Strength Gain Plateau - Why?

Looking back through my training log I feel like my strength has plateaued. I’ve been running Eric Cressey maximum strength program for 6 weeks. I’ve seen good progress with my squat, a little bit with my deadlifts, which can mostly be attributed to dialing in my technique, but my upper body strength, especially on the bench, hasn’t really improved. I’m following the program as written, and adding in some conditioning as well. My technique is sound, and I’ve been eating around 3500-4000 cals a day.

What’s the deal?

You say your upper body strength “hasn’t really improved”. Does this mean that it HAS improved, but only marginally, or do you mean to say it hasnt improved at all?

For instance, last week I put up 160x5 on close grip bench, today I could only get 155. About 3 weeks ago I got 185x3 on flat bench, today I could only go it for 3 singles, and 175 was about my limit for 3 reps. Im just confused. I feel like I’m doing all the right things and just not seeing much progress.

So I just looked at your log, and I see lots and lots of conditioning and cardio work. Are you currently training for something running related, or no? You could be burning up too much energy here, and that’s compromising your strength gains. (In which case, I would just eat more, personally)

My second thought is you’re not pressing frequently enough and/or with enough volume.

But since you are following a program, by a good coach, my thought is the problem comes back to this:

6 weeks? That’s a drop of water in the proverbial bucket of time.

Could merely be a bad day. It happens.

Those numbers aren’t that big, so if it’s not a bad day; sounds like a recovery issue. Numbers don’t go backward or stagnate (at that low of weights) unless you aren’t recovered properly. Seeing as you had a whole week between the workouts (time isn’t the issue then), what else do you think it could be? Not enough calories? Not enough sleep? Too much “conditioning”?

edit----seconds before i finish typing, LoRez finds the answer. :slight_smile:

I think it may be the conditioning. I’m in the military so I have a 3mi run test a couple times a year. Nothing too challenging. My conditioning pretty much consists of sled pushing and sprints. If I wanted to keep the conditioning volume where it’s at would the key be to increase calories to maybe 4300 or 4500?