T Nation

Why am I Not Getting Any Stronger?

After looking at my pr’s over the past year I feel like I have made no progress. This year my biggest pr’s were this -

Squat-275x4 bench-245x1 deadlifts 345x2

But last year my pr’s were this
Squat-315x1 bench-245x1 deadlifts 345x3

I really like lifting weights but don’t see the point if I’m not even getting stronger anymore.
I make a lot of sacrifices and spend a lot of time for like no progress.
My only answer I can some up with is maybe my recovery is messed up from my laborus job(I tracked my steps a few times and walked over 10 miles and lift metal all day while doing so)
Then I also have 3 kids and family thing going on that is really stressful as well.

I dont like using anything as an excuse but honestly I’ve never met anyone who has a labor job and big family who lifts. Maybe I can learn something from somebody who does.
Or has had some experience with this.

Some help would be much appreciated!

What’s your eating look like? Have you gained/lost weight over this time?

What’s your training look like? Now and over the past 6 months? What were you doing when you stalled and what did you change?

How has your consistency been over this time with both?


Everyone stalls out sometime it’s not like progress is linear or steady or smooth or whatever. Don’t be discouraged.

If you can’t answer some of strongmangoals questions then you know what you can work on the push yourself forward.

A labour intensive job will be a factor you have to consider but its no excuse and in all likelihood you are overestimating the impact. Cos the gym Igo to is in a like industrial area I know more than a dozen guys at my gym who pop in straight after/before work and smash it.

Good luck dude

Good questions. My eating is good as far as I know. I have been consistantly been tracking my food for almost a whole year now. I eat 4000 calories everyday 200g protein 500g carbs 130g fat. I can’t remember the last time I have not hit my calories.(6meals) I have only gained 5lbs since my last cut a year ago. I went from 150 to 155 in a year. I only weigh 155 so it’s pretty weird I have to eat that much. Especially since I’m not even lifting that heavy either.

As far as training I follow Jim wendler programs. I follow them all the way through for months. I keep track of all my workouts. I always enjoy going to the gym and feel like I kill every workout.

Although, I have noticed as soon as I start getting stronger I get sick and have to start from scratch. Almost every 3 or 4 months now ill get a virus or really bad cold or start vomiting for a few days.(This is the only time I miss workouts) Maybe my nervous system is screwed. I really can’t figure out what’s going on there is no way i am overtraining but maybe that’s it somehow when you throw In all my stress factors.

Ya everyone stalls but I’ve been stalled for like a year now.

And I’m not trying to have excuses but I’ve been working like this for over 6 years. People think I’m exadurating but to put this in perspective, imagine walking for 8 to 15 miles every single day for 6 years, your body is going to change itself into more of an endurance body type and tell itself “hey we don’t need to be strong we just need to keep on walking for survival.”

Like I said no excuses but I don’t want to undermine any possibilities as well. And thanks for the encouragement I appreciate your response

You shouldn’t consider your calorie intake in terms of your bodyweight but in terms of your weekly weight gain/loss.

For you, 4000 calories (however you came to that number) means less than half a pound per month.

I’d start by adding 200 calories until you reach closer to 2 lbs per month.

You’ll probably find you get sick less often as well as being able to train harder.

Ya that’s kind of what I’ve been doing. I started at 3700 calories for 3 months. Made no progress so i just started doing 4000 for about 3 more months now. Maybe it’s time to add another 200 or 300 calories and see what happens. Maybe your right too because I’m actually still really hungry all the time.
I’m really ok with slower progress but I feel like a wasted a whole year.

(I got to 4000 by adding more calories over the years. It’s pretty weird to think I only needed 2000 when I first started lifting now I’m past 4000) What makes it unusual to me is I’m eating like an elite lifter but my lifts are only intermediate. Like i don’t see many small dudes eating 4000 calories. Like you said though I should not look at it like that anymore

I get what you’re saying like with your body adapting to the demands it’s given like it’s thinking that’s it needs to get better at walking and endurance but I think of it differently because it sure as hell isnt a “for survival”stimulus. At most your body adapts a bit to be more efficient and effective.

