Gains Drying Up

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Gains Drying Up

Postby billyoffspring » Fri Sep 03, 2004 10:55 pm

If you check my recent post on my training log, you'll see my gains are drying up. I cannot complete a full set on the bench with 35lb plates on each side with the 3x8 work set I'm doing.

What do you all recommend I do? Maybe move to a 3x5 and see how that goes? Also, which exercises on my training log should I move to 3x5 (if that is the desired rep scheme to try) and which should I leave at 3x8 (squats, deadlifts?).

Thanks for your help.
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Postby muscle-militia » Sat Sep 04, 2004 7:52 am

I swear by mixing it up. Yeah my goal is upping the weight, but I find I hit sticking points and gains simply stop. My system is Heavy vs pump. So for 4 weeks i will do the heavy stuff, negs and forced - slow and progressive. The following 4 weeks I go 5 to 15k lighter and bang out reps of 15's fast and piston like. This forces blood into the muscle and gives an amazing pump. Thust me to hurt just as bad after the pump sessions. When I revert back to the heavy weeks - I makegains again.

Your body might be just getting bored of your routine! mix it up and shock out those gains
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Postby billyoffspring » Sat Sep 04, 2004 2:23 pm

Alright, will do. So, you suggest trying a 3x5 workout? Should I do 3x5 for everything (including Squats, Deadlifts, Dumbbell Curls)?
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Postby muscle-militia » Sat Sep 04, 2004 4:25 pm

Yeah - up the reps, I do sets of 4 reps of 15. Just mix it up - bring the fun back, it shifts your focus from negative mind set cos its new. My fave trick - well there are 2 faves for my own mind games.

1. when I hit that wall, when your training feels like a job and gains grind to a halt. I go train at a rival gym. New faces, new tools, stangers looking at you…you seem to wanna prove yourself and step it up a level. I know it sounds dumb but it does work.

This one sounds even more dumb - but try it - you will be amazed.

1RM or similar - your PB's. when you wanna blast that PB, say on a bench that has stagnated for ages. Load up your bar - then put 2 extra plates either side. Now u aint ever gonna lift it, you know it - but lie under it, feel the weight - feel how massive the load is, play with tryin to lift.
Then take the excess off and add the 5k to your PB - you will be amazed how much lighter it seems! You will break through.
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Postby funfetus » Sat Sep 04, 2004 9:28 pm

Another thing to try when your gains are drying out is the "hardgainer" method. Once you get stuck, and you're no longer able to add weight to the bar, take a week or so off, cut your weights to 85% or so of what you were lifting before, and start building back up to your previous lifts, adding a bit of weight each workout. How much you add depends on how much you're lifting total -- for an 80-pound curl, you'll obviously add less each workout than for a 300 pound deadlift... Buy/improvise some small weights, like 2 pounds, 1 pound, half pound, etc.

For more detailed information: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/body-building/hardgainer-faq/
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Postby J » Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:59 pm

That was a really good read FunFetus. Thanks

BTW they say ease up for 3 to 5 weeks I think. Basically back off and slowly start increasing poundages so that you start hitting failure in 3 to 5 weeks.
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Postby funfetus » Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:56 am

It's all based on Stuart McRobert's books, Brawn and Beyond Brawn. I own Brawn, it's actually a pretty enjoyable read.
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Postby billyoffspring » Sun Sep 05, 2004 4:37 pm

Alright, I'll try that. Reduce to 85% and start building back up. Just hard to know when to up the weight.
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Postby J » Sun Sep 05, 2004 7:45 pm

Try upping it every workout until somewhere between 3 and 5 weeks down the road you're hitting new PR's. If you can't find increments small enough to increase by then try alternating between adding a rep, then dropping a rep when adding weight.
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Postby funfetus » Sun Sep 05, 2004 8:10 pm

What he said.

With big lower body exercises, you can probably add 5 pounds per workout to start with, for big upper body exercises, maybe 2.5 pounds, for smaller exercises, smaller increments. As you reach your maxes, you'll want to decrease the increments. You can try to buy tiny weights, or improvise anything to add just a bit of weight to the bar, up to and including weighing random objects from around the house on a diet scale and tying them to the bar.
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Gains slowing down

Postby VeganEssentials » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:01 am

All of what has been said is good advice - varying things when gains slow is ideal, and there's one other thing that's been missed entirely - change the exercises for a month or two for those that have slowed down considerably. Been doing pull-ups and can't get an extra rep? Switch for 4-8 weeks to barbell rowing and then change back again later. Or, stick a 25 lb. plate in a backpack, reduce your reps by 2 or 3 and start back up from a lower quantity, higher quality approach. Barbell bench press sticking and not getting better? Take a month to do incline dumbbell pressing and you might just break through when you change back. Stuff like this can help greatly as sometimes a quick change-up of movements can do wonders as well. For example, I added 25 lbs. plus an additional rep to my bench max after not flat benching for over a year but doing incline pressing instead (and inconsistently at that!) My bench still sucks, but I found that sometimes a fresh approach can make a difference, especially if you move to something that's even harder and come back to the original focus later on. Yes, there is something to be said about getting better at a lift by practicing if frequently, but from my experience, an occasional dumping of the normal lifts you do and changing off for even a few weeks can be very beneficial. Give it a shot if you get the chance and see what happens!

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Postby funfetus » Tue Sep 07, 2004 2:30 pm

Why do you think it is that changing exercises works? Maybe it addresses your weak points that are holding you back?
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Postby JP » Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:28 pm

at this point in time BillyOS, i'd perhaps resist the tempation of changing exercises. You have a good selection of exercises and probably are still learning the form in many of them. Going for 3x5 sounds like a good approach to me. Don't increase the used weight too much when dropping reps even if you could, build some momentum.

Ryans suggestion of changing exercises works as well, but perhaps that method is best saved for future plateus?

Plateus come - always. Otherwise we would all be monster lifters.
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Postby billyoffspring » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:42 pm

Thanks guys.

JP:

I have decided to try switching to 3x5 exercises. Should I switch to 3x5 for everything? If not, which exercises should I stick with 3x8 for? I'm thinking stick to 3x8 for bicep curls, right? What about shoulder press? Shrugs?
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Postby Pete » Sat Sep 11, 2004 10:08 am

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is diet!You can't gain strength without raw materials to build yourself up! Try to eat a bit more quality food. You're mass building mate, you need to feed the machine as you're demanding more from it than you ever have before! It's having all kinds of problems dealing with the extra muscle it has to feed, the repair work from all your training etc. Give yourself enough food to do your training justice otherwise you'll be wasting your time in the gym.
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