When progression slows down

I miss being a beginner lifter.

Dean Maden

May 28th, 2017

Every week – when I first started training- I would see some increases in strength, and of course, physical changes to my appearance.

I can remember adding as much as 5-10kg to my lifts most weeks.

This just like fat-loss, it will inevitably slow down. Let’s face it; if it did not, then we would all be lifting like Eddie Hall.

Your body goes through a progressive and adaptive state. Once it finds it is homeostasis, then you can often find that increments in weight are very rare, and you are left banging your head against a wall trying to find a solution to continue this growth.

Welcome to the world of the intermediate lifter. (well kind of, I will look into that a little later)

This is a lifter who needs to plan and program every session, just to increase their lift by just 1%. A beginner lifter does not have to be so strict.

Often what I see happening at the gym, is when your lift/progress grinds to a halt, you get bored, and try something else (more CV for example) and lose all the progress you have made so far.

Now don’t get me wrong, just because your lifts have stopped seeing strength gains, that does not mean you are automatically an intermediate lifter, as all it may take to see some gains is a change in tempo, volume, rep range. Maybe try a different system of training, for example- negatives, GVT, DTP, HIIT and many more.

As well as the changes mentioned above, are you hitting all your major compound lifts (Squat, deadlifts, Bench press etc.) with good form?

Here’s an example of a fairly generic bench press routine:

3 x 10 at 65-70% 1rm

Maybe try this:

  • Week 1: 3 x 10 at 70% 1RM
  • Week 2: 4 x 8-10 at 75% 1RM
  • Week 3: 4 x 8-10 at 75% 1RM
  • Week 4: 4 x 8-10 at 75% 1RM

Then the next month maybe increase by 1 set on every week. So week one will be 4 sets, with every other week being 5 sets.

All I have done is increase 1RM% slightly and made the rep range a little more variable.

Then the following month (so month 3) decrease rep range once more, so now looking at 6-8 reps, and increase 1RM% to 80-85%.

I would throw in a deload if needed.

Now that is a very quick example of how just one particular lift can be changed, to add a different type of stimulus to your training, and hopefully generate a progressive overload approach.

Hope this is helpful, as always feel free to ask any questions.

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