Advice needed: Early lifting plateau?

lev_k
lev_k Posts: 20 Member
Hi All,

I'm a beginner who recently gotten into compound lifting (bench, OHP, deadlifts)/ I progressed linearly for about 2 months, but now I'm plateauing pretty noticeably, especially for bench, OHP and rows, even after de-loading a few times and trying to progress with micro-plates. I've had my form checked by a professionally certified trainer, and they didn't really see anything wrong.

If I had to pin point a weak area, I'd say my arms are the common denominator, since they're always the first muscle group to fatigue. So I was wondering if I should start to focus on and add some extra accessory lifts for the arms (right now I only do compounds).

Some stats:

Male, 24
Weight: 185 lbs
BF: Dunno, ~30%+?

Currently maintaining my body weight.

(Max Numbers: 3 sets, 5 reps)

Squats: 95 lbs
Bench: 130 lbs
OHP: 95 lbs
Deadlifts: 210 lbs

I really don't think I should be plateauing this early, unless I'm doing something seriously wrong/ I mean, I was already only able to progress with micro plates, which is way too early IMO. Anyone have thoughts on this?

Thanks!
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Replies

  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,842 Member
    are you on a lifting program, if not you should be ? If you want to progress in those lifts, you need spot on form and have your whole body into the lift. Most local gym trainers are clueless about proper compound lift forms, they'll get you doing the basics, but once you get past a beginner level you need someone that specializes in compound lifting. And all of those lifts benefit from lots of accessory work, For bench you say your arms are weak, I do a LOT of tricep work, and lat work for my bench. Your deadlift and squat will benefit from ham and glute accessories. Look into some strength programs , they'll detail out the accessory work you should do.
  • lev_k
    lev_k Posts: 20 Member
    sgt1372 wrote: »
    Odd numbers given your age and weight.

    Extremely odd that your ohp equals your squat. Your ohp seem fine for a beginner your age/size but your squat should be close to 50% more than that. Micro plates may be necessary for ohp but not likely the other lifts. DL and bench look fine for a beginner your age and size.

    So, the question for me is: what's wrong w/your squat?

    You say you've consulted w/a trainer who found nothing wrong I don't see how you can expect anyone here to assess the "problem," especislly since it's not clear what the problem is.

    One thing you DO NOT need is to stsrt doing accessory lifts. They'd be totally useless for you.

    I suggest you go back to the trainer (or better yet, a power lifting instructor) to ask him/her to help you w/your squat.

    IMO, given your other lifts, you should at least be able to squat about 80% of your BW or 150# (which s only 20# more than you can bench now).

    Generally, your legs/hips/butt are the strongest part of your body and your arms/chest/shoulders body are the weakest. So, it makes no sense that you can BP more than you can squat, especially when you say that you think that your arms are weak.

    So, focus on your squats 1st and address any other perceived problems later.

    Yeah, I do have a bit of a trouble history with squats. I can actually do more, but I'm taking it extra slow with squats right now due to various form/flexibility issues, and some problems with the knees.

    The personal trainer was actually a power lifting instructor, but the gym is quite far from me, and a session isn't cheap either.

    I suppose that I'm aware that there are multiple issues that need to be addressed, so that's what I'm kinda trying to do. I get that all these exercises are full body and can affect each other, but I just assumed that there should be some room for progressing separately in the lifts.
  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,842 Member
    sgt1372 wrote: »
    Odd numbers given your age and weight.

    Extremely odd that your ohp equals your squat. Your ohp seem fine for a beginner your age/size but your squat should be close to 50% more than that. Micro plates may be necessary for ohp but not likely the other lifts. DL and bench look fine for a beginner your age and size.

    So, the question for me is: what's wrong w/your squat?

    You say you've consulted w/a trainer who found nothing wrong I don't see how you can expect anyone here to assess the "problem," especislly since it's not clear what the problem is.

    One thing you DO NOT need is to stsrt doing accessory lifts. They'd be totally useless for you.



    can you explain why you think accessories would be totally useless for him?
  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,842 Member
    and your recommendation for him to break through his plateau is to just squat ?

    how is squatting going to help break through a bench plateau

  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,842 Member
    so ignore the other 3 lifts until he can squat 260 ?
  • lev_k
    lev_k Posts: 20 Member
    sgt1372 wrote: »
    SonyaCele wrote: »
    so ignore the other 3 lifts until he can squat 260 ?

    Now you're just being silly.

    Of course, he continues working on the other lifts doing linear progression as he has already done.

    The problem he is having is with his squat and there's no way he's plateaued physically at 95# and you know it.

    You've given your suggestions to the OP as have I. No point "discussing" it further between us. We'll just have to leave it to the OP to decide how to address it.




    To be honest, IMO I think there are multiple issues here. Like I said, I'm sure I can squat more than 95 lbs, I'm just being really cautious with squats cuz that's the one I struggle with most (maybe I shouldn't have said 95 was my max). The problem that I wanted to discuss in this thread is the fact that my other lifts were plateauing, despite trying to progress with micro plates, and despite trying to de-load.

