The 5 Week Plateau-Busting Workout Program

Stuck in a rut with your current routine of 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps per exercise?

I hear you, having been there too many times myself. Trust me – training can get really frustrating if you’re not seeing any results. What usually happens in gym America is what I call “program hopping”. People jump from “Chest Blast Monday” to “Fat Loss Friday ” and everything in between. The outcome? No progress whatsoever. At best time has been wasted and, at worst, injuries have occurred.

However, you should never simply seek change for the sake of change. Always have a realistic goal in mind. Realistic goals should always be measurable and achievable within a certain time frame.

The following routine was developed with two intentions in mind: to increase your work capacity and your strength.

Work capacity is an overlooked factor in today’s fitness world, as we are mostly concerned with strength. The latest research shows though that the most critical factor for hypertrophy (muscle growth) is volume. The more volume in the 75-88% range the athlete can tolerate, the better his progress will be. Therefore, you must improve your work capacity just as much as your strength. One way to do that is to add volume into a fixed amount of time. This will increase your ability to recover and you can stimulate the muscle more often during a given cycle.

The 5 Week Plateau-Busting Workout Program


In the following program, you’ll train four times a week. The actual training week is broken up in 2 parts – timed workouts and power workout:

Workouts A and B are timed. In those, you’ll train for 45 minutes at the maximum – with a hard stop after 45 minutes no matter where you are at in your workout! The goal is to increase workload, aka add more sets each week. Each set should be very focused, done with good form, but stop about two reps before failure.

Workouts C and D are power workouts. The goal here is to increase the weight you are using by 5% each week. Keep the reps very controlled, think one second positive on the positive part of the motion and three seconds on the negative.

Give this routine a try for five weeks and then switch back to your old split. You’ll be amazed by how much more volume and weight you’ll be able handle!


Workout A: Chest/Back/Shoulders
*45 minutes maximum time
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Pullover 2 10
One Arm Cable Row 3 10
Cable Flye 3 10
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 10
Pushup 3 10
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown 3 10
Floor Flye 2 10
Arnold Press 2 10
Seated Lateral Raise 2 10
Rear Delt Flye 2 10
Stiff Arm Pulldown 2 10


Workout B: Legs/Arms
*45 minutes maximum time
Exercise Sets Reps
Cable Pull Through 2 10
Dumbbell Bench Step Up 2 10
Lunge 2 10
Stiff Legged Deadlift 2 6
Single Leg Press 2 10
Leg Press Calf Extension 2 8
Face Pull 2 10
Incline Dumbbell Curl 2 10
Mushroom Grip Press Down 3 10
Cable Concentration Curl 2 10
Close Grip Pushup 2 10


Workout C: Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Bent Over Row 2 10
Arnold Press 3 8
Superset 1
Single Leg Press 2 20
Leg Press Calf Extension 2 20
Cable Concentration Curl 3 10
Close Grip Pushup 3 25


Workout D: Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Face Pull 2 10
Weighted Dip 3 8
Deadlift 5 5
Lunge 3 12
Seated Cable Row 3 8
Drag Curl 3 8

Maik Wiedenbach

One of the most sought after personal trainers in New York City, Maik Wiedenbach is a world renowned Olympic athlete and two-time Muscle Mania Champion. Educated on a swimming scholarship from Fordham University, he holds a double Masters Degree in History & Philosophy and is a member of the Hall of Fame at Fordham University. Fluent in multiple languages including Dutch, English, French and his native German, he is the author of several fitness books as well as an Adjunct Professor teaching Exercise Sciences at New York University.

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