We all get stuck sometimes, but what you do when you get stuck can make all the difference. If you’ve been benching the same weight for months and attempts at increasing weight or reps have resulted in no change, you might be tempted to ditch the exercise, change your routine or generally start fucking around with things in ways you shouldn’t. Instead, all you may need is to make a small adjustment, like a change in grip, stance, or grip width. “Micro changes” could make all the difference and keep things progressing.
Instead of turning to rest, a rep scheme change or a complete overhaul of your routine next time you plateau consider making some very small changes first. Sometimes the tiniest, simplest adjustments can make all the difference. Mentally, this can be tough. You may have spent hundred of hours in the gym building up muscle memory and routines surrounding approaching each lift. You know exactly where your ring finger should be on the knurl when benching, how far your feet should be apart on the squat, the key to blasting through might be disrupting those habits.
Human bodies and uniquely shaped machines. From the length of your arms and legs, to the width of your torso and everything in between makes you you and makes your lifts unique in comparison to any form check videos you might be watching online. Those factors significantly influence how efficiently you will be able to perform a given exercise. There’s no “one true way” for everyone to perform a lift. There are generally accepted guidelines, but the specifics are where you’ll find what works for you.
Anecdotally, these “micro changes” have helped me get through several plateaus in the past. Slight changes in my grip width on bench press, elbow width, and wrist position helped me break through a 4 month stall. I’ve made similar progress by shaking up my deadlift and squat positions slightly.
So, next time you’re stalled out and considering making big changes to your workouts stop and try some small changes. Move your feet around, change your grip, just make some small changes and see where they take you.