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  1. #1
    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Question about progressive resistance - what happens when your strength is maxed out?

    It seems it's an undisputed fact (isn't it?) that hypertrophy requires progressive resistance. What happens when you inevitably hit your personal ceiling? I say inevitably because if not, eventually we would all be benching 1000 pounds (if we were training, eating and resting properly). Does that mean hypertrophy is no longer possible? Is it possible to build muscle even if your body has hit a plateau as far as how much weight it can move? My guess (hope) is that proper/hard training, going to failure, getting the right amounts of protein and other macros and calories, and getting adequate rest will allow for continued hypertrophy even if the same weight is used with same number of reps (just due to the body's response to the muscle damage created during the workout). Maybe strength maxes out because of the role tendons and ligaments play, but hypertrophy can continue????

    Your thoughts?
    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    You can't keep gaining forever, that would be physically impossible. Eventually you're going to reach your strength limits for whatever your particular inherent potential is.

    One thing you can do is back off on the maximum weights and concentrate more on volume -- essentially more reps. You can try isolation exercise to individually target muscles that compounds might not emphasize quite so much.

    Even doing that, though, you're going to eventually max out on how big you can be and how much weight you can move. So yeah, what do you do when you're bumping against your absolute limit?



    Live your life. What to you want to do?

    You can go into maintenance mode. You can stop trying to be at your max and find a level that you're happy with for the long term, one that's still impressive, but sustainable. You can give up in discouragement. You can take up stamp collecting.

    It's basically up to you.
    Pompous know-it-all ass
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  3. #3
    Registered User tommydamic68's Avatar
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    Agreed with adding in the more reps, also adding different exercises you have never done yet still working the same muscles. I follow a few guys on Instagram that post their daily work outs and get great ideas to "challenge" my muscles. Julian Smith IG "smith.julian" is one (especially if you like working legs) and also Steve weatherford IG "weatherfordfit."
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  4. #4
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tkdnj View Post
    What happens when you inevitably hit your personal ceiling?

    Is it possible to build muscle even if your body has hit a plateau as far as how much weight it can move?
    Don't want to nitpick, but these are really two separate things.

    If you have literally "hit your personal ceiling" on all your lifts for a given body part (in an optimal rep range)...then I'm guessing you have reached your maximum natural hypertrophy limit as well, if you have been training for size rather than raw strength.

    I'm guessing a very miniscule percentage of people ever get to that level...if any.

    IMHO, it seems that for the majority of us there will always be room for improvement...but how many would have the discipline and desire to drive us to do everything right 24/7 just to see a pound or less of dry muscle a year?
    My 6 years of progress (with pics) thread: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=173360231
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  5. #5
    Registered User dragman72's Avatar
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    I believe you can keep gaining forever. At some point the point of diminishing returns comes into play and the gains are so small that it's not easy to see. Macros a little off that day and your not seeing it, don't hit your stride right might not see it that day etc.
    That's why most people switch plans around altering rep ranges and changing out lifts etc.
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  6. #6
    Kicking sarcopenia's azz ljimd's Avatar
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    Father time always gets his.

    Your job, is to fight him for every ounce of it.

    Enjoy the journey.
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  7. #7
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ljimd View Post
    Father time always gets his.

    Your job, is to fight him for every ounce of it.
    Ha ha, yeah...that's the other side of the hill.
    My 6 years of progress (with pics) thread: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=173360231
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  8. #8
    Has new batteries! DuracellBunny's Avatar
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    Your strength is never maxed out. Strength gains are asymptotic in nature, in that improvements became so small and infrequent that it becomes a question of whether the physical ROI is worth the hassle.
    Screw nature; my body will do what I DAMN WELL tell it to do!

    The only dangerous thing about an exercise is the person doing it.

    They had the technology to rebuild me. They made me better, stronger, faster......
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  9. #9
    Registered User AD1985's Avatar
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    I have the 3/4/5 b/s/d goal and then I'm done progressing in strength. From there I'll progress in rest intervals and intensity. By that I mean my work sets should reduce 3-5 minute rest down to 2 minutes, maybe even 90 seconds. And then the RPE rating should fall from 9+ to 7 or so.

    Then I'm really done... half volume workouts and cruising steady for the next 40 years!
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  10. #10
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dragman72 View Post
    I believe you can keep gaining forever. At some point the point of diminishing returns comes into play and the gains are so small that it's not easy to see. Macros a little off that day and your not seeing it, don't hit your stride right might not see it that day etc.
    That's why most people switch plans around altering rep ranges and changing out lifts etc.
    In order to keep gaining forever, you'd have to live forever.



    That ain't happening.
    Pompous know-it-all ass
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  11. #11
    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    I appreciate all the responses guys!
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  12. #12
    Registered User dragman72's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    In order to keep gaining forever, you'd have to live forever.



    That ain't happening.
    Ha!
    I'm immortal..... until I die. and then that is forever to me since I wont know any different.
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  13. #13
    Bored drudixon's Avatar
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    Periodization
    B: 285
    S: 375
    D: 555
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  14. #14
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by drudixon View Post
    Periodization
    The above !!

    Once simple adding more weight comes to the end of the road there are still so many other tools in the toolbox. Explosive reps, faster tempo + volume (e.g. GVT), plain old bro volume to failure, pyramid down/run the rack, heavy partials, negatives, paused reps, high frequency training, super slow, etc, etc, etc...

    A good (late?) intermediate program should start introducing some of this, in planned periods...
    Faith in Jesus first and faith in squats second.
    Then other details will start to slot themselves into place.
    BW on 13/06/2018 - 74.0 Kg , Target BW - 70 Kg / 154# (4kg down, 4 more to go, slowly does it). Agghhh no, weight 15/07/2018 is up to 74.5 kg, time to check those cals :(
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  15. #15
    High Plains Lifter Mark1T's Avatar
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    One solution is to change-up. That means if you have progressed as far as you can in your current split on a certain exercise, change-up to an exercise with a similar movement.

    Example, flat bench press to DB flat press or a Press machine. BB Incline to DB Incline. Wide-grip Pullups to Narrow-grip Pullups. Pronated Pullups to Suppinated Pullups. BB Curls to DB Curls, etc, etc...

    It is what I do and that is what Periodization is.
    In life and in the gym we have to exceed our self-perceived abilities and take calculated risks, in order to succeed and to progress.
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  16. #16
    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    great stuff guys.... thanks
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