T Nation

Weight Increase Issue


Hey guys,

   So Im hitting this point of frustration in my training that I need to break through. I am doing a simple A/B split (basically Rippetoes) and I am hitting a wall that doesnt make any sense. I benched last week and hit 5x5 of my target weight with no problem. Went into the gym yesterday with the goal of hitting 5x5 with a 5lb increase.

I couldnt even get my first 5 reps! I wound up getting 4,3,2,2,2. WTF? I could understand if I missed the last two sets, but I didnt hit any! This is not the first time this has happened, and it is extremely frustrating. I dont want to lower down to a 3x5 just yet, because I should be able to do this no problem. What is the most likely issue here? Just a bad day?


Eat more. Grow. Lift more. Rinse, repeat. At some point in time you're going to get to a point where you simply can't add 5 lbs every training session or every week. I know for me I'm happy to get 30 lbs in a year on a lift.


I should probably add that the weight Im trying to break is 205lbs :slightly_smiling: I weigh 195lbs at about 18% bf. This is an insanely low amount of weight and I feel like I shouldnt be getting stuck this early. at my weight, I feel like I should be able to rep 225 with ease. Do I have to continue to gain weight in order to get my numbers up, I feel like I am already pushing it in the weight department considering I am 5'11". I was considering cutting down In about a month.


Most probably inexplicably inconsistent lifting means there is a mechanical issue. In other words, you sometimes get the lift better and stuff works better then the next time around something is out of whack and poundages drop. You should, of course, aim for reproducibility in all your lifts. Always check form if there is inexplicable inconsistency.

Biggest gains I got on chest presses were after taking the time to do a bunch of rowing exercises and pullups. Once I got posterior chain stronger I was to lift more. You should also dig up Cressy's articles on shoulder health and do things like facepulls or ITYs. These are the boring exercises that really make a difference.

This is all based on my experiences. YMMV...

-- jj


Do you have to eat to get stronger? No, but it helps for sure. 195 at 5'11" isn't really that big at all, especially in powerlifting. Hell at 5'8" and 215 I feel small compared to a lot of the guys I lift with that are sitting in the 275+ range.

Move away from linear periodization if it's not working for you and give undulating or conjugate methods a go. Could always go on 5/3/1 as it seems to work for quite a lot of people. Also determine where you're actually failing in the press and program your accessory work accordingly.


THanks man. I was considering moving to 5/3/1 but I thought that my numbers were way too low to move to something like that. My Bench is 200x5, Dead is 300x5 and Squat is 200x5. About my squat, I suffered a quad injury a while back and I didnt squat for quite a while. I can do more than 200x5, but I am just increasing slowly by 5 pounds per workout so that I dont overdo it. It should catch up to my other lifts shortly.


Never apologize for where you're at, at any given point in time. The only thing that a person needs to apologize for is not trying to better themselves. That is not your issue.
As others have mentioned, your diet makes a difference when strength training. 5/3/1 is a fine program...best of luck!


Thanks dude, so you think that even with my numbers 5/3/1 could be of use? I heard alot of talk about me being too new to do a program based on monthly weight increases. Honestly If I keep hitting this wall on bench I guess there is nothing to lose...


You're absolutely at a fine level for 5/3/1.


the beauty of 5/3/1, westside (if understood well) 5x5 is that they ALL can be used with beginners since they are working off a persons % of best 1rm, not Vogelpohls 1200lb squat, mendelsons 1000lb bench but what YOU are capable of doing...

I did westside for a solid year missing less than 6 training sessions and have recently moved more towards the chaos+pain protocol and have still made progress over the last 3 months. It is sloowww progress but a 2.5# increase in a month is still an increase : )

Never apologize for where you're at, at any given point in time X 2 !


It's crazy you just posted this. I had the exact same thing happen to me yesterday with the same weight except on military press. I did 200x5x5 easily last week but could only get 3 reps on my first set with 205. I thought for sure I would be able to get 5 reps for at least the first few sets. I feel your frustration. When you work really hard at something and don't see results it inevitably makes you feel terrible.

But if there's one thing I've learned about lifting it's that persistence is the most important thing. EVERYONE has bad workouts. No one can accurately predict how they are going to perform every time they lift. The people who get strong are the ones that keep getting up after their failures and never, never quit.

If it's any consolation I was going to just deload down and do high rep sets for awhile 15-20 to take pressure off my joints. I figure once I get back to the heavier weights I'll be more prepared to handle them. I've not had much luck using 5x5 at all. My body seems to respond better when I just do 2-3 sets with maximum ball-busting effort. Maybe something similar will work for you? I know people are going to disagree with me but I think you have room to get stronger at a quicker pace before you start a slower gaining program like 5/3/1.


Thanks guys. I feel like my bench/OHP might be ready for something like 5/3/1, but my shitty squat needs to increase at a faster rate than 5/3/1 allows. Are there any suggestions of how I can keep the frequency up on my squats while doing more of a percentage based program for my other lifts? Squatting once a week is just absurd at this point, Im not even squatting bodyweight, its pathetic.


I wouldnt worry about that i started 5/3/1 in december. Im on my second cylce and already gained 10lbs on my bench from 290-300 and i feel much stronger in my deadlift. I think i can hit a 30lb pr im jus waiting for my 5/3/1 day to try out. So although it may seem like ur moving slower since you dont progress the weight weekly you still may make gains that are way higher than 5lbs or 10lbs and the chance of you hiting a wall is minimal because you are increasing so slowly. jus my 2 cents


Unless you're a really small guy, like you said 205 lbs is a low weight to be stuck on. Most likely you arent eating and resting enough.

Also, dont be afraid of the weights. Just think of the weight like and adversary that you are going to punish. For benching for example think like you're punching someone in the face. For the squat, ust think of being as tight as possible and exploding up.

It could also be a form issue. Try posting a video.