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My first plateau


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Hey everyone :)

So I've been going to the gym for the better part of three weeks now, and so far I've been getting a pretty linear increase in performance. Been increasing weigth on every exercise (Deadlift, Squat, Benchpress) by 5kg (~10 pounds) per week. I'm also working towards the first pullup of my life, currently transitioning from Body Weigth Rows to Assisted Pullups/Inverted Pullups. So much for my general situation

 

Now, I hit a plateau on the Benchpresses. I can do ~8reps with 40kg but I just can't increase that. I was thinking to start doing some pushup action (after reading about all the types of amazing pushups on artofmanlines) on my offdays. Beginning with 2sets of 5 and aiming towards maybe sets of 15-20? Is there anything else I can do? My BPs are now lagging behind DL by 20kg and the Squat by 15, I somehow want to keep my lifts at about the same weigth in the three categories.

Level 4 Human Ranger

The only Way to accomplish greatness is to set your goals even higher.

STR: 15 || DEX: 9 || STA: 10

CON: 12 || WIS: 9 || CHA: 6

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The only people who have all three of those lifts, raw, at comparable weight are top powerlifters in Super Heavy-Weight classes (and BP will still be lower for most of them).  A more reasonable goal (which is pretty close to the crossfit strength standards for intermediate, since you're a ranger :) ) is Body Weight Bench Press, 1.5XBW Squat, 2XBW Deadlift.

 

Usually when you plateau on a linear progression, the first recommendation is to deload, not do more!  Back off a week or two's weight and start the progression again.

Affekonig, level 6 Númenórean Druid STR 10|DEX 12|STA 10.5|CON 8|WIS 7|CHA 6.5
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The only people who have all three of those lifts, raw, at comparable weight are top powerlifters in Super Heavy-Weight classes (and BP will still be lower for most of them).  A more reasonable goal (which is pretty close to the crossfit strength standards for intermediate, since you're a ranger :) ) is Body Weight Bench Press, 1.5XBW Squat, 2XBW Deadlift.

 

Usually when you plateau on a linear progression, the first recommendation is to deload, not do more!  Back off a week or two's weight and start the progression again.

I can see how that holds true once you're at a point where things like 'bench your BW' becomse realistic, but this is only my third weak of Strength training and so far I'm at 60kg Deadlift 55kg Squat and 40 on the Bench, you think it's possible that I am at the point where they have to diversify already?

 

Deload sounds good, I'll incorporate that, as well as the pushups on offdays, so I think I should be able to get over this. 

Thanks a lot for your advice! :)

Level 4 Human Ranger

The only Way to accomplish greatness is to set your goals even higher.

STR: 15 || DEX: 9 || STA: 10

CON: 12 || WIS: 9 || CHA: 6

Check out my challange Thread (4)

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I'm still a novice and my bench is only half my squat and deadlift (can't get my deadlift past my squat yet, so they're about the same). I think now that you're hitting 90 lbs on the bench, your bench will slow down. Most linear programs call for adding 5 lbs a week to bench and 10 lbs a week to squats and deadlifts, so expect your numbers to diversify even more.

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  Well, I'm also far from an expert, but in addition to the advice you've also gotten, I would definitely suggest that you change things up a bit. If you've been doing all your bench presses with a barbell, then switch to dumbells for a while. Especially for beginning lifters, dumbells are better because you have to use and strengthen a lot more of the stabilization muscles. Kinda like why barbells are better than machines, this takes it one step further.

  Also, it sounds like you're perhaps always doing the same sets and reps? When you deload, I would also make a change to the sets and reps. At this point it probably doesn't matter if you move them up or down (overall fitness plan is an entirely different topic), but that way you won't know what your plateau is, and you'll probably break through without even knowing it, so when you go back to sets of eight in a few months, you'll be doing way more. You might even consider switching to incline bench instead of flat bench, etc.

  Have you considered trying a specific plan, like stronglifts?

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I'm still a novice and my bench is only half my squat and deadlift (can't get my deadlift past my squat yet, so they're about the same). I think now that you're hitting 90 lbs on the bench, your bench will slow down. Most linear programs call for adding 5 lbs a week to bench and 10 lbs a week to squats and deadlifts, so expect your numbers to diversify even more.

Well to be hones I haven't tried anything more than 40kg yet, but I tried doing a second set of 40x5 after the initial one and only managed 2 and a half reps on that 

 

 

 

  Well, I'm also far from an expert, but in addition to the advice you've also gotten, I would definitely suggest that you change things up a bit. If you've been doing all your bench presses with a barbell, then switch to dumbells for a while. Especially for beginning lifters, dumbells are better because you have to use and strengthen a lot more of the stabilization muscles. Kinda like why barbells are better than machines, this takes it one step further.

  Also, it sounds like you're perhaps always doing the same sets and reps? When you deload, I would also make a change to the sets and reps. At this point it probably doesn't matter if you move them up or down (overall fitness plan is an entirely different topic), but that way you won't know what your plateau is, and you'll probably break through without even knowing it, so when you go back to sets of eight in a few months, you'll be doing way more. You might even consider switching to incline bench instead of flat bench, etc.

