T Nation

Getting Weaker?


Ok this is weird! (well at least im at a loss to explain it?)im new to training 9 months in and have been training exclusivly CW style for all that time.Anyway the last couple of months I have been cycling these three proggrames T.A.O.W the Waterbury method and Quatro Dynamo.Now I just started up on my second run of WM and had to lower the loads on just about all lifts from what they were when I finshed up the last run of the WM.

This also happend on my second cycle of QD!?? though at the end of my second cycle of QD I was higher up on lifts that at the end of my first cycle of QD.It's pissing me off that what I start the second run of a proggrame Im using a lower weight than one I finished with at the end of the first proggrame.

I know im not overtrained as I have just taken 5 days off from lifting after my second run of QD.Im eating at maintaince
I dont drink and im sleeping at least 8-9 hours a day.The problem isint with the big lifts like Squat, Bench etc but rather with the isolation exercises.Though I had to lower the load on bent over rows today as well.

Please help guys this is frustrating and demoralizing.

Thank's :slight_smile:


That is a bit strange. If you're eating healthy, using correct form (you are using correct form, right?) and getting enough rest it's odd that your weights would go down. Has anything changed since last time you did it? Have you tried taking a few days off?

If you're a newbie I might suspect form or diet as the culprits.
Also recall that you might need to be eating more---especially more protein---than you did during your first cycle.
How long have you been lifting and how old are you?

Also, note that it's helpful to cycle up. i.e. You're beginning lifts of a 2nd cycle should not be as high as the peak 1st cycle lifts. Maybe 1st cycle you started at 100 and worked up to 150. This time, start at 110 and work up to 160.
Be patient and don't try to lift as much as you did 'last time' just because you want your weights to go up. Never go straight up. Search on 'Periodization'
Good luck


Hi lesotho72,

Well diet is at maintaince now as opposed to before when it was well over maintaince for a bulk.

As for form I always try to do strict form on all exercises even bicep curls :wink: However maybe it's possible I may have not been as strict as I thought on some exercises???

Periodization seems intresting? the thing is my 1RM's have gone up on some exercises.Now CW recomends using usually either a certain % of your RM for the exercises OR using a weight that you can do a predescribed number of sets with.So if my 1RM;s have gone up why cant I use a higher load to start with then what I finished on last time I used the proggrame?

Ok let me get this straight about periodization then.I finished WM last time and was using 40kg for skull crushers for 4x6.Today I had to use 37.5kg for 4x6.i.e should I work upto and past what my best result was last time I did WM rather then jump straight in at the deep end?



My guess is you need to eat more... to feed the muscle growth you are looking for.

This based on the fact you seem to be working hard and getting lots of rest. I know everyone is afraid of getting fat (me included) but if you don't eat a crapload after a heavy high volume day, you are doing yourself a big disservice.

If you aren't eating enough, you'll end up asking yourself if you are working hard enough, resting enough, overtraining, have sucky genetics and so on. The sooner (most people) figure this out, the better off they are.


Hello Vroom.

Im currently holding my weight for two months after an over entusastic bulk.Im 230 @ 20%BF so I dont really have room to eat above maintaince i.e 3750 kcals a day 380-400g protien, 300+g of CHO and 70-80g Fats.


Rereading your post, is it just that you are doing programs that aren't geared towards increasing your maxes on the same lifts from program to program?

Any quality or lift you quit training for can slowly decline as you train other attributes...

I'm not trying to pass myself off as an expert, so maybe someone else can chime in and set you right.


I would not worry too much. I have times when I do not know why, that I lose poundage on lifts. It could be a lot of things. It could be just part of some cycle your body is going through. If your lifts persist to decline for a month or so then maybe get a check up from your Doc.


Are your big lifts going up? You mentioned mostly it is isolation work that is going down.

Here is a guess; if your big lifts are going up, you're using more muscle on it. So lets say you added 20 pounds with more sets than you are used to on your bench, it makes sense that your pecs are fried and you won't be able to do as much on flyes.

Just a theory.


Yes big lifts are going up.Im going to check my deads tommorow but bench and Squat are def going up.The thing is as I said I started QD for the second time at less then I finished on the first time, I did QD, When I finished QD for the second time though most lifts were up albiet slightly from where I had finshed the firt time.

