In every athletic and strength-based endeavour, it is possible to hit a plateau. The plateau is a decrease in the progress of your results from your regular training. Plateaus can happen at any point (in our case, in any level), multiple times, and for a multitude of reasons. Plateaus happen to everyone, but not everyone knows how to address them or put in a system to work through them. Here are four real reasons you’re not progressing and some tips on how to move through the block.
1. Foundations and Technique
Building solid foundations and taking the time to perfect technique from the beginning will make your practice better and keep you progressing consistently. If you’re feeling stuck, step back, see if there is anything you can do to improve technique and foundational movements. It’s very easy to get through certain things without proper technique. It does catch up with you eventually, though.
Training specific movements is one of the keys to bettering fluidity in pole, whether you are working on tricks or dance. It may feel repetitive, but something is never “perfect”, it only gets better. This means there is always room for improvement, and a great way to keep your practice moving forward is to practice and better the basics.
2. You avoid your weaknesses
A lot of people tend to avoid weaknesses and stick to what we are good at. This will also eventually catch up with you. If you’re bad at a cradle spin for example, and you don’t understand the technique of properly using your arms to perform a push-pull motion, you’ll be held back from some of the more advanced moves, that let’s be honest, everyone wants (Ayeshas anyone?). So, you will have to work on this weakness. If you are weak at a particular type of grip, work on that. Do some extra training for your arms if you find your upper body is weak. If your core is weak, spend more time on the ground and do your conditioning. Anything that feels difficult and impossible should not be avoided. You’ll get it if you work towards it.
3. Your goals are not refined enough
Refining your goals and setting them properly will ensure you keep progressing. If you are only using your levels to track your progress, you are going to plateau. You are so focused on the level that you don’t see the fundamentals you need to build, and you may potentially skip over them. It is possible to only use strength, or flexibility to obtain moves to a certain point. In some cases, you can use improper engagement and perform the trick – but this leads to injury eventually. Set some measurable goals for your strength and flexibility. How many push-ups can you do? How long can you hold a hollow body position? Can you do a proper handstand? If you run out of endurance in class, do something more cardio-based like dancing, a circuit class, or dare I say it, go for a run.
4. Overtraining/Under Recovering
If you exceed your bodies ability to recover from strenuous work, performance can decrease. It can also happen from monotonous training where your body adapts to what you are doing and plateaus. Cross-training and adding some additional classes that get your body moving differently can really help. If your energy is low, you’re sore all the time, getting injured a lot, you need to rethink your regime. Do you need more downtime for your muscles to recover between intense or long training sessions/days? Are you sleeping and eating enough to keep up with the energy demands?
There are so many more details we could go into, especially for each individual. We all lead different lives, have different strengths and weaknesses, and have different goals. The important thing is to be aware when you’re struggling and keep taking care of yourself. Find what works for you outside of your classes to help you in your classes. Progressing is important – do it safely and in a well planned way so you and your body stay happy.
Train smarter to do harder things.