  Have you considered trying a specific plan, like stronglifts?

Here's what I do

 

Monday is high weigth (5kg increments on every set, aim for PR in last set), low reps(5), 5sets (this is record day makes me love mondays)

Wednesday is low weigth(1/2 - 2/3 max, also in 5kg increments/set)  high reps (12), 3 sets

and Friday medium weigth(2/3-3/4 of max), medium reps (8) and 4 sets.

 

And Today I started with doing pushups on off days again. Currently doing 2 sets of five, morning and evening. Trying to get up to 2 sets of 20 morning and evening.

 

exercises are Deadlift, Squats, Bench Press, and Body Weigth Rows (gonna switch those out for assisted or inverted pullups next week)

 

I get plenty of variation on the reps/set numbers and I usually only go up to 40kg on the bench on mondays. I migth try dumbbells instead of the bar, and maybe the inclined bench (btw what is that supposed to change other than the setup? seems kinda arbitrary to me)

 

 

 

Thanks to the both of you for the advice :)

Level 4 Human Ranger

The only Way to accomplish greatness is to set your goals even higher.

STR: 15 || DEX: 9 || STA: 10

CON: 12 || WIS: 9 || CHA: 6

Check out my challange Thread (4)

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Well, I wasn't talking so much about the variation from day to day. I actually think it's a little more typical to do similar workouts each time you go in for a period of time (say, 3-4 weeks), and then start a new cycle where the workouts change.

 

The change to incline bench changes both which muscles are used (in this case, adding a lot more shoulder involvement) and in the way the muscles are used. It's amazing what a small change in angle can do. Put it this way... if you keep increasing the angle, then you end up doing military press, which is almost a completely different set of basic muscles from the bench press. Even switches to things like close-grip can have a huge effect.

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I think that it's a mistake to try to keep your bench press even with your squat and deadlift.  Granted, I have super weak arms, but I bench press 30 kgs less than I squat and I squat 40 kgs less than I deadlift.  And I'm still a weak-ass novice. 

 

You should do push ups on rest days only if they're easy for you.  And if they're not, use only a variation that is easy for you, like on an incline or from your knees.  You shouldn't try to exhaust your arms every day.  That way lies overtraining and madness.

 

But, really, if you've only been lifting for a few weeks, you should have more newbie gains in you.  What weight did you start at?  How challenging was it?  When you start on a linear progression, you should begin with a fairly easy weight.  I definitely recommend looking into Starting Strength or Stronglifts if you want to do a linear progression.  I'm not particularly familiar with the program you're on.  Most breakdowns I've seen have a medium day as recovery in between a volume day and an intensity day, basically as a working recovery.  But those are generally for intermediate lifters who have maxed their newbie gains. 

 

Think of it this way:  If strength training is a game, then the first levels are pretty easy, and you don't have to read a bunch of strategy guides or put a lot of complexity into moving up in levels.  But, after a while, the game gets more difficult, and you get stuck more easily on each level.  Then it's maybe time to start considering more complex strategy (like volume and intensity days) to keep improving.  But you would never do that on level one because it's easier just to go in and complete the level (ie, increase the weight).

 

I think it's also important to find a plan that's working and stick to it.  Maybe re-asses every 6 weeks or so if you decide you want to change your focus (maybe from barbell bench to push ups), but don't just start adding those push ups in willy-nilly. 

Selkie Warrior
Level 2, STR: 6.5 | DEX: 4.5 | STA: 2.8 | CON: 4 | WIS: 7 | CHA: 2.5

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Well, I wasn't talking so much about the variation from day to day. I actually think it's a little more typical to do similar workouts each time you go in for a period of time (say, 3-4 weeks), and then start a new cycle where the workouts change.

 

The change to incline bench changes both which muscles are used (in this case, adding a lot more shoulder involvement) and in the way the muscles are used. It's amazing what a small change in angle can do. Put it this way... if you keep increasing the angle, then you end up doing military press, which is almost a completely different set of basic muscles from the bench press. Even switches to things like close-grip can have a huge effect.

Well I tried varying my grip distance a bit, but nothing too serious. I think I'll look into that should I fail to clear 40 tomorrow

So far I've just been going about my routine and increasing weigths on mondays, then calculate for we/fr using 3/4 and 1/2 of my max.

Problem is the benches where I usually press dont incline, but I think I saw some a little bit off to the side. Might take a closer look at that aswell.  THanks again :)

 

 

 

I think that it's a mistake to try to keep your bench press even with your squat and deadlift.  Granted, I have super weak arms, but I bench press 30 kgs less than I squat and I squat 40 kgs less than I deadlift.  And I'm still a weak-ass novice. 

 

You should do push ups on rest days only if they're easy for you.  And if they're not, use only a variation that is easy for you, like on an incline or from your knees.  You shouldn't try to exhaust your arms every day.  That way lies overtraining and madness.

