Reaching a plateau

By: Tom McAleese, CPT, Nov 09, 2010

Why can’t I increase my weights at the gym anymore?

Strength training hit a wall? Your weights may be too light or too heavy.

  This is a common complaint from many people who work out frequently.  Sooner or later, your body reaches a plateau and muscle growth is hard to stimulate past this point.  This is a combination of many factors.   You may be doing too much cardio along with your resistance training – this uses up valuable calories your body needs to build muscle.  Often, people don’t switch up their routines or they use weights that are either too light or too heavy.  Furthermore, all those new workout devices like stability balls are good for the core but limit the weight you can use, preventing muscle growth.  You don’t see Arnold or Sly doing bench presses on stability balls……

  Using weights that are too light do not challenge your muscles to adapt and therefore limit growth while using weights that are too heavy may be preventing you from getting in enough reps to spur growth and your form may not be correct either.

  Try sticking to proven mass building, multi-joint exercises like Squats, Deadlifts, Overhead Barbell Presses and Barbell Curls.  The more muscles you recruit, the more muscle you’ll grow.  Follow these exercises with a couple of isolation exercises to round out your routine and watch the muscle grow!


1)       Squat --- 3 sets, 8 - 12 reps

2)      Deadlift --- 3 sets, 8 – 12 reps

3)      Leg Extensions --- 4 sets, 15 reps

4)      Leg Curl ---4 sets, 15 reps


Tom McAleese is a Can-Fit Pro certified personal trainer since 2009 and Transportation Technology teacher since 1997. He is now the owner and operator of Diamond Fitness Personal Training in Simcoe, Ontario. Tom can be reached at: 519-410-2713 or