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Why Am I Getting Weaker?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
So, I lift in a fairly dedicated cycle, 3x/week. Been getting steadily stronger for a long time but lately I have not merely plateaued, but started to lose ground. E.g, two weeks ago I deadlifted 280x5. Last week, 280x4. Tonight, I could not do 3 reps!

Also losing on bench and shoulder press. (Squat holding firm so far, but at the fairly girly level of 155).

All this happened within the last month or less. Before that, I was at my personal best on every lift except the squat.

Am I dying, or is this typical, and if the latter, what should I do?
post #2 of 19

You may want to add a week where you drop the weight to 80% of max and rep out as many as you can. Giving your muscles a break from PB lifting and changing the strain on them can increase gains. After a week of higher rep work, go back and see where you are. It also could be as simple as deitary or sleep related. Small changes can have real effects on your lifting.


It sounds like you are on a golden 5 cycle, You didnt mention pull ups, but I would assume you are on Squats, Deads, Bench, Military Press and Pull ups rotation. You could shift those to front squats and romanian deads for legs, sumo deadlifts, dumbell incline bench, clean and press and weighted negative pull ups for a few weeks and see if that breaks your plateau/ loss.


Finally, I am not big on supplements, but creatine is a game changer. I stay away from protein drinks as they"re a lot of ingredients I dont want added to the few I do want. Eating clean protein and greens with clean carbs will give you all you need. Besides, who wants to get big or change shape dramatically? I couldnt afford the alterations!


Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss any other specifcs about your situation or potential remedies.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

So, if drop everything and go to failure, would that be one set or three (which is what I typically do)?
post #4 of 19

I would do at least three sets, 12-15 rep each set, with the last set going to failure. If you are getting to 20 reps in the last set, up the weight. Also, make sure you are really focused on your technique, especially for the compound lifts. This week or two is about really fatiguing the muscle through the volume of work so that you are giving yourself a break from peak loads. 

post #5 of 19
Yep, definitely sounds like you would benefit from a de-load week - follow your usual programme, but drop the weights 10%
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Took a week off and now trying this. Deloaded by 20%. Failure on last set. Feel quite wobbly when it's over. We shall see.
post #7 of 19
Manton a few more questions. How old are you and how much do you weigh? How long have you been training for?
post #8 of 19

One thing I found out about myself after my yearly checkup was that I'm vitamin D deficient. I explained to the doctor that I was going through spells of just feeling tired and weak during my workouts. She requested a full blood analysis and that was when I found out. Besides looking into your general diet this might be something to consider.

post #9 of 19
Originally Posted by Manton View Post

Took a week off and now trying this. Deloaded by 20%. Failure on last set. Feel quite wobbly when it's over. We shall see.

Keep us updated, this is interesting.

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
OK, my first workout back I benched 160x10x10x18 (failure). That was about 20% down from my peak weight. (Bench is always dumbbell). Today I did 160x12x12x20, so better.

Peak deadlift was 280x5. I never do more than one set and never go past 5. Today I deloaded 20%, so 225. Was able to do 9 reps. I still had the strength to do more but my left wrist was killing me. Hurt like hell just above the base of the thumb. This pain has been there since before I took my break. It went down when I was not lifting but never went fully away. I feel it a little with the other lifts but really felt it bad with the dead.

I don't want to stop again until it fully goes away, that could take a month!
Edited by Manton - 7/12/16 at 4:14pm
post #11 of 19

Had the same feeling too. But i'm guessing it's because i've been sleeping 3-4 hours for how many years during my 20's and now it's taking a toll on me at my 30's. Exercise did pumped up by energy but i'm not performing like how i used to. I took my body for granted - it's a lesson i wish i could go back and fix.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Deadlift 225x13. That seems pretty good. Going to up the weight next time.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
This was sort of discouraging. In CA, I have access to two gyms, both of which have dumbbells that top out at 60s and no squat rack. Well, one of them has a Smith rack, but I've been told not to use those. So I do dumbbell front squats at 120. Last Aug, I was able to do 11x3. Yesterday? 8, 8, 10. Ouch!

I tell myself that the difference is that I am squatting much deeper these days, which may even be true. But still. Right before I left, I did a bar back squat at 130x10x3.

Last year I consistently alternated dumbbell front squats with the bar back squat. Looks like I need to return to that pattern.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Dumbbell front squats when you have the dumbbells standing upright on your shoulders and your elbows high are really freakin' hard. I hope that was worth it.
post #15 of 19

Take a month of training. Get back to it. You'll come back stronger! You have to give the body some time to heal. 

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