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Getting past a sticking point

Sometimes after training for a while, all the gains seem to stop. This is because your body gets accustomed to the exercises you are doing and stops responding. The best way to get past a stale or sticking point is to make a radical change in your training. For example, if youíve been doing high reps (12 or higher) with relatively light weights, try switching to lower reps with heavier weights, and vice versa. As soon as you notice a routineís effects start to fade, change it. This usually occurs every 4 to 8 weeks.

Between 6 and 12 reps

The ideal rep range for building is between 6 and 12 reps although you can occasionally go higher or lower than this. Anything below six reps generally increases strength more than size and is good for strengthening tendons, ligaments, and even the bones. Above 12 reps will get a good pump, but not much for results as the weight you would have to use would be too light to really build.

Make every set count

For all sets, you should use as much weight as possible that still allows you to get the desired number of reps. If you get the desired number fairly easily, do one or two more. IE: If you are trying for 10 reps, and you get 10 reps without much struggle, keep going for one or two more and raise the weight on the next set. Three good intense sets are far better than twelve "going through the motions" sets. Do each set like itís your last and give it everything youíve got. If the program calls for 8 to 10 reps, choose a weight that you can get 8 reps with and try to squeeze out 10.

Eat!

If you are training for size, eat lots, and remember that fat is NOT an enemy. Eat lots of protein rich foods such as steak, chicken, turkey, fish etc. and complex carbohydrate foods like rice, pasta, vegetables, etc. Try to keep the fat levels down but donít eliminate fat from your diet. It takes some fat in your diet to get your body to burn that fat it has. It works as kind of a "kindling" to start the fat burning process. If you totally eliminate fat, your body will try to save every little bit it has.

Sleep

Sleep plays an important part in building muscle, thatís when all the building takes place. Try to get as much sleep as you need, for most adults this will be at least 7 hours a night and probably more.