Putting in the Time, But Not Getting Stronger

Hi there! So I’ve been lifting for about a year. I track my weight/reps, food intake, cardio speed and endurance. Im in the gym at least 4 days a week (5 if i have time). I vary my routines but cannot se to get stronger. Form is good (from what I’m told at least) and by the time my workout is done I’m toast.

I cannot seem to get stronger. What the hell am I doing wrong?

Thanks in advance. Pictures posted for current physical appearance

Note* I do have proper gym edicate and use the appropriate spaces for what they are meant for (i.e. squat rack is for squats not curls and so on)

You’ve been training for a year and you vary your routines. How many routines have you done in a year, and what are they?

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What metric are you using to figure out if you gotnstronger or not?

Ive done 2 routines in the year. I did the Jim Staponi shortcut to size and the shortcut to strength.

Im using actual ability to lift. While i do care how I look, im stuck at 225 on bench, 300 in squats and 45 in curls. 70 in tricep push downs and finally 180 in seated rows

It would seem that taking shortcuts did not work well. I’d consider a program built around a LONG training timeline. Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 would be excellent in your current situation. Otherwise, a solution might be to blast the body with some intensity to shake it out of it’s rut, and something like Super Squats or Deep Water would answer the mail well.


I am never, ever the “just do 5/3/1 guy,” but it feels right here. His boring but big is simple and gives you a ton of reps on the movements you care about. I’d probably give that a whirl.


How often are you benching 225lbs?

Thanks guys. I’ll give it a whirl and see what happens. As for the bench, every chest day. I cant seem to get any higher even by 5 lbs…

Sounds like linear progression will no longer work for you, and you’ll need to find a way to periodise your training. 531 will work, but so will simple double progression, or heavy/medium/light.


Those routines are 12 and 6 weeks what were you doing the rest of the year?

How did you progress on the routines?

How can you be “stuck” on numbers when the routines changed rep ranges every week?

You track your food? Good. What and how much are you eating? Tracking doesn’t matter if you make no adjustments.

Highly unlikely he is at that level and for hypertrophy periodization has never been shown to elicit more muscle. There is no need for it.

For strength training, especially when prepping for something for sure.

Gain some weight. Whilst it’s not always true you need to gain weight to get stronger sometimes it is.
It is also true that gaining weight will make it easier to get stronger.

Also - look up longer term training philosophies.

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By periodisation, i’m using it in the loosest possible terms here. I would consider basic double progression a form of periodisation, albeit a very simple one. Anything that isn’t “work up to the heaviest single i can manage” every session is what i’m getting at.

Basically, after i completed shortcut to size i went right i to shortcut to strength. Then i went back to size repeating the cycle. You do perform different reps with each week, but i cant get past the 225. I got great gains to start with but then i just sort of stopped.

Im 36, 5’10, 210lbs and as my user name may suggest, a vet. I am training to do a little something but i can’t afford to go up in weight anymore since i get taped as it is lol

Initially, my bench was less than my body weight since i focused strictly on body weight exercises (its what was drilled into me, sue me lol) so i know im behind the learning curve. Most additional weight i used to use was my rucksack with 50 lbs and thats more cardio than anything else.

As for food, 2 bowls of oatmeal for breakfast (1 cup each. I’d make it one bowl but i am too cheap to buy the bigger bowl lol) with some raisins or dates, a protein shake post workout, lunch is salad. Dinner is either chicken or fish with carrots, broccoli and a roll. Occasionally, (like once a week or every other week depending on my kids) i have a burger or steak.

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Based on eyeball measurements, you are protein deficient; aim for 1g/lb bodyweight, and cut back a tad on carbs so you don’t go up in weight. Nothing wrong with loading up on veggies, just add some protein in there.

You hit 225lb bench within your first year, this is an accomplishment many people took years to get to (myself included). Everyone has plateaus, but I believe yours are likely temporary and will go away after a relatively short period. In the meantime, I would jump to 5/3/1 as suggested above. This holds most - if not all - of the answers you are looking for.


You are not eating like someone that wants to be bigger and stronger. This is more like how someone that wants to be smaller and leaner eats.


A couple of thoughts…

You could, in theory, continue to get stronger while staying at your current bodyweight. It won’t happen as quickly as if you were eating to support strength gains, but it can still happen. The better your diet is while maintaining your bodyweight the more strength gains you can realize.

You could also become a better lifter. Bench in particular is more technical than many people think. Working on back tightness alone bumped me up from the low 300’s to the mid 300’s.

I never got weaker on a 5/3/1 methodology, not even in the process of dropping 50 pounds. There’s a reason you hear a lot of lifters recommending the old tried and true methods.

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You eat less trying to gain strength the I do trying to lose weight.

Try this:
5-6 eggs and 2-3 slices of toast
30-36g of protein, 650 calories

250-300g grams of chicken 2 cups of rice
60-75g of protein and 700 calories

250-300g of 20% mince in chili 2 cups of cooked white rice
50-60g of protein 1100 calories

This should be:
140g of protein, and 2450 calories. Add in a few snacks here and there and boom - you got gold dust.
Hell - swap chicken out for fattier meat. Add another meal in (some pork) and boom you are on a winner.

Are you gaining weight on weekly basis?