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  1. #1
    Registered User drunkenmaster1's Avatar
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    Upper/Lower, no progression in some exercises

    I do an upper lower split, upper body day consisting of

    Barbell flat bench press, lat pulldown, barbell overhead press, barbell bent over row, ez bar curl, ez bar skull crusher and cable rear delt fly

    I get stronger every workout on the bench press. About one rep more every workout, and add 2,5kg every now and then, adding about 10kg in the last few weeks. Same thing for the lat pulldown. Overhead press I never get stronger. I am at the same weight for weeks. Bent over row I never get stronger...bicep curls, skull crusher, I get stronger again, one rep every workout and adding weight every now and then. Why do I never get stronger in the second pushing and pulling exercise? I am at a point where I start to hate doing overhead press and think about switching to dumbell incline press
    Last edited by drunkenmaster1; 11-23-2020 at 07:49 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User paulinkansas's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by drunkenmaster1 View Post
    I Overhead press I never get stronger.
    Same thing happened to me last year. I was stuck at the same weight and the same number of reps. I usually try to increase the reps by one each week. Was stuck at 15 reps and couldn't get 16. So I did 12 with proper form for a week or two, then 13 with proper form for a week or two. Then 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. I went right through the plateau of 15 that I was stuck at. Increased the weight and progressed from 12 reps up to 20 reps in about 6 months. Then back down to 12 reps but increased the weight.
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    Fatter than last time ezra76's Avatar
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    Overhead press has always been a slower progression for me. Starting back I'm up to 105 5x5 which is only about 10lbs. more than I started. Bench went from 135 to 170 working sets.

    If you feel like switching to db's would be better, give it a try. I'd recommend trying standing overhead bb press and go for a little cheat action. When you get to 3-4 reps and it gets heavy do a little knee bend and push it up. Same for rows. I can use 135-145 strict or I can go up to 165 with a some cheat reps at the end. Even with bb curls, 4-5 good reps then cheat out the last 3-4.

    Also if you are doing overhead press the same day and after benching your shoulders are going to be pretty beat. If you do shoulders first I'll bet the exact opposite happens. You'll hit a shoulder PR then not get your bench weight/reps you got the last workout.
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    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    Second lift is gonna be while fatigued.

    But I dont think it matters if you are making progress on the first lift and not on the second. Could just be masking the trains on the second Lift thru fatigue

    You could try switching them around?

    Im not concerned, I wouldn't be if it was me. Unless your firm looked hellaciously inefficient
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    Second lift is gonna be while fatigued.

    But I dont think it matters if you are making progress on the first lift and not on the second. Could just be masking the trains on the second Lift thru fatigue

    You could try switching them around?

    Im not concerned, I wouldn't be if it was me. Unless your firm looked hellaciously inefficient
    I would just switch the orders you do them in. One day bench and row first, the OHP then lat pull down.

    Also, mirin selection of upper body exercises. You have just about every angle covered.
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    Registered User leidenesLK's Avatar
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    OP this is an example of what I do (in terms of push/pull compounds):

    Upper A

    BB Bench Press 3x4-8
    Chest-Supported Row 3x4-8
    DB Incline Press 3x8-12
    Lat Pulldown 3x8-12

    Upper B

    Weighted Pull-Up 3x4-8
    Overhead Press 3x4-8
    Cable/DB Row 3x8-12
    DB Bench Press 3x8-12

    And accessories such as side/rear delt isos, bicep/tricep isos sprinkled across both days.

    I do my main push/pull movements for lower reps at the start of each workout. The secondary compounds are just there for assistance/volume work. So if you care about numbers in the OHP and lat pulldown, place them at the start of the second upper day. As long as you have a main and secondary movement in the horizontal and vertical planes for push/pull, you’ve covered all bases.

    Progression on secondary push/pull exercises will be slower, but it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. They’ll still improve over time and you’re still making progress/gains provided your diet is in check. Just focus on increasing reps each workout instead of hoping to increase weight all the time.
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    Registered User tallbro's Avatar
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    If you really want to focuss on OHP one option would be to put it as main lift on 2nd Upper Body day.
    Is your weak point in overhead press shoulders or triceps? Sometimes push presses could help to break the plateau, also microloading helps a lot in overhead press as it's hard to progress on and of course tricep dips are top accessory exercise to improve your overhead press strength.
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    Registered User alain's Avatar
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    Go Bro split, SRS

    I know the studies but i respectfully disagree. Communism looks great on paper but in theory it sucks, same with the the 2x studies.
    Anecdotally the biggest and aesthetic guys in the gym are on bro splits.


    I think upper and lower is fine for the first 3 - 6 months but after that go bro split and this is my reasoning.