I guess when I finish WM I'll know if I finish at higher weights then what I finished at the last time I did WM two months ago.

AS mentioend lower body is NOT effected it's rather arm work esp biceps I dont think iv'e got any stronger on direct bicep work for the last few months at least :frowning:


I guess I should read a bit more carefully!

Heck, if the big lifts are going up, things are fine.


Why is this a problem?



I know this is going to sound strange BUT something VERY similar happened to me. Almost exactly as a matter of fact. Big lifts were fine. Isolation on any upper body part, curls, shoulder work, rows, etc etc started to falter. It turned out to be a shoulder thing believe it or not. I got weaker slowly, no pain for months.

Finally after a few months of getting slowly weaker the first aches started to show up. As I checked it out early nothing at all was torn nor was anything blown. Just inflamed rotator cuff is all. After a month or so of high dose anti inflammatory and rotator cuff exercises I started getting stronger again. I am almost back to 100%.

Check your shoulders they are the link pin to the entire upper body. Talk to Eric Cressey and ask him about it. Very nice guy and very easy to talk to.


It may be a little simplistic, but quite often it is, you said that last time you did the programs you were on an indulgent bulk, and now are on maintenance calories. If you are eating less you will probably lift less.

If you are attempting to cut a bit of the excess fat you put on during the bulk I wouldnt stress too much about it, as long as you are achieving your current goals.


Thanks for the info, but did your lifts go down continusly? or did they peak, drop and peak again like mine?


Well first let?s eliminate the lower body. Nothing wrong there, squats, leg press, leg curl, calf work, etc etc? all good always making gains to some degree. So my lower body wasn?t a problem at all. Upper body was the problem. I couldn?t understand it. My big lifts were ok, it was when I did isolation work that things didn?t go as planned. For instance my bench was consistently good although sometimes I would really have to work it just to maintain the poundage, they were a least going up slowly. I am not talking about close grip or wide grip bench, just normal, everyday, stock standard bench. For a long time there was no pain just a slow drop in the weight I was able to do. Bicep curls of any sort is where I started to notice it first. Then I noticed I was getting weaker on the triceps press downs, couldn?t really get the full movement unless I lightened the load. Keep in mind there in NO pain what so ever, just couldn?t get the full movement especially near the end. Beyond that when I started to isolate the chest like with fly?s, I started getting weaker. Again I wasn?t able to complete the full movement with out taking a pound or two off each time. Sometimes it would be OK in that I was able to do the same weight I did in the prior workout but then the next time? a few pounds off to complete the movement. On and on. Strangely enough my over head shoulder presses were for the most part unaffected. Ironically if you look at the structure of the shoulder the muscles that cover the joint really are not directly connected or pass through to the rotator cuff as do the bicep tendon, pec tendons, triceps tendon, etc etc. All these tendons can become inflamed if the rotator cuff becomes inflamed. It?s kinda like an infection if you will. Suffice it to say the result was that the big compound movements were OK because other joints could take up the slack and for the most part compensate for the rotator inflammation. Progress was slowed way down but steady. The smaller isolation exercises is where it stopped and started to get weaker. Finally after months of no pain just an unexplained weakening, first my right shoulder started to ache. Not bad, just a very dull ache that went on for a bit, the ache slowly getting to be a problem. Then the left shoulder came on line with a big ache! In hindsight, seems I was compensating for the right shoulder and that is why it hit so hard. Couldn?t even sleep on the left one. After MRI?s and Doctors etc etc turns out to be chronic inflammation of the rotator cuff in both shoulders. Not the worst thing that could happen and totally fixable. Anti-Inflammatory meds and lots of rotator cuff work with really light rubber band things and weight and I was back on track. Talk to Eric Cressey, he is very easy to talk to and help me a lot with just thinking things through. A great guy.


Hello Barbosa,

Wow! well hopefully what I have is not what your describing, as Im going up in weight on some isolation exercises where it seems you were maintaing or going down on yours.Although as I said Im going back before I can go forward.I will keep an eye on my poundages though and if they keep declining and I get pain in my arms then I will go see a doc or talk to Eric Cressy and mention what your described.Im glad to hear you go it all sorted though.

And thanks again for informing me of this condition :slightly_smiling: