3 Simple Changes Helped This Guy Overcome a Muscle-Building Plateau

In a recent video, fitness YouTuber Mario Tomic shares his experience as a “hardgainer” and explains some of the mistakes he made as a beginner in the gym that affected his progress, and hold back many people from achieving the results they want. Unlearning these preconceived notions, he says, was crucial to growing muscle and building strength in a consistent, sustainable way.

Neglecting form

“I thought form was something you learned in the first few weeks of a program,” he says. “But I was very wrong, because over time, as I kept adding reps and weight, I was also cheating on the range of motion. My form was changing, I wasn’t controlling the weight as much. Over time, slowly but surely, I ended up in a situation where I was doing everything with poor form, with lots of momentum, and I was stuck.”

“You must standardize your repetition to a high quality,” he says. “This is one of the hardest things to do as you focus on progressive overload, because ego takes over.” And while everyone hates to see a plateau, Tomic believes sometimes it’s necessary to take a step backward in terms of weight to work on your technique before you can move forward and achieve real progress.

Chasing exhaustion

While training to exhaustion in every single workout might feel like the right and obvious way to build muscle, in practice, we all know it’s a little more complicated than that. Volume, intensity, technique, overload, and rest/recovery are all factors that require your attention.

“I’ve noticed some serious gains simply by resting more between sets,” says Tomic, “by treating sets like a strength training session rather than a cardio session.”

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Training inconsistently

Tomic used to switch up his workout program and split based on what he was reading and what was recommended to him. “It was very random, it was all based on how I felt that day, it wasn’t very strategic, it wasn’t very systematic,” he says. “It made it really hard for me to know whether I was progressing or not… you don’t know if you’re overtraining or undertraining.”

Now, Tomic knows that each program necessitates a learning phase where he must acclimate to the movements, before he is able to progress and more accurately track his performance. “There is a form of commitment you have to have,” he says. “I think a lot of people fall into that trap of trying gimmicks, tricks and adjustments, which tamper with your data… Be very careful with these subjective measurements.”

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