    Anyways, it's probably impossible to provide support without seeing what's wrong. I've been meaning to record one of my sessions and post it to MFP for a form check, but haven't quite gotten around to it.

    Thanks for the replies.
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,384 Member
    Can I ask what your maintenance calories and macro split is?
    It may be that you need to eat a little more or play with your macros.

    Just throwing it out there. Not enough energy is a sure way to stall out.

    Cheers, h.
  • lev_k
    lev_k Posts: 20 Member
    Can I ask what your maintenance calories and macro split is?
    It may be that you need to eat a little more or play with your macros.

    Just throwing it out there. Not enough energy is a sure way to stall out.

    Cheers, h.

    To be honest, I'm not 100% sure what my maintenance calories are, I just know for a fact that I haven't gained or lost weight for a while now. My best guess is around 2200-2300 calories.

    My macros, I make sure to get minimum 130 grams of protein per day, and the rest I don't really track.
  • julie_broadhead
    julie_broadhead Posts: 347 Member

    Some good ideas here.
  • ijsantos2005
    ijsantos2005 Posts: 306 Member
    How consistent are you with your workouts?
    How long is your rest time between sets?
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,081 Member
    edited April 2018
    Agreed the squat isn't s plateau'd, and does not need accessory lifts at this stage. There is absolutely no way accessories will be beneficial over practicing the actual lifts to a novice.

    OP I'd be highly surprised if your flexibilty has anything to do with your form. I can get 99% of people squatting with proper form in less than 10 minutes.

    If you like send me a vid or post one here of your squats we can get you moving.

  • lev_k
    lev_k Posts: 20 Member

    Some good ideas here.

    Wow, I've seen lotsa Untamed Strength vids, can't believe I missed this one, thanks.
    How consistent are you with your workouts?
    How long is your rest time between sets?

    3 times per week, and resting between 2 to 3 minutes between work sets.
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Agreed the squat isn't s plateau'd, and does not need accessory lifts at this stage. There is absolutely no way accessories will be beneficial over practicing the actual lifts to a novice.

    OP I'd be highly surprised if your flexibilty has anything to do with your form. I can get 99% of people squatting with proper form in less than 10 minutes.

    If you like send me a vid or post one here of your squats we can get you moving.

    Yeah, I've been meaning to create a video to post on these boards for form checking, I think I'll do it during my next session. Guess this would make it easier to give advice :smile:

    Thanks.
  • ijsantos2005
    ijsantos2005 Posts: 306 Member
    lev_k wrote: »

    Some good ideas here.

    Wow, I've seen lotsa Untamed Strength vids, can't believe I missed this one, thanks.
    How consistent are you with your workouts?
    How long is your rest time between sets?

    3 times per week, and resting between 2 to 3 minutes between work sets.
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Agreed the squat isn't s plateau'd, and does not need accessory lifts at this stage. There is absolutely no way accessories will be beneficial over practicing the actual lifts to a novice.

    OP I'd be highly surprised if your flexibilty has anything to do with your form. I can get 99% of people squatting with proper form in less than 10 minutes.

    If you like send me a vid or post one here of your squats we can get you moving.

    Yeah, I've been meaning to create a video to post on these boards for form checking, I think I'll do it during my next session. Guess this would make it easier to give advice :smile:

    Thanks.

    When you’re doing hard “sets across” (3 sets x 5 reps) complete rest between sets will eventually be necessary. Complete rest can take anywhere from 5-8 minutes (or more in some cases). So try resting longer on your bench and overhead press.
  • lev_k
    lev_k Posts: 20 Member
    edited April 2018
    OK, here are some videos. Sorry about some of the angles, I know they aren't that great, I'm going to see if I can take some better videos.

    Squats:



    OHP1:



    OHP2:



    Bench:



    Deadlifts:



    At this point, it seems like all my lifts are stalling, and I'm not quite sure why.
    lev_k wrote: »

    Some good ideas here.

    Wow, I've seen lotsa Untamed Strength vids, can't believe I missed this one, thanks.
    How consistent are you with your workouts?
    How long is your rest time between sets?

    3 times per week, and resting between 2 to 3 minutes between work sets.
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Agreed the squat isn't s plateau'd, and does not need accessory lifts at this stage. There is absolutely no way accessories will be beneficial over practicing the actual lifts to a novice.

    OP I'd be highly surprised if your flexibilty has anything to do with your form. I can get 99% of people squatting with proper form in less than 10 minutes.

    If you like send me a vid or post one here of your squats we can get you moving.

    Yeah, I've been meaning to create a video to post on these boards for form checking, I think I'll do it during my next session. Guess this would make it easier to give advice :smile:

    Thanks.

    When you’re doing hard “sets across” (3 sets x 5 reps) complete rest between sets will eventually be necessary. Complete rest can take anywhere from 5-8 minutes (or more in some cases). So try resting longer on your bench and overhead press.

    Hmm, I wouldn't expect resting time to be that much of an issue at this stage and weight, I'll try to take longer rests.
  • ijsantos2005
    ijsantos2005 Posts: 306 Member
    edited April 2018
    lev_k wrote: »
    OK, here are some videos. Sorry about some of the angles, I know they aren't that great, I'm going to see if I can take some better videos.

