micro-tears to be completely resorbed. If recovery times are not respected, there's a risk of overtraining, which is obviously a hindrance to progress and even a risk of regression.

It is therefore essential to respect a certain interval between two sessions for the same muscle group.

More generally, you need to get as much rest as possible outside training periods, i.e. 7 to 8 hours' sleep, because it's during sleep that muscle-building hormones (growth hormones, testosterone) are secreted. They enable the repair and construction of muscle fibres.

What to do when you encounter a period of stagnation?

First of all, you need to check that your diet is correctly balanced and contains sufficient carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. You need 35% protein, 50% carbohydrates and 15% fat.

As far as training is concerned, as long as you're making progress, there's no reason to change. However, you should still focus on basic exercises, which are more conducive to building muscle and gaining strength. As soon as you reach this stagnation phase, it's time to change. You'll have the choice of changing the choice of exercises used, or altering the order in which they are performed. Think about incorporating intensification techniques (superset, tri set, decreasing series, etc.) which can shake up muscle gain.

It's also important to work in cycles, which will force your body to adapt constantly. It's impossible to work in the same way all year round without running the risk of fatigue, muscular exhaustion if you only work at high volume, or neuromuscular exhaustion if you only work on strength. All this would inevitably lead to stagnation.

Finally, rest is one of the keys to success in bodybuilding. If you train like a dog without ever allowing yourself enough recovery time between two workouts for the same muscle, chances are you'll end up overtraining for that group. Overtraining will lead to stagnation or even regression. So don't neglect rest in bodybuilding.

In conclusion, the muscle stagnationIs multifactorial. A diet not rich enough in nutrients won't allow muscles to adapt and recover from the stresses of training. A lack of protein or carbohydrates is detrimental to muscle development, and can lead to stagnation.

The same applies if your training is not sufficiently structured. Thoughtful training with cycles (strength, hypertrophy, power), incorporating intensification techniques to stimulate muscle growth, will avoid or minimize periods of stagnation.

Finally, rest is essential for building muscle. Well thought-out and respected rest phases will be a source of muscular growth and will also minimize stagnation phases. The more time muscles have to recover, the fresher and more available they will be to support intensive training. Intensive training will stimulate the muscle growth that will lead you to the muscular physique you're looking for.

Coach's advice on muscle stagnation

Eat correctly and sufficiently, train cyclically and add intensity, without forgetting to respect the rest periods necessary for proper recovery and to minimize stagnation phases. Stagnation phases are, however, almost obligatory, so apply these tips to boost your progress.

AuthorAlexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his bodybuilding experience with MegaGear blog readers