Athletes and health enthusiasts are often devastated when they hit the proverbial training plateau and are no longer seeing gains.

For those that are ready to once again get on track, here are 17 options that may be used to put an end to poor muscle gains.

1. Switch to Multi-Joint Movements

Multi-joint movements, also referred to as functional movements, are the easiest way to blast through plateaus caused by isolated movements such as curls.

2. Cut the Cardio

For those that want to gain muscle fast, it is almost mandatory to cut back on the cardio. Typically, 4 or 5 minutes to warm-up and cool down is ideal and with a few minutes of stretching before hitting the weights.

3. Increase Your Calories

Those looking to gain serious muscle should set a goal of around 1 to 2 pounds per week, and this will generally require around 4,000 extra calories per week in order to accomplish

4. Go for Quality Supplements

While it may seem easier to head into a store and pick up the first bottle of creatine or protein that one sees, failing to do research on supplement choices could be holding a lifter back.

5. Protein Load before Lifting

Everyone should have a protein and carb-heavy snack or shake ready for after their workout, but splitting the intake of protein and carbs before and after lifting will help the body metabolize the nutrients more efficiently.

6. Cut Resting Time between Sets

Countless studies have shown that maximum gains are achieved when the rest between sets is cut to a minimum. Lifters should be shooting for around 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

7. Switch to Free Weights

Machines are a great option for isolating a muscle group, but free weights are going to activate countless stabilizing muscles and lead to healthier and more effective movements in the long run.

8. Implement Supersets

For those that are lifting heavy, an ideal superset will maximize the amount of energy expended by a muscle with an isolated movement followed by a multi-joint movement.

9. End Heavy Lifting Days with Drop Sets

During workouts that are mentally taxing, adding a drop set by lowering weight after each set is a good way to add in some extra work and break past mental barriers.

10. Change Your Training Time

Standing in line for machines or waiting for certain barbells is a surefire way to wreck one’s motivation at the gym as well as put a halt to their momentum when training. Lifters should consider workout out at off-hour times.

11. Work On Your Weak Spots

When a workout seems difficult, it is often a great indicator of a weakened body part that needs to be focused on. These are the areas of the body that should be hit the hardest.

12. Change to Thin-Soled Shoes

When there is less material between one’s feet and the floor, the body will be able to activate more muscles during each rep leading to better gains.

13. Ditch Wraps and Straps

Unless a body part has been injured or is extremely prone to injury, at which point a lifter should be rethinking their use of weights, wraps and straps are only going to handicap the body during each set.

14. Switch Your Grip

One of the easiest ways to switch up an exercise without starting from scratch is to alter one’s grip through each movement to see if it will stimulate any unused muscles.

15. Visualize Slow and Controlled Movements

The most effective way to maintain one’s form and minimize injuries is to visualize a slow and controlled movement before and during each set.

16. Give Muscle Groups 72 hours to Rest

The average muscle group needs a minimum of 72 hours to rest. After workouts that bring a lifter to complete failure, the ideal resting time for that muscle group is 5 to 7 days.

17. Rethink Hormone Balance

For those that over the age of 30, hormones may be wreaking havoc on their gains. Lifters should speak with their physician to see if they are dealing with a hormonal imbalance.

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