T Nation

Help With Plateau


I just ended a career in running and I'd like to put some weight on. I've actually been lifting 3 days a week for about a year now except during track season. The results were pretty good at first I put on about 15 pounds of mostly muscle. But for the past maybe 5 months I've pretty much plateaued both in weight lifted and body weight.

I weigh about 175 and am a touch over 6 feet tall. I've been striving for a goal of about 190 pounds and have recently taken up a much healthier diet. I've been concentrating mainly on my upper body. My workout includes: (please excuse my weak vernacular)

3x80 sit ups
2x10 pull ups
3x12 100 pound curls
3x12 60 pound tricept pull down
3x10 45 pound barbell pectoral flys
3x10 150 pounds pectoral fly machine
3x10 180 pounds dip machine
3x30 (those things that work on your lower back)
3x15 (those things that work on your lower back with 25 pounds)
3x10 120 pounds sitting pull back

I've been reading around and I was wondering if maybe my reps were too high and my sets too low. Thanks


I'd say you're right on both counts. Cut the reps in half, and add 2-4 sets depending on the exercise.

General overview: I'd like to see you using:
- More free weights, less machines. That would let you go a bit heavier on each movement, which would promote more growth. These are good things.

  • More compound movements (barbell or dumbbell row, deadlifts, military press, barbell or dumbbell bench press, squats), less isolation movements (curls, extensions, pec-flyes).

  • And I'd difinitely re-arrange your workout, so you hit the bigger bodyparts (back, chest, and shoulders) before smaller ones (arms and abs). Don't forget legs. Don't forget legs. Don't forget legs.


Yeah, ditto.

Put in the big compound movements like chins, rows, deads, bench and squatting.

Then, change up your routine from time to time. You can't keep doing the same thing and expect the body to keep growing because of it.

Maybe look into Chad Waterbury's ABBH program or something.

Finally read up. There is a lot of great information on here that should be able to help you avoid plateaus.


Don't forget diet. You've been counting calories? Try Massive Eating/Massive Eating Reloaded by John Berardi. It's the best diet to grow lean mass but control blood sugar levels to prevent out-of-control fat accumulation.