When it comes to lifting and the average ability of someone who partakes in this joyous hobby, beseem to hit plateaus very quickly.
Do you ever sit and wonder why?
In the early days some goals were set in my minds eye, the two main ones were to hit a 3xBW squat & deadlift, which happened, then the classic trap was sprung and progress stalled.
Looking back through training diaries the answer is obvious.
It was ego, or rather the identity that came with having those numbers against my name and as such training was often too heavy with volume too low to make any meaningful progress from.
This also lead to other things being neglected in the grand scheme of things, not a smart move.
Of course looking at the bigger picture and needing some kind of guide for numbers there was a clear shortfall, here is the guide that I personally found to be the one that is achievable and would have most people look at your in average training and say – “Huh, stronger than he looks.”
This was acquired from digging through older training logs/writing of old school lifters:
1 Plate wide grip chins for reps
The rest are singles:
2 Plate press overhead
3 Plate bench press
4 Plate squat
5 Plate deadlift
Now not everyone wants that, so these are useful for most and will provide enough strength, in fact more than most will ever need.
Wide grip chins for reps
1 Plate press overhead
2 Plate bench press
3 Plate squat
4 Plate deadlift
Nothing earth shattering, for lighter people any of the above would potentially be astronomical numbers, yet for the heavier wanderers they’d be mere drops in the ocean, however if you weigh over 100kg for example intermediate strength would be expected in my eyes due to leverage etc, provided you’re not just over 100kg of mulch.
Having some baseline numbers to work towards and hit (for strength, CV etc), or monitor/float around gives those who value strength above all else some standards that are not subjective, unlike aesthetic.
Of course the problem with having the above is that you may get caught in the trap of chasing the numbers and once you hit them, struggling to relinquish your egos need to stay at or around them every session, while understandable it’s not good for progress in the long run, trust me on that one.
We, or rather our attitude and necessity to hold on to an identity are often the reason we plateau.
You see it in all walks of life, from strength related participants to runners, triathletes, CrossFitters and even just average gym bunnies/bros, they all achieve a small milestone and the desperately try to keep a hold of it, usually at the cost of long term progress.
If you’re known as someone in your gym it can be hard to let that go, the fear of going a little easier or lifting a little lighter cripples you mentally, doesn’t it.
The line I wrote above – “Huh, stronger than he looks.”
At one point meant more to myself than it should have, as a result it consumed me in my small lifting world and circle of people, it cost much in the end and while nice to have hit targets and achieve adulation, trying to stay there was foolish and costly.
Perhaps I’m the only person in this group who has fallen victim to this. Who has caused their own plateau because of ego & pride, such is the self imposed burden of feeling you have to be the best, of feeling you have to be worthy because all you’ve known is struggle and find the talented yet lazy people infuriating because of how they waste and sunder their gifts, perhaps not.
Either way it’s a dangerous attitude to have indeed.
The problem isn’t the plateau, it’s your attitude.
What plateaus have you hit because you wouldn’t get out of your own way and take one or two steps backwards so you could leap forwards?
Share your self perpetuating failures below.