T Nation

Stuck In a Plateau...

Alright well heres the deal. I started back up with a heavy lifting and diet/nutrition program on January 1st and I have seem progressive and steady gains up until the last six weeks. Over the last six weeks I have made little to no strength gains at all and in some cases have actually declined in some lifts. I have tried modifying my routine slightly by adding new lifts and taking some out. I do chest on monday, arms on wednesday, back/shoulders on friday, and legs on saturday.

I am still taking lots of protein and vitamin supplements in addition to fish oil. I weigh about 190 lbs and would estimate I consume an average of about 250 grams of protein a day. In addition I get about 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Any one have any ideas on why I am in such a bad plateau. I cant remember the last time I did a set of bench and felt good about it afterwards. Im not discouraged just mildly frustrated that all this dieting and training has me stuck in a plateau. I am looking build mass and strength at the current moment not to get cut.

I would be great if anyone could give me and information like how many carbs I should aim for a day and the amount of rest I should aim for in between sets. I would say that right now I am at about 2-3 minutes per set. I have been lifting for a long time but I know for a fact that I do not know everything there is about lifting at all. I merely know the tip of the ice berg. Any help or info you guys could provide me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

[quote]cphils wrote:
Alright well heres the deal. I started back up with a heavy lifting and diet/nutrition program on January 1st and I have seem progressive and steady gains up until the last six weeks. Over the last six weeks I have made little to no strength gains at all and in some cases have actually declined in some lifts. I have tried modifying my routine slightly by adding new lifts and taking some out. I do chest on monday, arms on wednesday, back/shoulders on friday, and legs on saturday.

I am still taking lots of protein and vitamin supplements in addition to fish oil. I weigh about 190 lbs and would estimate I consume an average of about 250 grams of protein a day. In addition I get about 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Any one have any ideas on why I am in such a bad plateau. I cant remember the last time I did a set of bench and felt good about it afterwards. Im not discouraged just mildly frustrated that all this dieting and training has me stuck in a plateau. I am looking build mass and strength at the current moment not to get cut.

I would be great if anyone could give me and information like how many carbs I should aim for a day and the amount of rest I should aim for in between sets. I would say that right now I am at about 2-3 minutes per set. I have been lifting for a long time but I know for a fact that I do not know everything there is about lifting at all. I merely know the tip of the ice berg. Any help or info you guys could provide me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!! [/quote]

Jack up protein to 270-300, if that doesn’t work for 3-4 weeks take 2 weeks off.

can I see your program?

Your beginner gains are over… Now things get a little more interesting/difficult.

I agree with MEYMZ, up protein intake (and perhaps add a little more fat or carbs as well).

My program would be Mondays: Bench press 3 sets of 6 reps, DB Bench 3 sets of 6 reps, Incline Bench 3 sets of 6 reps, Incline Flyes 3 sets of 10 8 6 reps, Decline bench 3 sets of 6 reps, and Regular flyes 3 sets of 10 8 6 reps.

Wednesdays- Arms : Dumbell Curls 10 8 6, Tricep v-bar pushdowns 10 8 6, Barbell Curls 10 8 6, Tricep straight-bar pushdowns 10 8 6, Close grip barbell curls 10 8 6, and Dumbell behind the back/head tricep extensions 10 8 6.

Fridays- Shoulders/Back: Lateral Pull downs 10 8 6, Shoulder Press 10 8 6, Seated Rows 10 8 6, Dumbell Shoulder Press 10 8 6, laying down rows (using a machine type thing) 10 8 6, and lateral raises 10 8 6.

Saturdays- Squats 10 8 6, Leg Press 10 8 6, Leg extensions 10 8 6, Leg Curls 10 8 6, Stiff Leg Dead lift 10 8 6, and Lunges.

*I also do Abs at the end of ever workout and every off day right before bed.

Yes i do agree I probably need more carbs. Im currently taking a mass gainer immediately post workout that has 50 grams protein and 120 grams of carbs. I also take this on off days first thing in the morning. However besides this i think I am lacking on carbs. Unfortunately I am a college student who cant afford to go spend too much money on food. I need to spend as little as I can while still making sure I get lots of protein.

I would say my diet consists of: The mass gaining shake, two regular protein shakes, 2 big scoops of peanut butter, one medium size chicken breast, one bowl of kashi high protein cereal (13 grams a serving), one can of tuna, one protein bar (20 grams), and a few large glasses of milk throughout the day. * I drink skim milk only.

Oh and by the way thanks for the help/interest guys. I would say im only an intermediate weight lifter when it comes to knowledge and experience. I appreciate any help I can get from seasoned veterans.

[quote]cphils wrote:
My program would be Mondays: Bench press 3 sets of 6 reps, DB Bench 3 sets of 6 reps, Incline Bench 3 sets of 6 reps, Incline Flyes 3 sets of 10 8 6 reps, Decline bench 3 sets of 6 reps, and Regular flyes 3 sets of 10 8 6 reps.

