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Any Benefit of 'Resetting' Your Weights in Order to Progress?

I know that the general consensus in the bodybuilding World is to ‘always progress’ and ‘add weight/reps’, so even considering this option seems quite controversial. I’ve just been curious if there can come a point where resetting the weights on your lifts (lowering the weight and then building back up again) can actually be beneficial?

For example, if I’ve been stuck at a certain weight/reps for a number of weeks, and it’s not down to lack of food intake etc, is there any benefit to lowering the weight and working my way back up, hoping to eventually push past the point I was stuck at, or would it be better to just stick with the same weight and hope that eventually I manage it? Could this prove to be beneficial, and does it have its place in bodybuilding? It kinda seems like a ‘1 step forward, 2 steps back’ situation, where I’m going against what is always preached online about progressing, but I figured it may work. That being said, I don’t want to drop the weight on my lifts pointlessly, if I’m just going to work my way back up and reach my sticking point, only to be stuck all over again.

It’s just something I’ve thought about recently, and tried searching for the answer to this online although I wasn’t sure how to word it so I couldn’t find any answers.

HOW are you letting this happen?

Let’s say you’re doing 3x10. Ok, cool: 30 reps total.

So you use your current weight, and you can’t get the 30 reps in 3 sets? Alright: get them in as many sets as it takes. You end up doing 1x10, 1x8 and 1x6? You’re short 6 reps. Get it done in 2 more sets? Cool, so that’s 5 sets: next workout, get it done in 4. Once you can do that, now get it done in 3.

Don’t just do the same weight for the same sets and reps for weeks on end and expect to progress. Find SOME way to move forward. Moving backward isn’t the solution: not unless you use the reduction in intensity as an opportunity to up the volume.


@T3hPwnisher is stronger than me and I’ve personally watched his strength improve consistently all year. You would do well to follow his advice.

However, here’s another approach – I’ve seen people in the bodybuilding circle (can’t remember if it was Dante of DoggCrapp training or Paul Carter) say that if you’ve stopped responding to the training stimulus then it’s time to change out exercises. I’d keep it similar like DB bench for bench or move to a slight incline, but the subtle change should be enough to force new adaptation.

This is another fantastic avenue for sure. Find something else to progress on. It’ll most likely strengthen something that is weaker.

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Yes, reducing weight on the bar, training in different rep ranges, and/or introducing intensity techniques beyond “add weight or add reps” has a significant and time-tested place in bodybuilding.

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Which is usually the problem anyway. When my squats started struggling, they actually improved when I got stronger on the “good girl” machine instead of hammering leg presses or whatever I was doing

Yes, re-setting can be beneficial (especially if you’ve been stuck for a while), as can scaling back the reps & upping the weights as a means of progress.

Thank you very much, that makes a lot of sense. I should note however that I HAVE been making sure to get all of the reps even if I don’t manage to do it in just 3 sets, but what I wasn’t doing was actually keeping note of how many ‘extra’ sets it was taking me to complete all of the reps. What you mentioned is a really good idea, thank you again. To be honest I hadn’t even considered doing that.

All the other posts are appreciated as well, thanks guys.

Most people will just crap out within 5kg of where they crapped out the first time, if all they change is reducing the intensity and starting again.

What does your split look like? Exercises, reps, sets.

You should not be getting stuck at a weight/reps. It is going to come down to nutrition, sleep and/or recovery.

Completely reverse the order of your exercise selection. The movements you usually do first and might be strong at, you’ll do last and be weak (relatively). The movements you usually do last and are weak at, you’ll do first and suddenly be strong at.

NOW, you can start working back up with what might seem like new stimulus, but is actually a series of exercises you’re already experienced with (so no new movement patterns to establish or neurological gains).

Bodybuilding isn’t about continually getting stronger, it’s about continually making the muscles grow. That comes down more to intensity and perceived stress than the actual numbers on the bar.



Great stuff Stu! Such an easy change that keeps things The same but Different.

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You make it sound better than it is. If I could reset working weight and work back up for a 5kg gain each time I would be benching 600 by now.

An approach like that could work if you change the reps or exercise too. Like going from 5’s to 3’s or switching from low bar squat to SSB or something like that.

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I mean expect to finish within 5kg of where you originally stalled, each time. Maybe there’s people who don’t experience this but not many guys will go more than 3 times stalling out about where they stalled out the first time.

Basically you can’t do the same thing over and over and expect a different result each time.

So we gotta Confuse the muscle?

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