T Nation

First Real Crash... Is this Normal?

So, I started about 4 months ago and felt like I was doing well. I’ve been increasing my lifts by 5% to 10% consistently each week for the last 4 months (higher % at first, and lower recently)

Last week I hit 355 pounds x 3 in deadlift. It was probably the hardest lift I’ve ever done, but I got it done on the 3rd set and didn’t injure myself.

This week, I hoped to match that or add to it. After warming up, I started with 345. It wouldn’t move. So I dropped to 325 thinking I would ease into it. That didn’t work either. I probably could have forced it, but it felt like I was going to injure something if I did.

So, I pulled a plate off each side and did 235 x 20. Then slapped some weight on and did 255 x 16. Then threw a couple of 25s on and did 305 x 10. I figured I was back in the game, so put 325 on and tried again. No dice. WTF?

After 4 months of steady improvement, this is the first time I’ve crashed like this. Is this normal? What do people do to get over it?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

nah, not a crash dude. don’t worry, it happens. gains slow and stop from time to time, this is when you change it up. do a deadlift variation for a few weeks instead, then come back to conventional deads.

you did 46 total reps not including your warmups or missed attempts. If I’m warming up to pull it might look like this:
135x5x2sets
225x3
315x3
365x1
405x1
455x5+ - that’s 23reps or more, that’s half of half of your session. Too many reps, 225 is roughly 60% of your 1RM, 305 is roughly 80%, doing 10reps w/ 80% of your max would make anyone shot, less is more sometimes, plan out your training and trust the plan, adapt and adjust when necessary. One thing I’ve learned is to not freak out and panic, makes things a lot worse.

[quote]scubasteve2105 wrote:
you did 46 total reps not including your warmups or missed attempts. If I’m warming up to pull it might look like this:
135x5x2sets
225x3
315x3
365x1
405x1
455x5+ - that’s 23reps or more, that’s half of half of your session. Too many reps, 225 is roughly 60% of your 1RM, 305 is roughly 80%, doing 10reps w/ 80% of your max would make anyone shot, less is more sometimes, plan out your training and trust the plan, adapt and adjust when necessary. One thing I’ve learned is to not freak out and panic, makes things a lot worse.[/quote]

Thanks for the details. That’s really interesting. So far my plan generally involved doing every set to near failure or failure. I would have a target such as 3 reps, but if I hit the target and thought I had one more in me, I would do another… and another, etc. What you’ve explained makes a lot of sense. Maybe I’ll try that for a 6-8 week phase soon see how it goes.

The harder you train, the more recovery you need. Deload for a couple days and recover. When you come back, hit it hard with a goal and focus.

What everyone else said and…

Despite what you hear others say, you dont always have to do the most you can do EVERY workout. Increasing 5-10% a week for four months is absolutely insane. Most people might go up 5% over the course of a month, and then drop back down 3% and try to go back up 5% again. You may have just finally hit the point where you cant go up at a consistent rate.

Also, the stronger you get, and the more often you train, the more often you need recovery. Possibly think about changing your lifts up a bit too. Are you training squat hard? What about RDL’s?

train smarter not harder. the description of your last workout makes no sense. you go up to a maximal weight, miss take it down again, miss take, it way down bang em out, work your way up, bang em out, then try a maximal weight and don’t understand why it didn’t move. training is about approaching a goal intelligently and methodically. Secondly, sounds like your noob gains are wearing off which is quite normal.

Post your program.

My plan has been to do this in about 8 week phases. The first phase was to bulk up a little, so I did 8 weeks of a pyramid with moderately high reps, about 3 minutes rest between sets (more if I felt I needed it).
Set 1: 12 x 70% of 1rm
Set 2: 10 x 74%
Set 3: 8 x 78%
Set 4: 6 x 84%
Optional Set 5: Shoot for last week’s 1rm x 3 to generate a new 1rm.

