Making progress is something everyone aims to do, today I am going to list the most common reasons why you’re NOT progressing and have become stuck at a certain level.
Some of these answers may surprise you.
1 – No Overload
Essentially you’re not training hard enough to prompt a stimulus that will require and adaptive response (SAID, GAS principles, look them up). You need to be creating as much time under maximal tension as possible to elicit a noteworthy response from your body/nervous system.
Try 10×3 at 80% 1RM followed by 70% 1RM for one all out set to failure.
2 – Too Much Overload
You’re training too hard.
Yep, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum to the point above this is common for people who are working out for hours at a time, often doing a gym session and then possibly cardio and back to back gym classes (or something like that). This can take you past the stage of Overreaching, which is needed to create the stimulus required for super compensation to take place, and put you in to a perpetual state of “I must survive” meaning you won’t adapt, merely just make it through.
You may also not be having enough rest days (2-3 per week is good for average folk).
Training too much can easily be avoided by planning in deloads every 3rd or 4th week, or at the bare minimum you will want a reduction in volume, so something like this:
Week 1 – 10x3x80%
Week 2 – 10x4x80%
Week 3 – 10x5x80%
Week 4 – 5x3x original 80%
Week 5 – 10x3x80%+5lbs and so on.
3 – Under Eating
This is exactly as it sounds. You’re not eating enough calories to recover/build muscle and sustain your activity levels. You might be eating in balance with your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) or possibly be in a deficit (under what you need each day), both of these will contribute to a lack of progress.
To establish a baseline guide for calories take your weight in Lbs and multiply it by 17-19 for a quick daily calories number. If you want to be more technical use the Harris-Benedict formula, link here:
There is also the question of macros, you can find that info here:
4 – No Rest Days
Rest days can seem like a pain to the hard core gym goer but they are essential for recovery and building/repairing tissues and progressing.
Optimal training frequency per muscle group is 3-5 days, this can be found in both peer reviewed studies and also through anecdotal evidence from some of the worlds best lifters, you are free to do your own digging on this. Start here and look at the studies referenced:
5 – No Tracking
All of the above are some of the reasons people don’t progress, from my experience they are the most common (other reasons can be hormonal, stress related etc but this will require blood tests to establish), however if you don’t track what you’re doing, what you’re eating and how you’re actually progressing you won’t really have any idea of what is going wrong. It’s like pissing in to the wind.
Go to a local shop and buy a diary, they are around £1-3 and will dramatically improve your training and your progress.
Time to stop slacking, start progressing and take things to the next level.