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Default Seven Ways to Break Thru a Plateau
by BendtheBar 06-25-2014, 12:44 PM

Have you ever hit a point in your training where
no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to
add any weight to the bar?

Perhaps you’re trying to hit a new PR – 200 pounds
in the press – 250 pounds in the clean and push
press – 300 pounds in the bench press – 400 pounds
in the squat – or 500 pounds in the deadlift.

And no matter what you do, and how hard you try, you
always get stuck five or ten pounds below your Magic

It’s a very common problem – happens to lifters all
the time – so let’s talk about it.

I received an email last night from Chris Fleming –
one of our many hard-charging, hard-training Dinos.
He’s experiencing exactly this problem.

Here’s what he said:


How do you handle the dreaded plateau? Keep shooting
for a weight you can’t quite get?

Or take weight off the bar and shoot for extra reps
at that weight?

Or both?

I’ve been stuck at 245 on the clean and push press for
almost one and a half months and can’t seem to get to
the short-term goal of 250 overhead.

How would you go after it?

Chris Fleming”

Hi Chris,

Excellent question. Here are some points to consider.

1. Success breeds success, and failure breeds failure.

If you keep on trying and missing that 250-pound lift,
you’re just setting up a negative mental state. You’re
making the weight seem more and more difficult. So
don’t do that.

Instead, do more reps in the 220 – 230 – 240 range.
Doubles at 220 and 230 – and multiple singles at
240. Make every lift. Cultivate the success habit.

2. You absolutely are strong enough to make this lift

You’re hitting 245 easily, and 245 is only 5 pounds
less than 250. Percentage-wise, 245 pounds is 98%
of 250 pounds. So you’re just five pounds or 2%
behind that 250.

Everyone has a huge strength reserve in their body –
way more than 5 pounds or 2%. If your life – or the
life of a loved one – hung in the balance, you could
press 260 – 270 – or 280 pounds easily.

Similarly – if we were training together, and I loaded
the bar to 250 pounds and told you it was 240 pounds,
you’d lift it easily.

3. Focus on 5 pounds – not on 250 pounds.

When Doug Hepburn was facing the same sort of situation
that you are facing, he’d pick up two 2 ½ pound plates
and look at them and say, “You are SMALL! I am WAY
STRONGER than you are! I’m not going to let two tiny
little plates keep me from making my next lift.”

4. Divide and conquer.

Try doing power cleans with no push press – and then do
push press off the rack (or off of your squat stands).
You may find you can clean more than 250 – and push
press more than 250 off the rack. Then it’s just a
simple matter of putting the two together.

5. Play with your plates.

Do NOT always load the bar the same way, with the same
plates, to get to 250 pounds. You are creating a mental
image of what 250 pounds looks like – and every time you
see it, you start to psyche yourself out. Load the bar
with different plates and it won’t look as heavy to you.

The first time I push pressed 300 pounds, I was training
in a basement with low ceilings. I had to load the bar
with 25’s in order to have enough room to hold it overhead.
I ran out of enough small plates, and had to finish up by
tying some small exercise plates to my OL bar – and then
had to add a small length of log chain to each end, held
on with tape.

It was a Christmas Tree Barbell!

And the great thing was – when I looked at the bar, I had
no idea what it weighed. It took five minutes to count
the plates and chains and things and add it all up.

So the barbell did not “look” like it weighed 300 pounds –
and that made all the difference.

6. Visualization.

Practice visualization – as described in Dinosaur Training
and in Strength, Muscle and Power. Picture yourself hitting
that 250 pound lift. Create a mental movie – make it as
detailed and as vivid as possible – and play it over and

7. Write it down – and say it.

Take a note-card and write 250 POUNDS on it. Put it in your
pocket and carry it around with you. Take it out and look
at it throughout the day – and tell yourself “I WILL LIFT
250 POUNDS! I WILL do it. I will clean it – and push press
it. I will clean it, and drive it high over head. I will
lift it easily. I am strong, I am powerful, I am fast, and
I am determined. I WILL do this!”

There you have it – seven super effective plateau busters.
And they’re guaranteed to work. Every lifting champion uses

And know this. I absolutely KNOW that you’re going to make
the 250 pound clean and push press. There is NO WAY that
it is not going to happen.

So go out there and get it – use the tips here – and make
the lift.

Report back when you’ve nailed the scalp to the wall of
your lifting quarters.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more ideas on breaking through training plateaus,
try these:

Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and

Strength, Muscle and Power

Destroy That Which Destroys You

"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."

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Old 06-25-2014, 04:49 PM   #2
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