This first phase went really well… Maybe I should have continued it until I hit a plateau? I took a light week after the first phase to deload.

For the last 8 weeks I’ve been working on raw strength, using the following with 5 minutes rest (or more if necessary) between sets:
Set 1 through 4: 3 x 95% of last week’s 1rm
Optional Set 5: If it felt like more was possible, put more on and try it for a new 1rm.

This phase has generally been good until last week, though I have had more problems than the first phase.

I’ve been thinking about switching my leg day to Monday, but so far my exercises have been roughly the same the whole time, as follows:
MON:
Bench Press (occasionally incline or decline)
Fly
Military Press
Tricep Extension (or Close-hand push-up)

TUE:
Curl (or overhand curl or preacher curl)
Standing Scarecrow or Back extension
Bent over row
Relaxed Shrug

THU:
Deadlift
Back Squat
Leg Curl
Leg Extension

FRI:
Plank Hover (or left / right plank hover)
Weighted sit-up (or Bicycle crunch)
Push-ups (normal or wide)
Curl (variation that I didn’t do on Tuesday)

Any advice?
Thanks in advance.

[quote]humanjhawkins wrote:
Any advice?
Thanks in advance.[/quote]

Go with a tried and true program. Something like westside, sheiko, 5/3/1, 5x5, etc.

Oh yeah it’s normal, your 2nd phase program peaked the strength you gained on your first phase. You’ve been making phenomenal progress, don’t sweat it. I’d say back off and go easy for a week then go back to your first phase and keep plugging along.

Congrats on the 355x3 effort, very good for a novice. Dankid has been lifting weights for like 4 years and still can’t do that.

[quote]dankid wrote:

Go with a tried and true program. Something like westside, sheiko, 5/3/1, 5x5, etc.[/quote]

This is hands down, the WORST advice I’ve ever seen anyone give to someone who’s been training for four months.

Right now you should be addressing your imbalances and deficiencies. As a beginner you’ll likely make pretty good gains on just about anything, as your nervous system will be adapting to a totally new stimulus.

I’d never do a program like westside or shieko without being able to perform every lift with perfect form. Even a program that involves lifting near-maxinal weight like 5/3/1 I wouldn’t recommend for anyone who can’t perform every exercise perfectly.

I know I’m making an assumption that your form is imperfect, but I think it’s pretty rare to see people who’ve only been training for four months who don’t still have some issues in their movements.

As far as your original topic, I would guess that your inability to pull the 325 the first time is probably a combination of nervous system fatigue and possibly not being warmed-up enough. The second time around you were probably even MORE fatigued after all of those sets of 10-20 reps at 60-80% intensity.
A lot of people have given you some really good advice: the best is to take a few days off. If you feel tired, sick, or fatigued, take a week where you reduce your weight and cut your volume down substantially. The nervous system will recover slower than the muscles. Give yourself some rest and you’ll come back stronger.

[quote]KurtMondaugen wrote:
dankid wrote:

This is hands down, the WORST advice I’ve ever seen anyone give to someone who’s been training for four months.

Right now you should be addressing your imbalances and deficiencies. [/quote]

LOLZ your funny. Beginners dont have weaknesses or imbalances. EVERYTHING is weak. Any of those programs would work, but starting strength would be mu choice. The OP has been trainig making linear gains for four months, and now needs a program that will help him progress further.

Westside would work fine, as would sheiko. So really its just up to him what route he wants to take. But not having a program or at least a template is a good way to stall out all together.

[quote]dankid wrote:
KurtMondaugen wrote:
dankid wrote:

This is hands down, the WORST advice I’ve ever seen anyone give to someone who’s been training for four months.

Right now you should be addressing your imbalances and deficiencies.

LOLZ your funny. Beginners dont have weaknesses or imbalances. EVERYTHING is weak. Any of those programs would work, but starting strength would be mu choice. The OP has been trainig making linear gains for four months, and now needs a program that will help him progress further.