    Squats:



    OHP1:



    OHP2:



    Bench:



    Deadlifts:



    At this point, it seems like all my lifts are stalling, and I'm not quite sure why.
    lev_k wrote: »

    Some good ideas here.

    Wow, I've seen lotsa Untamed Strength vids, can't believe I missed this one, thanks.
    How consistent are you with your workouts?
    How long is your rest time between sets?

    3 times per week, and resting between 2 to 3 minutes between work sets.
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Agreed the squat isn't s plateau'd, and does not need accessory lifts at this stage. There is absolutely no way accessories will be beneficial over practicing the actual lifts to a novice.

    OP I'd be highly surprised if your flexibilty has anything to do with your form. I can get 99% of people squatting with proper form in less than 10 minutes.

    If you like send me a vid or post one here of your squats we can get you moving.

    Yeah, I've been meaning to create a video to post on these boards for form checking, I think I'll do it during my next session. Guess this would make it easier to give advice :smile:

    Thanks.

    When you’re doing hard “sets across” (3 sets x 5 reps) complete rest between sets will eventually be necessary. Complete rest can take anywhere from 5-8 minutes (or more in some cases). So try resting longer on your bench and overhead press.

    Hmm, I wouldn't expect resting time to be that much of an issue at this stage and weight, I'll try to take longer rests.

    From what I saw your form looks pretty solid in my opinion, it’s at least 90% good. Ya, you could clean up and tweak your form a little here and there but it’s nothing that would limit you in your progress at this stage. Maybe someone else has a different opinion?

    Again, try increasing your rest time and see if that helps (I believe it will).

    Also: give us a break down of the current program you’re following. Make it as detailed as possible.
  • lev_k
    lev_k Posts: 20 Member
    lev_k wrote: »
    OK, here are some videos. Sorry about some of the angles, I know they aren't that great, I'm going to see if I can take some better videos.

    Squats:



    OHP1:



    OHP2:



    Bench:



    Deadlifts:



    At this point, it seems like all my lifts are stalling, and I'm not quite sure why.
    lev_k wrote: »

    Some good ideas here.

    Wow, I've seen lotsa Untamed Strength vids, can't believe I missed this one, thanks.
    How consistent are you with your workouts?
    How long is your rest time between sets?

    3 times per week, and resting between 2 to 3 minutes between work sets.
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Agreed the squat isn't s plateau'd, and does not need accessory lifts at this stage. There is absolutely no way accessories will be beneficial over practicing the actual lifts to a novice.

    OP I'd be highly surprised if your flexibilty has anything to do with your form. I can get 99% of people squatting with proper form in less than 10 minutes.

    If you like send me a vid or post one here of your squats we can get you moving.

    Yeah, I've been meaning to create a video to post on these boards for form checking, I think I'll do it during my next session. Guess this would make it easier to give advice :smile:

    Thanks.

    When you’re doing hard “sets across” (3 sets x 5 reps) complete rest between sets will eventually be necessary. Complete rest can take anywhere from 5-8 minutes (or more in some cases). So try resting longer on your bench and overhead press.

    Hmm, I wouldn't expect resting time to be that much of an issue at this stage and weight, I'll try to take longer rests.

    From what I saw your form looks pretty solid in my opinion, it’s at least 90% good. Ya, you could clean up and tweak your form a little here and there but it’s nothing that would limit you in your progress at this stage. Maybe someone else has a different opinion?

    Again, try increasing your rest time and see if that helps (I believe it will).

    Also: give us a break down of the current program you’re following. Make it as detailed as possible.

    Okay, to be completely honest, it's not exactly 1 specific program that I'm following 100%. But basically it's a Starting Strength/Stronglifts program with very minor tweaks. Instead of doing Pendlay rows (due to some discomfort in the shoulders), I've opted for T-bar rows, the closest alternative I could find. I also don't specifically try to do Low bar squats like as per Starting Strength instruction, but I do heavily emphasise and actively try to do the hip drive movement.

    Here's what I actually do:

    Workout A (In the following order):
    (1) OHP - 1x5 warm-up (45lbs), followed by 3x5 working sets (95lbs)
    (2) Deadlifts - 1x5 warm-up (135lbs), followed by 1x5 working sets (210lbs)
    (3) Squats - warm-up (no weight, just squat and hold for 30 sec at the bottom 3-5 times), followed by 3x5 working sets (95lbs for now, but can do much more)

    Workout B (In the following order):
    (1) Bench - 1x5 warm-up (65lbs), followed by 2x5 working sets (130lbs)
    (2) T-bar Rows - no warm-up (for now), only 3x5 working sets of bar+55lbs
    (3) Squats - warm-up (no weight, just squat and hold for 30 sec at the bottom 3-5 times), followed by 3x5 working sets (95lbs for now, but can do much more)

    I alternate the workouts, and do them every other day, 3 times/week. Resting time between working sets is usually 2-3 minutes, and I don't really rest between exercises.

    I also like to sometimes add some glute exercises (resistance band) before the main workout just to help with squats. I also do a bit of light stretching during rests.

    And... that's about it.