Wednesdays- Arms : Dumbell Curls 10 8 6, Tricep v-bar pushdowns 10 8 6, Barbell Curls 10 8 6, Tricep straight-bar pushdowns 10 8 6, Close grip barbell curls 10 8 6, and Dumbell behind the back/head tricep extensions 10 8 6.

Fridays- Shoulders/Back: Lateral Pull downs 10 8 6, Shoulder Press 10 8 6, Seated Rows 10 8 6, Dumbell Shoulder Press 10 8 6, laying down rows (using a machine type thing) 10 8 6, and lateral raises 10 8 6.

Saturdays- Squats 10 8 6, Leg Press 10 8 6, Leg extensions 10 8 6, Leg Curls 10 8 6, Stiff Leg Dead lift 10 8 6, and Lunges.

*I also do Abs at the end of ever workout and every off day right before bed.[/quote]

how long have you followed a lift schedule like this one? have you considered revamping your schedule? switching to new lifts or changing how you pair up your lifts? what lifts are plateauing, which have declined, and are any improving?

[quote]cphils wrote:
My program would be Mondays: Bench press 3 sets of 6 reps, DB Bench 3 sets of 6 reps, Incline Bench 3 sets of 6 reps, Incline Flyes 3 sets of 10 8 6 reps, Decline bench 3 sets of 6 reps, and Regular flyes 3 sets of 10 8 6 reps.

Wednesdays- Arms : Dumbell Curls 10 8 6, Tricep v-bar pushdowns 10 8 6, Barbell Curls 10 8 6, Tricep straight-bar pushdowns 10 8 6, Close grip barbell curls 10 8 6, and Dumbell behind the back/head tricep extensions 10 8 6.

Fridays- Shoulders/Back: Lateral Pull downs 10 8 6, Shoulder Press 10 8 6, Seated Rows 10 8 6, Dumbell Shoulder Press 10 8 6, laying down rows (using a machine type thing) 10 8 6, and lateral raises 10 8 6.

Saturdays- Squats 10 8 6, Leg Press 10 8 6, Leg extensions 10 8 6, Leg Curls 10 8 6, Stiff Leg Dead lift 10 8 6, and Lunges.

*I also do Abs at the end of ever workout and every off day right before bed.[/quote]

Whoa. That would kill Ronnie…

You don’t need to do every single chest exercise in existence every time you train chest, for example.
Ease up on the volume a little… 2-3 main exercises are perfectly enough per muscle-group, and 3 is usually pushing it. You’re not going to get very strong by doing 6 chest exercises in one session etc.

You also have no heavy pressing in your tricep routine whatsoever. A bunch of pushdown variants plus overhead DB extensions may be ok for someone with great tricep genetics, but us mortals usually have to work for our arm size.

We have a sticky called something like “Best of T-Nation” at the top of this sub-forum.
Check out some of the threads linked in there, like the “Professor X: a request” thread to learn some about program design.

Good luck with your training!

im not gonna lie i have been on this similar lift schedule for too long… months at the least. i dont really know which lifts to switch out or which ones to switch in. this is where my lack of knowledge kills me. All of my chest lifts are in a complete plateau in addition to my bicep lifts. I am making some gains on my triceps and some gains on my shoulders and legs. But they are very small gains. Like small improvement over a month. Never any week to week or every other week gains.

[quote]cphils wrote:
Yes i do agree I probably need more carbs. Im currently taking a mass gainer immediately post workout that has 50 grams protein and 120 grams of carbs. I also take this on off days first thing in the morning. However besides this i think I am lacking on carbs. Unfortunately I am a college student who cant afford to go spend too much money on food. I need to spend as little as I can while still making sure I get lots of protein.

I would say my diet consists of: The mass gaining shake, two regular protein shakes, 2 big scoops of peanut butter, one medium size chicken breast, one bowl of kashi high protein cereal (13 grams a serving), one can of tuna, one protein bar (20 grams), and a few large glasses of milk throughout the day. * I drink skim milk only.
[/quote] Chicken breast? Are you serious? A skinny little college student low on funds buys chicken breasts?
Come on man. You need more cals, get some ground beef, pizza/burgers (within reason, of course), cottage cheese, pasta… Grind oats to a fine powder in a blender/mixer/whatever it’s called in English, put that into your regular shakes (if they are lacking in carbs), etc…

[quote]

Oh and by the way thanks for the help/interest guys. I would say im only an intermediate weight lifter when it comes to knowledge and experience. I appreciate any help I can get from seasoned veterans.[/quote]
No problem. Don’t be fooled by the diets you see in the muscle mags etc though. Those are either pre-contest or completely made up by some 150lb writer… We don’t eat chicken breast and rice all day long :slight_smile: Kind of hard to get the cals in that way.