Westside would work fine, as would sheiko. So really its just up to him what route he wants to take. But not having a program or at least a template is a good way to stall out all together.[/quote]

wow dankind, you really are a troll!

hey man, the dead spots happen to all of us, I usually can deadlift 475 of the floor, and last week, I could hardly get 405, now this was because my back was sore so i had no explosive pop off the floor, but none the less, your always gonna have day like that, so when you fel like your overloading on something, take it easier that day, if you fel like you have alot of energy taht day, go hard and get some PR’s

dankid…

You’re wrong.

I do NOT think sheiko would work fine. I think a simpler 5x5 or pyramid type routine would work. 80% of his maxes is very different from 80% of mine in terms of loading, not knocking the OP, just looking back when I started 9 years ago. If 80% is only 10 lbs less than 90%, wtf is the difference? See my point?

Westside is far to complicated and IMO I’m not at an elite enough level to really take advantage of it and I’ve lifted 9 years and 2 or 3 of those years were using westside. No newbie needs speed work.

Beginners are very imbalanced. Usually all the stabilizers in a newbie are just not as solid as those in more experienced lifters.

Lifting is a progression and what works now probably wouldn’t work back then and visa versa. You can’t say there’s one end all, be all routine that fits anyone and everyone. The only thing constant in lifting is accommodation of your routine to fit your needs. If you hit a wall and keep doing the same things without improvement, you clearly have your head up your ass.

This all common sense stuff.

To the OP, don’t worry, its happened to me so many times, I can’t count. Just get some rest, re-evaluate whats going on AND most importantly, don’t let anyone or the weights play head games with you.

Good luck.

[quote]Synthetickiller wrote:
dankid…

You’re wrong.

I do NOT think sheiko would work fine. I think a simpler 5x5 or pyramid type routine would work. 80% of his maxes is very different from 80% of mine in terms of loading, not knocking the OP, just looking back when I started 9 years ago. If 80% is only 10 lbs less than 90%, wtf is the difference? See my point?

Westside is far to complicated and IMO I’m not at an elite enough level to really take advantage of it and I’ve lifted 9 years and 2 or 3 of those years were using westside. No newbie needs speed work.

Beginners are very imbalanced. Usually all the stabilizers in a newbie are just not as solid as those in more experienced lifters.

Lifting is a progression and what works now probably wouldn’t work back then and visa versa. You can’t say there’s one end all, be all routine that fits anyone and everyone. The only thing constant in lifting is accommodation of your routine to fit your needs. If you hit a wall and keep doing the same things without improvement, you clearly have your head up your ass.

This all common sense stuff.

To the OP, don’t worry, its happened to me so many times, I can’t count. Just get some rest, re-evaluate whats going on AND most importantly, don’t let anyone or the weights play head games with you.

Good luck.
[/quote]

I’d have to disagree, but You are more experienced with sheiko than me by a long shot. My GF is training with me, and is a beginner, and looks to be doing well on sheiko. When we started, her maxes were, 90, 135, and 155 for bench, squat, deadlift. But we’ll see how much stronger she is by the end.

I think any program can be made to work for almost anyone, and I still hold that having some guidelines in order is better than not following anything at all.

But I DID say that my choice for the OP would be starting strength.

EDIT: And WS4SB is a program that is used often with success for beginners.

This is the powerlifting forum, and if the OP is intersted in powerlifting, he might as well start using a powerlifting program

I just read the “stair step” article from this past week, and it made me think. Sheiko is basically just a simple stair step progression. Its a little more complicated than I think it needs to be, but this approach should work for just about everone.

4 week cycles
startings with volume and progressing to intensity.
Pick whatever frequency and split you choose
And make adjustments so that you get stronger each cycle.

Thanks for all the advice everyone. It’s great to hear the different opinions.

