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  1. #1
    Registered User thr61's Avatar
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    Help with plateau

    I am a soon to be 46 year old who returned to weights about 7 months ago. I posted about workout plans and gear and have been extremely dedicated since getting underway (missed 2 workouts in the last 7 months.)

    The general plan I took away from my posts is as follows:

    Bench Press, 4 sets (Progressive)
    Tricep Pressdown, 4 sets
    Military Press, 4 sets (Progressive)
    5 miles HIIT on exercise bike

    Day2-
    Squats, 4 sets (progressive)
    Bench step-ups (3 sets of 20 each leg) with barbell
    Abs


    Day 3-
    Off

    Day 4-
    Deadlift, 4 sets
    Lat Pulldown, 4 sets
    Barbell Bicep Curls, 4 sets
    5 miles HIIT on exercise bike

    I began a journal in November and was using the following weights:

    Deadlift: 65
    Lat Pulldown: 70
    Curls: 20 per arm
    Bench: 130
    Tricep pressdown: 40
    Military Press: 65
    Squat: 110


    I am now at the following:

    Deadlift: 145
    Lat Pulldown: 85
    Curls: 30 per arm
    Bench: 155
    Tricep pressdown: 60
    Military Press: 70
    Squat: 145

    However, I am finding that I can do fewer reps (especially with the bench) and that I am having trouble increasing the weights.

    I changed diet about 2 months ago and am a dbflgirl convert -- eating clean and trying to get in 1 g per lb in protein. All junk has been cut out, although I have still not seen any kind of significant loss.

    As my 46th birthday is a month away, I want to make some changes to really hit it hard for 4 weeks and increase my intensity and get through this stuck point. I should note that I can really only workout 3x per week for an hour each time (6 AM to 7 AM).

    Any suggestions or help will be appreciated. I am also happy to answer any follow up questions that will help to offer advice.

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    When in doubt, mumble namtrag's Avatar
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    I am no expert, maybe cut the arm stuff out totally, add more exercises for the big body parts (chest, back and legs). Example, hit the back hard one day per week, pullups, rows, pulldowns, etc., then rest it until the same day the next week

    I am sure better expert advice is on the way than from this novice
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  3. #3
    Registered User Dave76's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thr61 View Post
    I am now at the following:

    Deadlift: 145
    Lat Pulldown: 85
    Curls: 30 per arm
    Bench: 155
    Tricep pressdown: 60
    Military Press: 70
    Squat: 145
    Hmm... I'll admit that I'm a little puzzled here. If you've been getting advice from dbflgirl, I'll assume that you are eating enough to support your lifting.

    It's normal for your body to adjust to a routine and it quits working for you. If you've been on the same routine for 7 months, it's probably time for a change.

    What puzzles me are your numbers. A couple of them seem really low for someone your size. They are also way out of proportion. Most people can squat and deadlift far more than they can bench. Relatively speaking, your bench looks really good!

    I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here. Something just doesn't look right. I feel like there's a piece to this puzzle that's missing somewhere.
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    Finding my Potential empresscat's Avatar
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    Am I understanding correctly that you've been doing the same workout for 7 months, and that you have not taken any time off?

    You need a rest, and a change up.

    Take a or two of rest (this can be active rest, where you continue to lift, but much lighter weights.) Then come back, and do a different workout program.

    Rest and change are both highly important factors in bodybuilding.
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  5. #5
    Registered User thr61's Avatar
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    <<As for your weights, I truly am puzzled. I only bench about 170, so I'm right there in your ballpark. My dead lift is at 320 and I squat 225. Those are not big numbers and are nothing to brag about! I'm just trying to show you why I'm so puzzled about your numbers. Everyone is different, of course, but nearly everyone's squat and DL are far bigger than their bench.>>

    To respond, the bench at 155 represents the last 2 sets of 5 and I am generally only able to get out 3 or 4 reps. I seem stuck at this weight and can't seem to get more reps. I have not tried going up and doing even fewer reps (like 1 or 2) or starting high (at 155) and doing fewer reps/sets overall.

    In terms of squats, I am 2 years post arthoscopic knee repair (badly torn medial meniscus) and so I am a little leary of pushing the weight. I am sure I could do more, but also don't want to blow out my knees again. I will check with my surgeon and see what he thinks.

    Deads are another story: I work hard on form, but again am a bit nervous about blowing out my lower back. I have been doing them from the lowest safety bar setting in my rack, not straight from the floor. I can feel the stress on my lower back as I do them and so again have not pushed the weight. Perhaps I should have someone watch me to make sure form is correct as I know this is the key factor in not getting hurt.

    I will take a look at Riptoe's and think about mixing it up a bit. I agree that I want to stick with compounds as I don't have any plans to compete -- just a strong desire to look better at 46 than I did at 35!
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    Ok, now I get it! As I said, I felt like I was missing a piece of the puzzle.
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    And DON'T forget to REST!