This is a response to cephalic carnage?? excuse the spelling. Wow i never knew that I should cut down to 2-3 lifts per muscle group. Would that still mean only 2-3 lifts on a day when I have biceps/triceps or shoulder/back. Or would that mean 2-3 for biceps and 2-3 for triceps. And in addition I do not know of any real power tricep lifts. These are the only real tricep lifts ive known since back in the days of football lifting.

Any links to better tricep lifts or knowledge of ones you know will be greatly appreciated. And on a final note will i need to increase rest time so my workouts arent really short with just 2-3 lifts and will i notice an increase in fat due to a shortened workout and less calorie burning.

[quote]cphils wrote:
im not gonna lie i have been on this similar lift schedule for too long… months at the least. i dont really know which lifts to switch out or which ones to switch in. this is where my lack of knowledge kills me. All of my chest lifts are in a complete plateau in addition to my bicep lifts. I am making some gains on my triceps and some gains on my shoulders and legs. But they are very small gains. Like small improvement over a month. Never any week to week or every other week gains.[/quote]

You are simply doing WAY too much chest work, there’s reason number 1.

Secondly, strength gains are very important… They, in combination with your diet, are what’s going to get you big. If you gain 30 lbs of bodyweight in a certain time-frame but you only make mediocre strength gains on your lifts, then most of your bodyweight gain will end up being fat (body has no reason to add a lot of muscle-mass unless you force it to… Heavier weights for reps are a good reason :slight_smile:

Do read those threads referenced in the sticky at the top of the forum.

[quote]cphils wrote:
This is a response to cephalic carnage?? excuse the spelling. Wow i never knew that I should cut down to 2-3 lifts per muscle group. Would that still mean only 2-3 lifts on a day when I have biceps/triceps or shoulder/back. Or would that mean 2-3 for biceps and 2-3 for triceps. And in addition I do not know of any real power tricep lifts. These are the only real tricep lifts ive known since back in the days of football lifting. Any links to better tricep lifts or knowledge of ones you know will be greatly appreciated. And on a final note will i need to increase rest time so my workouts arent really short with just 2-3 lifts and will i notice an increase in fat due to a shortened workout and less calorie burning.[/quote]

2-3 for each separate muscle-group.
Smaller muscle-groups usually don’t need 3 main lifts, but you can do 2 and a “pump” exercise (where you don’t bother much with progressing).

It kind of varies from person to person, strength levels, recovery abilities, diet and the way you go about your sets (ramped or same weight on all work sets? etc).

If your workouts feel “too” short (not always a bad thing, the shorter they are, the faster you recover from them), you can just add another bodypart that day… For example, some area you want to bring up or so…

Good tricep lifts… (the presses require that you learn about proper setup first, mind you. It’s not just “lie down on the bench and press”, that is going to land you in shoulder-injury-country sooner or later)

Presses:
-Close-grip (none of that 4-6 inch crap though, shoulder width or armpit width depending on whether you tuck or flare the elbows) bench off the pins (set several inches off the chest) in a power rack.
-Regular CGP
-2-board press/CGP
-In-Human Press (in the smith, pressing towards feet as well as up, check my “how do you train?” thread or other threads for a detailed description)
-SWRGB

Extensions/pullover-extension hybrids
-PJR pullover/extension
-Dead Stop Extensions on the floor or on a bench, bring the bar down behind the head, let it rest on bench/floor, explode back up and stop with upper arms at an incline.
-(Larry) Scott Extensions (bent-forward or kneeling, facing away from the cable/pulley station)

Pushdowns are imo not much of a main exercise if you want to make the tris bigger and stronger in relation to everything else, but you can do them of course.

It pays to buy some elbow sleeves (Tommy Konos or EFS/APT sleeves) to keep your elbows healthy… What with all the pressing and extensions you’re going to be doing.

Read those threads I told you about… Afterwards, try to come up with a routine and then post it in my “how do you train?” -thread for a review.
Also check the T-Nation article Dave Tate did on bench technique/setup.

[quote]cphils wrote:
And on a final note will i need to increase rest time so my workouts arent really short with just 2-3 lifts and will i notice an increase in fat due to a shortened workout and less calorie burning.[/quote]

Strength Training, unless modified heavily, is not there to burn fat… It’s there to get you strong and big.
You might want to add some cardio and simply control your diet (gaining too much fat? ease up on the calories and perhaps take other measures… Gaining no strength? More cals and possibly more protein depending on how much you weigh).

C_C wow as always I think no one could’ve said it better, another pointer for the OP to understand:

-The less lifts you do, the more progression you’ll be likely having on each lift. You said it, you are doing too many lifts, but no progression on them.
-But you need to perform the adequate volume to stimulate hypertrophy.
-Most of this stimulation would come from 2-3 lifts performed with maximum intensity (if your set was 6 reps and you completed all of them, up the weight), working sets counted from when you get to aprox 60% of your 1rep max, each performed with maximum acceleration without sacrificing proper form.

you might want to try 5x5 ramping… worked for me