Hit A Ceiling In The Gym? Here’s How To Blow Through It By Breaking Up With Bench Press, Squat, And Deadlift
We need to talk.
These four little words, when uttered by your girl, can strike fear into any bro’s heart. Your first thoughts are either, “please don’t be preggers” or “she wants to break up.”
Whatever it is, you have a pretty good sense that is not a talk you want to have.
From one bro to another, we need to talk.
Chill out, I’m not preggers, that would be weird in the first place and unless I was shooting the sequel to Junior, not freaking possible.
It is, however, time for a breakup. A breakup from the bench press, squat, and deadlift.
Look it’s not long-term, it’s just a “for now” thing. Actually, this will help you in the long run. You will come out of this stronger and better than before, believe me.
God, writing that brought up some old memories of the worst break up lines I ever heard. Bring me whiskey, I have memories to drown.
Truth is, as heart wrenching as it sounds, breaking up with the bench press, deadlift and back squat for 4-8 weeks will actually make you stronger when you return to them.
After a breakup sometimes you just need to enjoy being single. By single, I mean single leg training.
Single leg exercises or unilateral movements provide an intense training stimulus to your muscles. Instead of having two legs to do the work you are forcing one set of muscles to pick up the slack. This means more calories burned, more strain on the muscle(s), and more strength built overall.
You split with the back squat, so for the next few weeks focus on barbell split squats.
Split squats are great for developing your quads as well as lighting a fire of glorious pain in your glutes. Find a heavy weight where 8 reps are challenging then perform 4 sets of 6-8 reps after that. Each week add 5 pounds to your previous weight and in 4-8 weeks watch your squat numbers increase, not to mention those sweet glutes gains.
Deadlifting is the hardest lift to break up with. Deadlifts are beautiful, like Jennifer Aniston, and who the hell would break up with Aniston?
Taking a break from conventional or sumo deadlifting is a smart move from a central nervous standpoint. Deadlifts are pretty taxing on your CNS and cutting it out can actually give your CNS time to recover from the shock of ripping 400 pounds of the floor consistently.
How do you enjoy the single life when you have broken up with deadlifts? You enjoy it the only way possible, single leg hip thrusts.
I highly suggest starting these with your bodyweight only, then advancing to using a band, then a dumbbell, and then a barbell. Trust me, single leg hip thrusts sound easy but they will test your grit.
Two quick tips while doing these:
- Avoid digging your elbows into the bench and putting weight on them to help push yourself off. When you do that you are actually making it easier and taking precious strength and muscle gains away from your glutes.
- Push your knees out, especially for the leg doing the work, don’t let your knee(s) cave in.
What about the bench press?
Of course, I mention break up with the bench press and the whole world starts to think I am crazy. I am but that’s a different story.
Taking a break from barbell bench press and switching up to dumbbells or even switching to weighted push-ups can give your chest, especially your shoulders, a much need break. This time off will allow them to heal and come back stronger than ever.
Single arm dumbbell bench presses will not only help with strength imbalances that you may have but to keep your body from sliding off the bench, you will need to engage your core to stay stable. It’s like a sneaky ninja ab workout!
While you are on the break, have some fun with one arm dumbbell floor presses as well.
You can go a little heavier with floor presses as your range of motion is smaller but these will help add power and strength to the most common sticking point all bench pressers have, getting the bar off the chest.
As much as breakups suck, they can be a great time for you to learn more about yourself and discover new strengths. These single leg or unilateral movements will not only burn loads of calories, and stimulate more muscle growth but they will help your strength gains when you return to the big lifts.
Break up with the big lifts for 4- 8 weeks and enjoy the single life for a bit. You’ll be stronger in the end, trust me.