T Nation

I Can't Figure This Out at All


What does it mean when you can lift the same sets/reps/weight every day? If I did a workout today for 3x5 Overhead press at 145 lbs and tomorrow I can do the same thing, does that mean I'm not training hard enough?

I fail on the 5th rep, but I can train 3x5, 5x5, or even 10x5 @ 145 lbs on OP every single day of the week. I feel taxed after every workout. Is the muscle getting torn at all? How am I supposed to build strength?

If I take time off (a week) I'm still at the same level and can't seem to progress in weight at all. I realize I've probably plateaued but does this make any sense?


So you can do 10x5 @ 145, but can't do 1 rep @ 150 say, is that correct?
You could try adding a micro weight, something very small to the bar.
Otherwise you need to look at your form maybe, because if your able to do 10x5 @ 145, you definitely own that weight and should be able to improve up in weight, even if its just ! rep @ 150.
I have never had that issue before, I get stuck for a while and than usually break through in 2 weeks or I de-load for a week and progress from there, or I do some more assistance work on the surrounding muscles for a few weeks and see if it helps, you could try that, maybe your focusing on the one movement to much.
Good luck with it mate.


first of all.. why in the world are you doing the same workout everyday?
are you very sore in the shoulders, upper chest/back, or arms when you wake up any of the days following this workout?
anyways, heres my guess.

your body (a human being) is very good at adapting to stress, the first day or two 20 reps was plenty of stress and your body adapted by getting stronger (nervous system adaptations) and possibly building more muscular tissue. during a workout, the entire muscle isn't broken down, a very small % is actually broken down. so the next day, the large % of muscle that wasn't broken down does the brunt of the work, and minor adaptations from the nervous system get you the last rep or two that mayyybe the broken down muscle would have prevented you from doing.
basically you've adapted to doing 20 reps. either up the poundage a bit, or up the reps each workout. depends on your goals i guess.

AKA. 20 reps is for endurance and you are breaking down an even smaller % then pure strength or hypertrophy training, and therefore aren't really challenging the muscle all the much the next day when you do the exact same thing.

make sense?

finally, look up the principal of super compensation, theres an article on Tnation but i couldn't figure out which one it is, the search just shows threads. anyways, look it up, and understand that if you want to get stronger you have to wait for the muscle that has been broken down to heal and grow, before you train it again. wait to little, and you just break the muscle down farther, wait to long and the new muscle tissue is deemed useless by your body, and isn't supported any longer.


I can lift more weight than 145 lbs. I can do 160 for a single rep.

However progressive overload works for reps and weight, does it not? If I'm doing a set of 5 reps than if I'm overloading the muscle, making it stronger, and resting, I should be able to eventually do 6 reps, right?

I've never been able to hit that 6th rep and can't figure out why. I figure if I"m recovering fast enough to be able to lifts 5 reps every day consistently, then taking a week off and trying for the 6th rep would work. It in fact does not.

I can't seem to get stronger and it's very frustrating. I"m sitting here wondering how guys can deadlift 600+ pounds, bench above 300, etc. when I'm stuck at low numbers and can't really improve on any of my lifts because of the same problem as described above.


Eat more.

Stop fucking around testing your strength everyday.

Get a sensible routine. And force yourself to get stronger. 5/3/1 with plenty of accessory work is a good template for making strength gains.



Just out of curiosity, can you gain strength without eating more (or even in a calorie deficit)? I want to gain mass but curious if I can ever gain strength if I never eat more.


like i said in my first post, training the same thing every day for a week, is not enough time in-between every session, and waiting a whole week, is to long in-between every session. also, like i said before, hitting 5 reps every day, is training to hit 5 reps, are you hitting the reps faster everyday, are you taking less rest time between sets? do you do more than one set?

ill admit I'm not a pro, but I'm more then willing to help you out.
answering these questions will make that 100x easier, be as brief as you like, but as with everything, the more attention to detail the better.

what is your:
training history
current training schedule


with a sensible program and newbie gains... maybe, but basically no.




23 years old
No disabilities
170 lbs
Can't guess on BF %, but I can see a slight outline on abs.
Eat clean always (lean meats, veggies, fruits, etc.)

Training history is basically non-existent. I was always in sports as a kid, and was naturally athletic, but I'm not ripped like I want to be (and like I was as a kid). I move around a lot because of my job so trying to stay on a program is hard, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes at this point. I"ve tried starting strength before but haven't been able to stay on it for more than a month at a time, and have done that a few times.

Thanks in advance to everyone for the help.


Just realized something. I used a max calculator:

I'm doing 5 reps at 90% 1 rep max. I've read elsewhere that 5 reps should be between 70 and 75% of 1 rep max. Is this too intense?