 

But, really, if you've only been lifting for a few weeks, you should have more newbie gains in you.  What weight did you start at?  How challenging was it?  When you start on a linear progression, you should begin with a fairly easy weight.  I definitely recommend looking into Starting Strength or Stronglifts if you want to do a linear progression.  I'm not particularly familiar with the program you're on.  Most breakdowns I've seen have a medium day as recovery in between a volume day and an intensity day, basically as a working recovery.  But those are generally for intermediate lifters who have maxed their newbie gains. 

 

Think of it this way:  If strength training is a game, then the first levels are pretty easy, and you don't have to read a bunch of strategy guides or put a lot of complexity into moving up in levels.  But, after a while, the game gets more difficult, and you get stuck more easily on each level.  Then it's maybe time to start considering more complex strategy (like volume and intensity days) to keep improving.  But you would never do that on level one because it's easier just to go in and complete the level (ie, increase the weight).

 

I think it's also important to find a plan that's working and stick to it.  Maybe re-asses every 6 weeks or so if you decide you want to change your focus (maybe from barbell bench to push ups), but don't just start adding those push ups in willy-nilly. 

Push ups were quite easy so far. I don't really follow a fixed plan, that's just not for me, I just like to lift heavy things, so I do. I mostly make it up as I go along. The important part I'm taking from this is that I will stop trying to keep my lifts at the same weigth and just do what I manage to do. 

I'm just surprised I cleared the newbie stages so quickly I guess. Thanks for the tips anyway!

Level 4 Human Ranger

The only Way to accomplish greatness is to set your goals even higher.

STR: 15 || DEX: 9 || STA: 10

CON: 12 || WIS: 9 || CHA: 6

Check out my challange Thread (4)

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Push ups were quite easy so far. I don't really follow a fixed plan, that's just not for me, I just like to lift heavy things, so I do. I mostly make it up as I go along. The important part I'm taking from this is that I will stop trying to keep my lifts at the same weigth and just do what I manage to do. 

I'm just surprised I cleared the newbie stages so quickly I guess. Thanks for the tips anyway!

 

I guess I'm just not convinced you have.  If you're eating enough food and you started at low enough weights, I feel like you should be able to ride your newbie gains to a higher working weight for bench press.  Like, I'm a lady with weak arms, and my current working weight is 40 kg.  And, as far as I can tell, is still going up pretty consistently.  At this stage in the game, I would super encourage you to find a fixed plan if you want to gain strength most efficiently.  As a novice lifter, you don't know what to expect or what your body is capable of.  That's sort of the nice thing about following a plan.  I've also found, as a general rule, that my shittiest days in the gym were ones where I tried to screw with my plan and do something weird.  And it doesn't tend to just affect that day, but potentially the workout after.  But then, if you're not concerned with efficiency and just want to have fun lifting heavy shit, then keep on keepin' on.   :smile-new:

Selkie Warrior
Level 2, STR: 6.5 | DEX: 4.5 | STA: 2.8 | CON: 4 | WIS: 7 | CHA: 2.5

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I don't do anything weird. Just Squat, Deadlift Benchpress and (eventually) pullups.

Im still uping DL and SQ 5kg a week, it's just the bench that is lagging behind the two. I'm definately keeping my exercises, the exact 'plan' if you will can be viewed in my challange topic or a few posts above this. Definately keeping the plan, I'm lifting heavy stuff and having fun with it :)

Level 4 Human Ranger

The only Way to accomplish greatness is to set your goals even higher.

STR: 15 || DEX: 9 || STA: 10

CON: 12 || WIS: 9 || CHA: 6

Check out my challange Thread (4)

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Sweet!  Then keep at it.  :)  I'm sure you'll bust through that benching plateau soon!  Oh, and microloading can also be helpful for presses.  I got 2" washers from McMaster Car and they weigh ~0.6 lbs, so they're perfect for microloading.  They helped me break through my OHP plateau that lasted about a month until I got the washers.

Selkie Warrior
Level 2, STR: 6.5 | DEX: 4.5 | STA: 2.8 | CON: 4 | WIS: 7 | CHA: 2.5

Shoshie's "Getting Awesome" Challenge 
Shoshie's "Just Hanging Around" Challenge

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Sweet!  Then keep at it.   :)  I'm sure you'll bust through that benching plateau soon!  Oh, and microloading can also be helpful for presses.  I got 2" washers from McMaster Car and they weigh ~0.6 lbs, so they're perfect for microloading.  They helped me break through my OHP plateau that lasted about a month until I got the washers.

I'm definately going for 45kg on monday, let's see if pushups pay off until then.

Level 4 Human Ranger

The only Way to accomplish greatness is to set your goals even higher.

STR: 15 || DEX: 9 || STA: 10

CON: 12 || WIS: 9 || CHA: 6

Check out my challange Thread (4)

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One thing you could do to bust through that plateau would be making all 3 days heavy. Just go a little short of a max on the last set.

No, I think I'm gonna keep doing what I'm doing now, and push for 45 on monday, even if it's only 2 or 3 reps it's better than none

Level 4 Human Ranger

The only Way to accomplish greatness is to set your goals even higher.

STR: 15 || DEX: 9 || STA: 10

CON: 12 || WIS: 9 || CHA: 6

Check out my challange Thread (4)

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