    Many times people come back from a rest, and though they have to lower the weight for the first week, find that they are able to quickly progress ahead of their previous bests.
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  8. #8
    Registered User thr61's Avatar
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    Any other suggestions?

    I am looking into the riptoe program and may give it a try. I am interested in any other ideas from the over 35 group.

    I can post in the general workout section, but I usually get jumped on whenever I venture into that area -- big sweeping statements about how terrible my routine and diet are, etc.

    Thanks.
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    Total Body Training (TBT)
    http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=508031

    I think you have hit a plateau, take a look at Chad Waterburys workout. It may be just what you need to change up what you are doing.
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  10. #10
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    ^^^ Big bump!!!
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  11. #11
    Registered User thr61's Avatar
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    Thanks DBFLGirl -- I have always tried to avoid doing my own bumps, so all help is appreciated...

    Happy to return the favor if needed. :-)
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  12. #12
    When in doubt, mumble namtrag's Avatar
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    Maybe just change the exercises themselves to new ones, then you have a new set of challenges and rewards.

    For example: instead of squats, do walking lunges with dumbells, or hacksquats, etc

    Instead of flat bb bench press, do db inclines, declines.

    Instead of lat pulldowns, do seated rows, or narrow grip front pulldowns.

    Just a few things that come to mind, I am sure there are many others you can substitute in.

    Change your routine and don't worry about the plateau, you will have to worry instead about getting better at the new ones.
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    5 sets is a lot. I would recommend dropping to just three and exposing yoru body to a heavier weight. Give 3 sets at 155/160/165 a try. Progressively increasing weights between sets does wonders for me. Also, make sure you have a spotter when you lift, ESPECIALLY bench. That way, you can be confident that you are lifting to absolute failure and that your buddy can help you push out that last rep. It will give you at least one more rep on each set

    Also, mix up your bench with some dumbell bench. I find this gives mr barbell bench a great boost when I alternate back and forth. Let us know if any of this helps.
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    Originally Posted by empresscat View Post
    Am I understanding correctly that you've been doing the same workout for 7 months, and that you have not taken any time off?

    You need a rest, and a change up....
    +1

    Chad talks about approaching weights from mass and volume. you could have a blast by changing your routine a bit and with a volume emphasis rather than feeling stuck at a weight. Not sure what your goal is exactly though??
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    Originally Posted by thruxton View Post
    +1

    Chad talks about approaching weights from mass and volume. you could have a blast by changing your routine a bit and with a volume emphasis rather than feeling stuck at a weight. Not sure what your goal is exactly though??
    Not sure what +1 means?

    Actually, I have been on the same routine for just about 5 months -- typo on my part about the 7.

    The first three months were just a shock to the system and I was paying no attention to nutrition at all. Then DBFLGirl stepped in and offered considerable support around my diet -- I discovered how little protein I was eating and how little food in general. I upped the food intake, increased protein, and have really tried to stay as clean as possible.

    The workouts are starting to feel a bit stale and so I am looking at Either Riptoe or this T-Nation 3 day full body workout:

    http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=508031

    My goal is to reduce my body fat, lose my slight gut (I have a 33" waist) and add muscle and definition. I am 6' 1" and currently weigh 202-204. I was 155 in college when I ran 7 days a week and did not lift at all.

    I am returning to workouts after a 2 year break (I went from 177 to 210) and am using a much different approach: heavy weights, squats and deadlifts, and progressive weight over 4 sets.

    Frankly, the workout part is easier than the nutrition, but I know that the food is as critical as the program.

    So, any suggestions on a new program or other adjustments will certainly be appreciated.

    Thanks.
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    I believe since you are probably working on losing bodyfat also you shouldn't expect a lot in strength gains. When you are lean and are the able to increase calories you will see the gains come again.
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    Originally Posted by thr61 View Post
    Not sure what +1 means?
    that's just lingo for i agree 100%

    you've gotten stale - and recognize it - so time for a change.

    Originally Posted by thr61 View Post

    My goal is to reduce my body fat, lose my slight gut (I have a 33" waist) and add muscle and definition. I am 6' 1" and currently weigh 202-204. I was 155 in college when I ran 7 days a week and did not lift at all.
    well that should tell you something. weights, and especially rippetoe's strength program, is not designed for reducing body fat and dumping the gut.

    you need cardio (i believe in interval training) and you need conditioning. perhaps consider an emphasis on those, while shifting your weight program to: 2x/w, 6 exercises, which are supersetted with minimal rest.

    nutrition is easy. just no cheat food and clean protein.

    good luck!
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    +1 on the change up. A 3 day is fine, I would consider squats and deads on the same day to give your lower back a full week of rest. Then back/biceps/abs, and chest/delts/tris. This would allow you to really hit the weight hard with good compound exercises but have a full week of connective tissue rest. I have had two knee surgeries and properly executed squats pose a lot less risk than going up or down stairs or a hill. The key is adequate connective tissue rest and strict form. Do not worry about the weight worry about how the muscles look.
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