Recovering to Baseline vs Overcompensation

A lot gets talked about people either lifting again before their muscles recover or people waiting too long to lift again, but is it possible to be training when muscles have recovered to baseline but not given enough time to overcompensate and make gains? In this state you aren’t training too much as far as having your body in a constant state of breaking down and eventually getting weaker, but you are also aren’t making progress.

Is this state of limbo a real thing ? I seem to be in it right now. I’m a beginner and have been working each body part every second day going to failure for 3-5 sets for 5 reps and have made zero progress in 2 months. I’m also not getting any weaker, my body seems to be recovering as far as getting back to baseline, but not making improvements.

So, to clarify, when you do squats, you squat until you fail, the bar crashes onto the pins of the rack, you take all the plates off, re rack it, reload it, and then do 2-4 more sets just like that?


As in im barely able to get the last rep up and i know i wouldnt be able to do another rep.

That is not going to failure…

You most likely have more in you


He’s not being mean, OP; it’s really hard to actually get to failure. I definitely don’t have the courage to do it more then once or twice a workout on anything more serious than a curl or machine press.

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You aren’t varying your rep ranges, so expect this to happen.

Evaluate your nutrition and training regimen (process) before evaluating results (outcome). Your training is probably incorrect, especially if you are reaching failure after 5 reps repeatedly.

Start trying for those extra reps. Set a goal rep amount you want to hit before you move up in weight and once you get to that target rep, add weight next time and repeat that process until you’re so big that you don’t need to ask questions.


You seem the answer your own question.
Is limbo possible? Because I’m in limbo.

The fact is you are by definition in limbo. So if you want to make progress your question should be - how to I get out of it.

Being in limbo means in some way or another you are not doing enough to get bigger or stronger. Identify where you think you might not be doing enough. In the gym or in the kitchen.
IE are you not working hard enough. Are you not eating well enough.
Or both. Now change that. See if you get any results.
You could also post a copy of your work outs and a sample of your daily diet. This will help.


Good advise above already, without knowing how you train today, what progress you have made, what your diet, conditioning and recovery look like, it is too hard for anyone to give decent advise.
If all you really want to know is ‘is it possible to train what you think is hard and not make progress?’ then the answer to that question is yes, because that is exactly what you say you are doing.

Thats pretty serious already man. I don’t think i could squat to genuine failure more than once or twice in a lifetime.


Totally agree. I should have qualified even further by saying upper body. I can’t even think of the last time I lunged or leg pressed to failure. It’s damn near impossible.

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I see what you did there.

Squatting to failure 101:


I can count on one hand how many times I’ve ACTUALLY hit true failure on a squat, meaning failed the lift. I’m pretty sure I can specifically recount each time. It truly is a hard thing to do, both mentally and physically.

One time, when I had JUST started lifting, I put 135 on the bar, and it basically just crushed me. I went straight down with it, didn’t come close to lifting it. Glad I had a spotter.

Many years later, I had been out of the gym for awhile, and attempted 405, no spotter. Went down alright, came halfway up and had to bail. Really solid bail, I was happy with myself.

A couple years ago, I had a max zercher squat in a comp. Brutal lift. I can’t remember exactly what I went for, I think it was like 450 or so. I’d already won my weight class on my second attempt with 405, so I just decided to go for a big PR. Nearly fucking killed myself on that one, lol. The pressure was immense, it felt HORRIBLE. Spotters were excellent on that lift.

I can’t actually remember another failed squat, that may be it. I don’t remember ever failing on anything but a max.

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That is a NASTY lift for max. But that’s strong man for you. I’ve always found front loaded lifts to be harder as well. The weight at the front REALLY compresses my chest cavity and I struggle to breath. But that is the point.

Sorry OP - well of point now. Still upload your training and what you eat in a day and someone will help.

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still off topic, BUT.

you ever do a conan’s wheel? I’ve done conan’s wheel for max distance before. It’s the absolute worst.

Yes. I love/hate it. I love it as its as much a test of “who wants it the most” as anything else. And I wanted it bad. Hate it as this means I do silly stuff.

See the video below
I had pre warned my wife and kids that in training I’d gotten close to “going out” doing this. And today I would pass out before the bar went down. What you see here is 100% genuine - tunnel vision, greyed out sky passed out. I woke up on the floor.

I’m really proud of this. Again because I went 100% all in. But also - I fluffed the event before and came 4th from last. So I went 4th over all. So I had 15 people after me. So I had to REALLY put a bench mark out there. I owned this event and got a top 3 finish.


I don’t know if it’s off topic at all, really.

Basically, most of us can probably get to failure on a leg curl.

Most of us can’t actually get there on a squat.

It doesn’t take much deeper rocket surgery to uncover it’s unlikely anyone is using the more efficient lifts AND doing multiple sets to failure in a workout.


There is ONE way I can think of, that could be done regularly…
load up a deadlift bar to 100 lbs above your max. Attempt it multiple times in one session. Voila! Multiple sets to failure :slight_smile:

But seriously, you’re obviously spot on. Anything you can do for at least 1 rep, on any exercise, is not something your body can hit failure on multiple times a day, multiple days a week, etc.