If you’re stuck in a rut with your routine, then you’ll know that this is no fun. One of the things that makes weight training so rewarding and so addictive, is the fact that you can see yourself improve week on week. Whether that’s just looking a little better in the mirror, measuring your biceps and seeing them come out at an inch larger, or breaking your 1 rep max on the bench press it’s just a great high. It’s the very same principle that makes playing Pokemon so addictive – every time you think you’re done, you get a little buzz from seeing Pikachu level up and you decide you’re going to put in another 10 minutes to see if you can get even tougher.
The fact that bodybuilding translates to improvements in your real life too though only makes matters that much sweeter.
When you’re stuck in a rut though and when you’ve hit a plateau, you’ll find yourself coming out the gym time after time looking no different from before. You can bust your gut and yet you have nothing to show for all your hard work. So what do you do about it?
There are a few options. It might mean changing up your routine, it might mean taking a deload week, but we’ve got something new for you instead. It’s called ‘microloading’.
What is Microloading?
The idea behind microloading is simple: you take something called a ‘fractional plate’ and you add it to your lifts. In fact, you don’t even need to know about it and if you have a good spotter you can ask them to add the fractional plates secretly when you least expect it.
Fractional plates are simply weight plates except they weigh just half a pound. That’s barely anything – you can lift it easily between your finger and thumb; but that’s the point.
What this then allows you to do, is to increase your lift so fractionally, that you barely even notice. It’s essentially tricking your body. If you can bench 150lbs, then you can bench 151lbs no argument. This is especially true seeing as small changes are less perceptible to the muscles as we reach higher weights. But it also means you just broke your plateau, without even knowing it.
And what if you increase your load by one single pound each week? It means that in 300 weeks you’d have just added 300lbs. That’s six years.
This is very similar to the way that ninjas (reportedly) used to train their jumping height. They would plant a sunflower in the garden and then jump over it every day. Gradually the sunflower grew taller and by the end, they were able to leap meters in the air.
Okay, so we don’t know if the sunflower thing is true or not (probably not). But microloading is the real deal and it’s worth trying out if you’re stuck and can’t get past your current 1RM.
The best bit? Fractional plates are super cheap and easy to carry around with you!