[quote]dankid wrote:
I just read the “stair step” article from this past week, and it made me think. Sheiko is basically just a simple stair step progression. Its a little more complicated than I think it needs to be, but this approach should work for just about everone.

4 week cycles
startings with volume and progressing to intensity.
Pick whatever frequency and split you choose
And make adjustments so that you get stronger each cycle.[/quote]

No matter how you try to think of it, Sheiko is not for beginners. I’m sorry, but beginners need to be worrying about learning how to execute movements properly. Most beginners will probably have to fix mobility issues, fix force couple issues in the shoulders and especially hips, learn how to stabilize and resist unwanted motion, etc.

Almost every beginning trainee will have some of these problems. Sure, “everything” is weak, but it’s imperative to at least be moving correctly before someone goes all Rambo on the squat or bench press.

I’ve had a lot of success by simply taking frequent assessments of my movements, assessing my deficiencies, and constructing logical programs to correct the deficiencies.
I’ve had NO success by arbitrarily choosing cookie cutter programs intended for elite level lifters and cycling through them.

So, to the OP, by keeping yout training logical and oriented around improving your weaknesses, you’ll continue to make the excellent progress that you’re currently making. Just a side note, you’ve been training for 1/9th the duration that dankid has, and your 355x3 deadlift surpasses his 1RM. That should speak volumes about the quality of advice that he’s giving you.

[quote]KurtMondaugen wrote:
dankid wrote:
I just read the “stair step” article from this past week, and it made me think. Sheiko is basically just a simple stair step progression. Its a little more complicated than I think it needs to be, but this approach should work for just about everone.

4 week cycles
startings with volume and progressing to intensity.
Pick whatever frequency and split you choose
And make adjustments so that you get stronger each cycle.

No matter how you try to think of it, Sheiko is not for beginners. I’m sorry, but beginners need to be worrying about learning how to execute movements properly. Most beginners will probably have to fix mobility issues, fix force couple issues in the shoulders and especially hips, learn how to stabilize and resist unwanted motion, etc.

Almost every beginning trainee will have some of these problems. Sure, “everything” is weak, but it’s imperative to at least be moving correctly before someone goes all Rambo on the squat or bench press.

I’ve had a lot of success by simply taking frequent assessments of my movements, assessing my deficiencies, and constructing logical programs to correct the deficiencies.
I’ve had NO success by arbitrarily choosing cookie cutter programs intended for elite level lifters and cycling through them.

So, to the OP, by keeping yout training logical and oriented around improving your weaknesses, you’ll continue to make the excellent progress that you’re currently making. Just a side note, you’ve been training for 1/9th the duration that dankid has, and your 355x3 deadlift surpasses his 1RM. That should speak volumes about the quality of advice that he’s giving you.[/quote]

No sorry, i can deadlift more than 355 for one or even for 3. But being able to deadlift 355x3 is a good sign that the OP isn’t a beginner, and should be able to follow whatever program he decides. Stop making up imaginary strength values for me when you dont know how strong I actually am.

[quote]dankid wrote:
Go with a tried and true program. Something like westside, sheiko, 5/3/1, 5x5, etc.[/quote]

[quote]KurtMondaugen wrote:
This is hands down, the WORST advice I’ve ever seen anyone give to someone who’s been training for four months.[/quote]

[quote]dankid wrote:
Westside would work fine, as would sheiko. [/quote]

[quote]Synthetickiller wrote:
dankid…

You’re wrong.

I do NOT think sheiko would work fine…

Westside is far to complicated and IMO I’m not at an elite enough level to really take advantage of it and I’ve lifted 9 years and 2 or 3 of those years were using westside. No newbie needs speed work.[/quote]

[quote]dankid wrote:
And WS4SB is a program that is used often with success for beginners.[/quote]

Hate to break it to you, Dankid, but “Westside” does not mean WS4SB. That is not Westside regardless of the name given to it by its creator who has, so far as I can tell, nothing to do with the Westside Barbell Club.