Stagnation or Plateauing in Bodybuilding Routines

Exercise has many obstacles that test our determination. One of these adverse factors is the stagnation of plateauing in bodybuilding routines, a situation that puzzles many. Learn all about it and how to prevent it in this article.
Stagnation or Plateauing in Bodybuilding Routines

Last update: 12 September, 2021

Training plans often begin perfectly, causing accelerated muscle growth in the first stages. However, after a few months of great results, the favorable changes tend to slow down to a standstill. This lack of physical evolution with the application of normal exercise is what’s known as stagnation or plateauing in bodybuilding routines.

The halt in muscle development can have a demotivating effect on many people, so making immediate adjustments to overcome the problem is essential. Of course, to be successful, you need to understand how muscles act in this process and establish strategies to break the detrimental adaptation.

Keep reading for solutions!

Why does muscle growth slow down?

For starters, the satisfactory variations in muscularity and strength that occur in the first few training sessions are due to the body receiving a new stimulus. As you add sessions, the muscles gradually adapt.

Therefore, there comes a point at which the habituated muscles don’t require a significant effort to overcome the routine, ceasing to perceive that additional demand that drives growth. Along with this, imbalances in the training-recovery relationship are also fundamental when it comes to plateauing in bodybuilding routines.

The main sign that a plateau has been reached in our physical conditioning is how easy it becomes to complete sets. Therefore, you need to be attentive to your body’s reaction and the feeling of wear and tear week after week. Monotony in the sequence of exercises is the central reason why muscles reduce or stagnate their growth.

A trampoline class.
Once exercises have become repetitive in your routine, the muscles involved tend to plateau.

Other factors that alter the training routine

This lack of progress isn’t only due to training without variations over time, but also to multiple external factors. With that in mind, we’ll describe how nutrition, lack of sleep, stress, and poor recovery can affect your hard work in the gym.

Eating problems

A poorly structured diet can be the reason for a lower muscle yield after training. You should be careful to ensure that the proportion of proteins and carbohydrates is in sufficient quantities.

In this sense, it’s important to keep proteins in a range between 0.8 and 2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. Protein increase is safe, according to studies published in the National Library of Medicine of the United States. In turn, you should include between 5 and 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day.

Lack of sleep

Respecting the number of hours of sleep that your body needs provides an immense contribution when it comes to keeping your muscles in good condition. Why is it so important? Well, because about 80% of growth hormone production occurs during the rest period.

Excess stress

The detrimental effects of stress are well known, and these include detrimental effects on the various muscle groups in your body. In simplified terms, stress is capable of increasing cortisol levels. This alteration can affect muscle growth by promoting the following consequences:

  • Increased appetite
  • Increased fat accumulation
  • Protein breakdown
  • The promotion of catabolism

Poor recovery

Overexertion is another factor that has an impact on stagnation in bodybuilding routines. It occurs when certain areas of the body are subjected to training with insufficient rest intervals, which leads to fatigue that reduces performance.

To counteract this, unloading is recommended, which consists of reducing the intensity of physical activity for a defined period of time. This will allow sufficient time for the recovery of maximum power. An unloading every 6 to 8 weeks could allow you to avoid the plateau.

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How to stop plateauing in bodybuilding routines

If stagnation in your bodybuilding routine has become a prolonged complication, you should make considerable variations in your sequence and include the following tips. Put these strategies into action!

Use short exercise plans

Plan different routines that you can vary so that the application of each one doesn’t exceed 3 months. In order not to fall into a plateau, you should use an exercise cycle of between 4 and 6 weeks, maintaining a regular rotation. Only this way will it be possible for the muscles to receive renewed stimuli.

Modify the repetitions to prevent plateauing in bodybuilding routines

Frequently changing repetitions and loads is a useful measure. How can you go about doing this? By interchanging, i.e., if you regularly opt for 4 sets of 8 repetitions, then transform your action with a higher load and do 3 sets of 6 repetitions.

Stimulate your muscles beforehand

Stimulation of the muscles -before the most demanding work- is crucial to achieving sustained growth. To do this, it’s good to do some spaced repetitions, but reducing the load of the classic exercise. This generates better results when you want to achieve changes in isolated muscles.

Increase your overall speed to prevent plateauing in bodybuilding routines

The total execution speed is a great ally to putting an end to plateauing in bodybuilding routines. It’s very simple to include it in your conditioning habits.

You just need to perform the repetitions in a fraction of the typical time that you usually do. As a result, you generate new stimuli, ensuring improvements in strength and size.

A man and a woman doing knee raises.
Increase your speed if you want to make changes to avoid plateauing in bodybuilding routines.

Have a range of exercises

The number of exercises you consider should be wide, as the central idea is for the muscles not to become accustomed to a certain workout. With this in mind, you should define the exercises by standard (invariable) and rotational (variable) categories.

This facilitates the task of reorganizing activities to avoid stagnation in bodybuilding routines. Among the standard options, the following can be considered:

  • Bench press
  • Deadweight
  • Free squat

You can prevent plateauing in bodybuilding routines

As a final note, modifying the angle of the exercises causes noticeable effects in favor of different stimuli that prevent the risk of plateauing in bodybuilding routines. Likewise, changes must be made regarding your preferred technique.

In addition to this, supplements are valid alternatives to increase the speed of recovery with the incorporation of nutrients that are absent in the diet. However, before taking them, you must consult with a specialist to evaluate the demands of your routine and the results you desire.

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