Every set feels like I'm not going to make it, but I get really pissed and put it up anyway. Perhaps if I lowered the weight to 130 (70% of 1 rep max) I would be able to increase over time.

I don't know if this has anything to do with it.


basically i think that we can agree that the only thing thats holding you back is yourself, but its not your fault, your just missing some information.

like bonez said, food, is a very big part of all this.
-specifically protein, 25-30g 6 times a day, 4 meals and a shake pre and post workout. or more, this only puts you at 150-180g a day, but its a good start.
-limit carbs, bread & fruits, to breakfast, and pre and post workout, 2 out of three is better then 3 out of 3 if you want to lose fat.
*veggies can be eaten more often
-fats are a form of energy, just like carbs, and should be consumed at all meals except pre and post workout, because it will slow down the metabolism of the shake.

you can find more information on this site about diet, WAY more information. apply k.i.s.s principle



Frequency: 1 to 2 times per week per muscle group.
Body split up over 3 to 6 sessions, depending on frequency and number of muscles trainer per session.
2 to 3 muscles trained at each session.
Sets and reps: Warm up and ramp up to 1 to 2 all-out blast sets of 6 to 15 reps - depending on what you grow best from.
2 to 4 exercises per muscle group, including both compound and isolation exercises. Large muscles usually get 2 compound and 1 or 2 isolation exercises and small ones usually get 1 or 2 compound exercises and 1 or 2 isolation exercises.
STEADY-STATE Cardio as need for in- and off-season for 20 to 60 minutes. YEAH, that's right - NO fucking intervals, kettlebell complexes, sandbag hauling, or anything else that 240+ pound bodybuilders NEVER do!

i copy pasted this from the body building bible, which is found in the stickies in the body building forum.

you'll find that a good program will incorporate all of these principals
you can buy 5/3/1 here http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&pid=2976
you can also find plenty of good programs on Tnation. apply k.i.s.s. Don't get crazy with conjugated westside templates, etc, worry about that later in your training career. when you have the strength and knowledge to really gain from it.

this is covered in training, but you need to take 48-72 hours off between training the same muscle group.
on top of that, you need rest at night, 8 hours minimum, but that is somewhat specific to the person.

whey protein- very fast metabolizing protein, before and/or after workouts and/or first thing in the morning
multi-vitamin- cover your bases, if your deficient in something, your body cannot perform at its peak.

fish oil
specific vitamins
specific amino acids (building blocks of protein)
Surge workout fuel- look it up in TNation store

specific amino's ( i know its in suggested )
pre workout stims
*most of the effects of the items in this list might not even be detectable by people without training experience and a good logbook. this does not mean they are useless, just that if you are going to spend money, spend it on vital or suggested until you have a better idea of how your body functions.

read as much as you can. frequent the live spill and training lab and forums and articles on this site OFTEN, go back to previous months or years and read if you run out of new stuff. frequent the eliteFTS articles as well.

stick to a diet and program for AT LEAST a month. minimum.

and ask questions. which your doing already. but don't forget to keep being curious.

do you have a goal for BW and %, or someone you want to look like that can be found on google? it would help with picking out a program and diet a lot. also, any strength goals you have in mind?

also, you might like to know that added muscle will take more energy to maintain, and therefore, the extra food you'll be eating, plus any extra body fat, will go to fuelling the new muscle

last thing. for real this time. if you have any questions about anything i wrote, ask


^^I wondered how long I would read this thread before it rained truth.

I certainly agree.

It sounds to me like you have convinced yourself that certain weights are too heavy to lift.
You lift 145 for 10 reps but can get 160 once?

Before you get under the bar does your inner monologue say, "I will get this 5 times but not 6?" Try telling yourself things like, "I will get this weight 15 times", and, "I will dominate 225 before the end of the year", etc.

Once you have the positive thought processes try eating like bones wrote and not testing strength every single day. Also, take a break of 48 hours in between lifting the same muscle groups, as Marauder wrote.

Getting stronger takes time and does not happen in a week or two.


Your body does not get stronger because you performed some magical formula of the perfect sets and reps and 1RM percentages. If all you ever do is rep 145lbs, your body is going to get better at... using 145lbs.

When you get it for 3 whole sets of 5 reps, ADD WEIGHT TO THE BAR so that you can't get 3 sets of 5 anymore, and work with that new weight trying to add a rep every session until you CAN. That is seriously all there is to this.

It is your own sheer hard work that makes you stronger... forcing your body to do more than it wants to, bringing it close enough to that "edge" that it actually has a real reason to adapt. You want to send your body the message that if it doesn't make these muscles bigger and stronger, the next time we have to do this exercise you're going to die under all that weight, and oh here's some food to get the job done. BAM.