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12 Week Plateau Busting Training Program

Muscle Coach Training Programs

At Muscle Coach we recognise that one size does not fit all. Therefore we have formulated multiple variations of each training program depending on your training frequency. Typically people will get better results with higher training frequency especially if they are past the beginner training phase. However you can still get good results even if you are restricted to just three training sessions each week as long as you diet and supplement properly.

Click on the link to the training program that best suits your training frequency!

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Introduction to Training Plateaus

When you first hit the gym it really doesn’t matter what you do for your training or what you do for your diet, you are almost certain to get great results. However these newbie gains typically only last about 3-6 months and after that time period any and all muscle gains are going to require you to be much more deliberate with your diet and training program. There are many different strategies that you can employ to break through a plateau outside of the gym but the main way to break through a plateau is by altering your set, rep and exercise structure over specific time period as this provides the best stimulus for new muscle growth. The training program in this article is designed to help you break through to the next level of muscle size and strength.


The Key Reasons Why People Plateau
  • No deliberate macro workout exercise structure
  • No macro workout set or rep schemes
  • No time structure in the gym
  • No extended rest periods
  • No proper diet plan
No Deliberate Macro Workout Exercise Structure

When you first start going to the gym you are only thinking about what you are doing in that one particular gym session. However as you become a little more disciplined with your training you begin to plan your training scheduled based on some kind of 3, 4 or 5 day weekly training split and you probably have some kind of idea about what exercise you are going to do each training day of the week. This is where it ends for most people and it’s exactly why most people never achieve the really impressive physique that they envisioned when they first started training. Any serious bodybuilder, power lifter or athlete of any kind will view their training structure in terms of months or even years rather than just planning one day or one week at a time. The reason for this is that certain muscle and strength developments require a deliberate and progressively changing program structure over months and cannot be accomplished with consistent repetition of a rigid weekly program. What this means for your training program can depend on exactly what plateau you are trying to break through but if it is just a general muscle and strength plateau then the exercise variation between targeted compound and muscle fibre recruiting exercises in this training program is what you need.


No Macro Workout Set or Rep Schemes

Following on from the previous paragraph, a longer term training program structure for sets and reps, particularly reps is key for breaking through a plateau. Training in the same rep range every day can result in muscle tolerance which means less protein synthesis response and less muscle growth from exercise according to studies. At the same time varying your rep range in an unstructured or random way will result in improved but less than optimal results. This training program employs the strategy of progressive overload which in this program means decreasing your rep range over a period of 12 weeks but increasing the weight load every time the rep range is reduced. This is what it looks like:

  • Week 1-3: 10-12 reps
  • Week 4-6: 8-10 reps
  • Week 7-9: 6-8 reps
  • Week 10-12: 4-6 reps

This means that for every working set in your training program you want to be reaching failure once you have reached the required rep range for the given week of your training program. If you have a spotter you definitely don’t want to be relying on them to help you with more than one assisted failure rep. Too often people rely on spotters to help them with half their reps in every set, this is not beneficial. Also people use spotters who take a small portion of the weight throughout the whole set, again this is not beneficial. Using proper judgement to determine the correct weights to reach your required rep range for every set is a key part of this program.


No Time Structure in the Gym

Contrary to what your mates in the gym might think, there is a difference between doing all your exercises in 45 mins compared to doing all your exercises in 90 mins. Long breaks in between sets or extended long workouts can result in decreased blood flow to your muscles or less of a “pump”. Ultimately this can affect the hypertrophy of your training. Furthermore inconsistent time breaks in between your sets sends mixed messages to your body and you are therefore unlikely to get the desired result from your training. Get a stop watch and make a commitment to following a time structure during your training session. Most people training for hypertrophy will find workouts should only go for around 45-60mins.

  • Strength Training: 3-5 mins between sets
  • Hypertrophy Training: 2 mins between sets
  • Muscular Endurance Training: 45 seconds – 1.5 mins between sets
However when you are trying to break through a plateau it is beneficial to alter your rest time in between sets. In this program the following structure is recommended:
  • Week 1-3: 1-1.5 mins between sets
  • Week 4-6: 1.5-2 mins between sets
  • Week 7-9: 2-2.5 mins between sets
  • Week 10-12: 2.5-3 mins between sets
This means that you will be training with much higher volume in the beginning of the program than what you will be doing by the end of the program. This transition between high volume to low volume strength training is a significant part of what makes this program so effective for breaking through a plateau. It is therefore very important to keep the time with you through your whole training session otherwise you may find yourself spending far too long in the gym.



No Extended Rest Periods

Most people never take proper time off their training because rest time is counter intuitive to most people’s perception of what it takes to build muscle and strength. Most people who train are actually overtraining in some aspects of their program. However even if this is not the case, if you have consistently trained for a 12 week period then taking a full week rest may be the most anabolic thing that you can do. Taking a week off (with good diet) has the following benefits:

  • Full muscle glycogen replenishment
  • Full muscle tissue recovery
  • Central nervous system recovery
  • This leads to increase muscle size and strength


No Proper Diet Plan

No one starts out their training with any kind of strict diet plan because it just isn’t required when your first start lifting. However again, once you get past the first 3-6 months you will find your body requires much more deliberate fuelling in order to continue to make gains. This website contains many different diet plans that are ideal to use in conjunction with this training program. Make sure you use the plan finder to get yourself a diet plan today.


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