You’re lifting frequently though so you are getting a stimulus from that all the time. That’s a real life and death survival kinda stimulus. It’s way more urgent and will take priority over that walking stimulus.

Like your body has to choose between being a bit uncomfortable and having your legs burn a bit more and being a bit out of breath… or getting fucking crushed to death. It’s gonna wanna adapt to the lifting

I think lol … might be full of shit though

I think diet has been covered well. Gotta have enough yum yums to grow and recover. If you’ve moved 5lbs in a year like not on purpose it’s not enough so you can’t expect to add 50lbs on your all your lifts.

Needing 4000+ is a bit strange but maybe you’re a big guy who is really active I dunno. I’d ask if you are 100% sure that you’re eating that much but you seem pretty sure. I don’t think I could eat that much food properly. I’d have to start smashing shakes and drinking a lot of my calories. Anyways it’s just a matter of more. Like a big glass of milk a few times a day or something easy.

What are your stats man?
Height weight etc
Any basic body pics would be beneficial aswell
How lean are you for example

In a normal day what would you eat consistantly because at 155 pounds to be eating over 4000 cals is a fair amount of food
Im closer to the 280 pound mark eating about 4000 to maintain at 7ft and i walk on average 8/10kms a day in a trade job so always on my feet…

Lol ya I see what your saying I feel like there is no good studies or set in stone kind of information on this stuff so we are left creating our own hypothesis on a lot of stuff

And ya eating feels like my life at this point I have to wake up earlier to eat or stay up later to cook. And its expensive af. Thats what i mean like im putting alot of freaking work into this for not a whole lot. Eating a bit higher healthy fats also helps hitting higher calories though too but still ridiculous. And I weigh my food everyday and everything so I’m real sure I’m getting em in. Even the dish washing sucks feels like my life is all washing dishes and eating

Bodyweight 155lbs 5’ 6" tall
23years old
Training like 5 years now more serious and smarter the last 3 years
I think I already posted lifting stats

Arms 14 inch
Waist 32 inch

That’s all I ever really measure.
I’m happy with my physique just want to get stronger now and not be too much fatter

I wouldn’t day you’ve stalled. This looks like you get to your PRs and then get kicked in the nuts and go backwards a few steps. You recover and get back at it and work to regain what you lost and then it happens again. It seems to me you’re fighting the back and forth battle.

I say that because it’s what I do.

Ya your probably right it does feel like a back and forth battle. It sucks having to rebuild like that

Sounds like your recovery demands are not being met. Might want to look at the intensity and volume and frequency .


I mean I just follow 531 programs. I would think Jim wendler probably figure those in when he designed the programs. I don’t know much when it comes to programming so I try not to mess with the plan.
But maybe other stressors in my life could be contributing to poor recovery? Diet is decent but I can admit I’m very stressed out like sometimes I have muscle spasms and eye twitching from being stressed out all the time and I’m always pissed off and tired.

Stress and lack of sleep can kill your training results. Re-read Jim’s stuff if you can. He advocates plenty of sleep, naps, massages, lots of recovery type stuff. His plans have intensity and deloads laid out for you but his encouragement of the other stuff tells me that he thinks it will help your progress.


this… Jim has many different variations of 5/3/1… I would suggest possibly his twice a week Template

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Ya that makes sense. I don’t always make time to take naps or do foam rolling and agile 8 stuff I’ve been trying to do. Maybe I should start taking that part more serious. There is just never any chill time with 3 kids and a dog like I’ll be trying to stretch and my kids and dog just start jumping all over me and recovery time turns into a wrestling match with a 6year old twin crawlers and dog lol. Maybe I’ll start doi g that in the morning before everyone wakes up or b4 bed