Tips on Plateaus

**Pictured – Me hiking across the plateau in the Grand Canyon… get it?**

Tips On Plateaus

Plateaus are inevitable. You’ll start out training, see great progress quickly, and then those results will slowly steady out. After a while, you might even feel like you’re not making any progress at all. This has got to be one of the most frustrating feelings in the world! I’ve got some tips for you to try to help you get through these plateaus and back to the field of progress! Funny… as I write this, I’ve got that plateau feeling myself. Time to write some advice, re-read it to myself, and get after it.

Focus More On Your Recovery

Recovery can have a big factor in our progress as well. Training is all about tearing down your muscles safely and effectively so that they can build up to be even stronger (same for endurance, flexibility, etc). If you are never feeling fully rested and recovered, how do you expect to train hard and push to the next level? Here are a few symptoms of not feeling recovered:

  • Achy joints that don’t seem to get any better
  • Fatiguing easily throughout the day (not just in your workout)
  • Nagging injuries
  • Lackluster performance (for example: You can only get to 80% of your 1RM on a day you should hit 90%. Probably not recovered enough!)

Here are some ways we can focus on recovery (this will be an entire blog post on it’s own, soon…)

  • Focusing on sleep
    • Or at least BEING in bed for 8 hours of the day. There is a high correlation between amount of time spent in bed and amount of time sleeping!
  • Focusing on hydration (maybe start the day out with some water instead of coffee?
  • Eating your proper macronutrients and calories (shoot Mike an email if you need help!)
  • Taking a few days off
    • Instead of training 5 days this week, let’s only train 3!
  • Taking a full WEEK off
    • If you’re feeling really beat up, this could do you a world of good!

Focusing on your recovery is one of the best ways to get through a plateau

Audit Your Levels of Intensity Honestly

Your workouts don’t have to be overly complicated to be effective. That’s our bread and butter in CrossFit… simple workouts of 2-3 movements that are deceptively difficult. What makes these workouts difficult is the INTENSITY. Intensity is a driving factor in our training results, especially when our workouts are so simple. If you’re feeling like you’re going through a plateau, we need to see what level of intensity you are TRULY operating at. (I wrote something about time caps and how they pertain to energy systems… read that here. The rest of this will make more sense if you read that).

Our program calls for a wide range of intensity levels based on our energy systems. We’ve got short, medium, and long workouts (to put it simply), and each has their relative intensity levels that we design for you to perform at. If we program a workout with an intensity level of 8/10, you need to make sure you’re pushing to an 8/10. A 6/10 intensity level isn’t going to get you where you need to be. Many times I can find myself falling even lower than that. A couple of tips for this:

  • Workout at a different time of day.
    • Maybe you can push harder before you go to work! Come hangout with us at the 5AM! 
  • Get into a group environment.
    • Inherent competition is a hell of a drug!
  • Place a performance goal at the beginning of each workout.
    • If you tell yourself you better get 5 rounds, you’ll work your ass off for those 5 rounds.

It’s our job as a staff to come up with elegant and effective workouts for you to perform. It’s your job to perform the hell out of them!

Focus More on Getting To The Gym!

You’re sleeping great, you feel fresh, and your recovery game is on point. Your nutrition is IMMACULATE! You go HARD in your workouts, and you’re doing everything coach says…

So why aren’t you seeing more progress? Well, maybe you need a bit more volume in your training! Intensity is definitely the path to results… but if you’re only being intense one to two times a week… it’s time to step it up! Prioritize getting to the gym, up your training volume, and blast through those plateaus.

If you try all of this and are still feeling stuck, shoot me a message or an email. I’m more than happy to help you!

-Clark Hibbs

24 down, 7 to go.


Owner and Head Coach: CrossFit Yellow Rose
CF L-2
CF L-1
CF Mobility
ACSM Certified PT
ACE Certified PT


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