    1) Most people train balls to wall, its hard doing this with upper lowers once you start getting into moderate weights. Military press followed by Rows followed by bench, you will burn out
    2) It's easier to get a mind muscle connection and focus on the muscle and not just lift weights, we are bodybuilding.
    3) Recovery time is great, RE: point 1. You can go balls to wall and will be ready to go next time you hit that body part
    4) You still hit the muscles twice indirectly Bench uses a bit of shoulder etc..
    5) progression is much easier, you can increase reps, weight or change one of your exercises to hit the muscle differently
    6) you will notice no difference in muscle gain if you are a natural. Diet and consistency is more important so you may as well have fun and personally bro splits are fun. Leaving the gyms feeling like your chest is about to explode or your arms looking juicy is a great feeling
    7) you can always add an extra day for the muscle group you think is lagging
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    Registered User leidenesLK's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by alain View Post
    Go Bro split, SRS

    I know the studies but i respectfully disagree. Communism looks great on paper but in theory it sucks, same with the the 2x studies.
    Anecdotally the biggest and aesthetic guys in the gym are on bro splits.


    I think upper and lower is fine for the first 3 - 6 months but after that go bro split and this is my reasoning.

    1) Most people train balls to wall, its hard doing this with upper lowers once you start getting into moderate weights. Military press followed by Rows followed by bench, you will burn out
    2) It's easier to get a mind muscle connection and focus on the muscle and not just lift weights, we are bodybuilding.
    3) Recovery time is great, RE: point 1. You can go balls to wall and will be ready to go next time you hit that body part
    4) You still hit the muscles twice indirectly Bench uses a bit of shoulder etc..
    5) progression is much easier, you can increase reps, weight or change one of your exercises to hit the muscle differently
    6) you will notice no difference in muscle gain if you are a natural. Diet and consistency is more important so you may as well have fun and personally bro splits are fun. Leaving the gyms feeling like your chest is about to explode or your arms looking juicy is a great feeling
    7) you can always add an extra day for the muscle group you think is lagging
    I respect your opinion, but in the event OP decides to change his routine on this advice alone, I think it’s important to present some counter arguments.

    1) Training ‘balls to wall’ all the time, which I assume you mean to failure, isn’t productive for hypertrophy goals and usually results in less overall work being done. You allude to systemic fatigue at moderate weights on U/L splits, due to subsequent compound movements, but the effects of this pales in comparison to the localized muscle fatigue that sets in rather quickly on a given day in a bro split, typically rendering exercises done after the first 2-3 as redundant.

    2) I’m sure someone who can achieve a great mmc on a bro split has no issues achieving one on an U/L split or any split for that matter. I don’t think introducing movements for other muscle groups affects this too much. Certainly not much to matter.

    3) Depends. Systemic recovery will be more or less the same if volume and intensity are matched etc. Joint recovery may be worse on a bro split as there is greater potential for overlap, particularly for elbows and shoulders, across chest, arms, shoulders, back days. Muscles are indeed given more recovery on a bro split, but that’s kind of its downfall. Muscles don’t need that long.

    4) No argument here, but unfortunately already overworked muscles (shoulders and arms) are given precedence over chest, back and legs, which only further facilitates that imbalance. Arms and shoulders get the benefit of their own day in addition to a chest and back day. The inverse isn’t true or nowhere near enough to matter.

    5) This isn’t exclusive to bro splits and can be done on any split.

    6) Being natural makes this distinction even more important. Naturals need to take advantage where possible because it’s a much slower process. However I do agree with you that consistency is most important and enjoyment is a huge factor in achieving that.

    7) Again, not exclusive to bro splits.

    I’m not against anyone who wants to do a bro split. I think they have their place and you can definitely achieve great results doing them, but claiming them to be superior is a little misleading. Gains will probably be similar when total weekly volume is matched. Splits are just a way of managing this. Bro splits are just a little more difficult to manage due to it being harder to differentiate between quality and junk volume.

    Anyway, hope I’m not coming off rude. No hate from me, I respect your opinion. Just thought I’d provide OP with alternate viewpoints.
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    Registered User alain's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by leidenesLK View Post
    I respect your opinion, but in the event OP decides to change his routine on this advice alone, I think it’s important to present some counter arguments.

    1) Training ‘balls to wall’ all the time, which I assume you mean to failure, isn’t productive for hypertrophy goals and usually results in less overall work being done. You allude to systemic fatigue at moderate weights on U/L splits, due to subsequent compound movements, but the effects of this pales in comparison to the localized muscle fatigue that sets in rather quickly on a given day in a bro split, typically rendering exercises done after the first 2-3 as redundant.

