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How to Break Through Fitness Plateaus

One of the most common mistakes of regular exercisers is that we are creatures of habit: we tend to find something we like and stay with that. This is most common when observing the cardio rooms of most gyms where you will generally see the same people doing the same machine each workout. Most people tend to stay with the same routine, same intensity, program and pattern of movement on that one piece of fitness equipment. This can lead to several problems; the most common is referred to as a plateau.

Once you first start an exercise routine, the body has to adapt to whatever you choose to do and it is hard, which has the benefit of burning calories at a high rate. However, over time, the body adapts (gets used to) the pattern of movement and the calorie burning drops off for the same amount of time invested.  One of the easiest solutions is to change your choice of fitness equipment on a regular basis (every 4-6 week of regular exercise).

However, if you are lucky enough to have access to the Cybex Arc Trainer, the same machine offers 3 very unique and distinctive ways to break the plateau and add great variety to your workouts.

Here are some ideas to help you mix it up and keep your body guessing…

  1. Change the program! Just trying a new program is one of the simplest ways to add variety to your workout. If you are really motivated, use manual and make the changes in intensity on your own.
  2. Change the intensity! Remember the Arc offers a very low starting resistance to an elite athlete challenging resistance and everything in-between.
  3. The best for last – Change the elevation! Glide, stride and climb…low incline is a gliding motion similar to a cross country ski machine, low to mid range elevation gives you a striding motion that feels like running or walking and high elevation offers a climbing experience. Changing elevation is one of the most effective ways to change your workout.

Changing at least one of the above and combining any of the above (try all 3) on a regular basis will ensure the body receives different physiological variations with different intensity levels and rest intervals. This variation will also ensure mechanical changes with different combinations of hip and knee joint movements which allow the user to shift emphasis to the quads or glutes.

Dr. Mark Slavin
Director of International Training, RTS
Guest Blogger