    2) I’m sure someone who can achieve a great mmc on a bro split has no issues achieving one on an U/L split or any split for that matter. I don’t think introducing movements for other muscle groups affects this too much. Certainly not much to matter.

    3) Depends. Systemic recovery will be more or less the same if volume and intensity are matched etc. Joint recovery may be worse on a bro split as there is greater potential for overlap, particularly for elbows and shoulders, across chest, arms, shoulders, back days. Muscles are indeed given more recovery on a bro split, but that’s kind of its downfall. Muscles don’t need that long.

    4) No argument here, but unfortunately already overworked muscles (shoulders and arms) are given precedence over chest, back and legs, which only further facilitates that imbalance. Arms and shoulders get the benefit of their own day in addition to a chest and back day. The inverse isn’t true or nowhere near enough to matter.

    5) This isn’t exclusive to bro splits and can be done on any split.

    6) Being natural makes this distinction even more important. Naturals need to take advantage where possible because it’s a much slower process. However I do agree with you that consistency is most important and enjoyment is a huge factor in achieving that.

    7) Again, not exclusive to bro splits.

    I’m not against anyone who wants to do a bro split. I think they have their place and you can definitely achieve great results doing them, but claiming them to be superior is a little misleading. Gains will probably be similar when total weekly volume is matched. Splits are just a way of managing this. Bro splits are just a little more difficult to manage due to it being harder to differentiate between quality and junk volume.

    Anyway, hope I’m not coming off rude. No hate from me, I respect your opinion. Just thought I’d provide OP with alternate viewpoints.
    All good bro, not coming off rude at all. Discussion is good.


    I am going to be honest, all i am basing my opinion on is my gut and what I see and have seen around me for many many years. I know I will get negged and flamed but RE: my communism argument. Looks great but every real life application of it has failed in some shape or form. People burn out, stop progressing or stop enjoying it and go to a bro split because it's more fun or just plain don't look good.

    I know i can't back up my anecdotal observations through science because the science says otherwise, heck i used to I used to be a big fan of upper/lower and laughed at those that did bro splits because the studies said it wasn't 'optimal' but through the years the results continually get slapped in my face much like the communists vs capitalist arguments. The biggest and/or most aesthetic guys in the gym all use bro splits, even the natural ones.

    I am not saying U/L or Full body don't have their place, i believe they do for beginners, but after 3months to 9 months (maximum) of full body, UL or PPL if your diet is in check, if you can form a mind muscle connection and feel the contraction of the muscle, lift moderately heavy weights then bro splits are a good choice that shouldn't be dissed because the studies say they aren't 'optimal'
    Last edited by alain; 11-29-2020 at 02:28 AM.
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    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    The problem here with bro splits is that OP is having the issue of the 2nd lift for each 'Movement' is not progressing

    2nd push movement
    2nd pull movement

    Swapping to a bro split which will have more of and only of one plane essentially will compound the situation.

    Push 1
    Push 2
    Push 3
    Push 4
    Push acc 1
    Push acc 2
    everything is going to be fatigued past the first lift and v every subsequent lift even more so.

    A bro split would in my exp, be entirely the wrong direction here.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by alain View Post
    All good bro, not coming off ruse at all. Discussion is good.


    I am going to be honest, all i am basing my opinion on is my gut and what I see and have seen around me for many many years. I know I will get negged and flamed but RE: my communism argument. Looks great but every real life application of it has failed in some shape or form. People burn out, stop progressing or stop enjoying it and go to a bro split because it's more fun or just plain don't look good.

    I know i can't back up my anecdotal observations through science because the science says otherwise, heck i used to I used to be a big fan of upper/lower and laughed at those that did bro splits because the studies said it wasn't 'optimal' but through the years the results continually get slapped in my face much like the communists vs capitalist arguments. The biggest and/or most aesthetic guys in the gym all use bro splits, even the natural ones.

    I am not saying U/L or Full body don't have their place, i believe they do for beginners, but after 3months to 9 months (maximum) of full body, UL or PPL if your diet is in check, if you can form a mind muscle connection and feel the contraction of the muscle, lift moderately heavy weights then bro splits are a good choice that shouldn't be dissed because the studies say they aren't 'optimal'
    I’m all for bro splits if OP wanted to maximize muscle mass at the cost of his main lifts not progressing fast enough in weight, but it sounds like he wants to put up more weight.

    One day, he will come over to the dark side.
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  13. #13
    Registered User alain's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    I’m all for bro splits if OP wanted to maximize muscle mass at the cost of his main lifts not progressing fast enough in weight, but it sounds like he wants to put up more weight.

    One day, he will come over to the dark side.
    hahaha if he wants to push more weight then maybe try a program like Jim Wendler 5/3/1
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