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  1. #1
    Registered User brentbouwer's Avatar
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    Pressing power dropped by 30-50% in 3 weeks! What is going on!?

    Hi everyone! I am a long time lurker on this forum but finally I have decided to post about something I just cannot wrap my head around.

    I forgive if this may not be the right area to post this but I am not that familiar with the forum.

    Let me first introduce myself, I am BK 31 5'9.5 220lbs +-13% body fat. Training for 17 years now. So I am by no means a novice but I am not a pro either.

    Training had been going very well since the end of Nov/mid Dec. I was pressing 120lb dumbbells for 10 reps on seated dumbbell press for shoulders. On flat dumbbell press for example I was doing 150lbs for 8 reps.

    Bench press I could do 315lbs for 10 reps for example.

    Now here is the problem, 3 weeks later, shoulder press I'm struggling with 90 dumbbells for 8 reps! And it's like the first rep is so light but then I fatigue by the 4th or 5th rep. Same with dumbbell bench, 90lbs by rep 6 feels like 140lbs used to.

    I suspected overtraining but here comes the conundrum, my squat, deadlift, bent over row, literally anything that doesn't require pressing is getting stronger which made me think it cannot be overtraining?

    Could it be possible that my shoulders, chest and triceps are overtrained/under recovered and the rest of my body is okay?

    Usually I take an off week every 3 months and plan my programs for 12 weeks at a time.

    I am busy losing my mind I don't get how my pressing power is literally gone in 3 weeks, I'm starting to get concerned something is wrong, but if there was my entire body would be weakening.

    Please let me know what you guys think and if this has happened to any of you?

    Thanks in advance
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  2. #2
    Toronto Millz12323's Avatar
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    Seems super odd. You obviously have enough experience to know once you get sufficiently strong there will be good and bad days or bad weeks for certain movements. There's a sort of ebb and flow to it.

    It sounds like you've already kind of ruled that out though.

    I'm just going to point to the obvious things that come to mind.

    1) are you training at a different time?
    2) was your most recent 12 week block somehow much different than usual? Higher or lower frequency or intensity than a typical block?
    3) are you training at a different gym?
    4) are you in a calorie deficit at the moment?
    5) sleep schedule different?
    6) super stressed about something?
    7) did you change your supplement stack?
    8) you have any video of you pressing heavy and compare it to how you're pressing now? Maybe you changed something without realizing...

    Those are the things that immediately come to mind. I'm sure you've probably already thought of most of those
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  3. #3
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Since you sound experienced & uninjured - and if nothing has been removed from your supplements - I have no idea. But if it were me since the drop in strength is so drastic, I'd take 2-3 weeks off and only do pulls & legs, then come back to pressing & build back up if necessary. Can't imagine it wouldn't come back super quickly. Sometimes weird stuff happens.
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    Originally Posted by brentbouwer View Post
    I was pressing 120lb dumbbells for 10 reps on seated dumbbell press for shoulders. On flat dumbbell press for example I was doing 150lbs for 8 reps.
    Thanks for making me feel like a weakling.
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  5. #5
    Registered User brentbouwer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Millz12323 View Post
    Seems super odd. You obviously have enough experience to know once you get sufficiently strong there will be good and bad days or bad weeks for certain movements. There's a sort of ebb and flow to it.

    It sounds like you've already kind of ruled that out though.

    I'm just going to point to the obvious things that come to mind.

    1) are you training at a different time?
    2) was your most recent 12 week block somehow much different than usual? Higher or lower frequency or intensity than a typical block?
    3) are you training at a different gym?
    4) are you in a calorie deficit at the moment?
    5) sleep schedule different?
    6) super stressed about something?
    7) did you change your supplement stack?
    8) you have any video of you pressing heavy and compare it to how you're pressing now? Maybe you changed something without realizing...

    Those are the things that immediately come to mind. I'm sure you've probably already thought of most of those
    Thanks for pointing all fo these out, I hadn't really given the stress point specifically that much thought as my pull and legs are still strong/improving.

    For the last 6 weeks I have been preparing our house for sale (did all the painting work myself and I imagine it hits the shoulders lol) and we have the stress of immigrating to England once the house is sold. Sleep has also been slightly affected due to this, averaging 6 hours a night instead of 8.

    I am in ever so slight caloric surplus (200-300) as I am busy trying to lean bulk at the moment.

    Other than that everything is pretty much the same, I ruled it out as being fatigue because my other lifts are improving.

    I have also noticed yesterday that the strength is not "gone" completely, I tested on shoulder press yesterday with 100lb dumbbells, the first rep is light (the way it usually would feel) but by rep 3 it's already buggered/exhausted with that weight. It is as if my shoulders and chests fuel tank is like 1/4 of what it used to be. You know that feeling when you're usually at rep 9 or 10 with a heavy weight and you just can't push it up? That's happening super early if I go my normal weights.

    I then did 70lb dumbells the next set, first set with that weight I got 25 reps, second I got 12 reps then dropped to 60lbs and gassed again by 10 reps. I wanted to go lighter to try and deload instead of taking off.

    Would you guys suggest rather a full week/2 off pressing?

    I don't want to self diagnose but do you guys reckon this could be a culmination of overuse from painting, heavy pressing and stress?
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  6. #6
    Registered User brentbouwer's Avatar
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    One variable I did forget to mention, my gym recently got a viking press (I did it hammer grip for variance) and for the last 6 weeks I had been hammering that too in addition to my regular shoulder workouts.

    I was able to do 260lbs for 8 reps 3 weeks ago, now I'm lucky to do 200 for 8.

    Like I said I didn't exchange this for any of my other pressing movements I simply added it in as well.

    My split also, I would do shoulders and arms on a Thursday and then chest on a Sunday, giving tris and shoulders enough time to rest in my mind?

    Looking at this after having written everything down it makes me think it could be shoulder/chest overtraining and under recovery, but I never knew one could have single muscle overtraining etc without accompanying aches and pains, in my case joints and muscles are not sore.

    In my mind overtraining or under recovery would affect the central nervous system as well and affect all lifts that's why this is super hard to diagnose.
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  7. #7
    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by brentbouwer View Post
    One variable I did forget to mention, my gym recently got a viking press (I did it hammer grip for variance) and for the last 6 weeks I had been hammering that too in addition to my regular shoulder workouts.

    I was able to do 260lbs for 8 reps 3 weeks ago, now I'm lucky to do 200 for 8.

    Like I said I didn't exchange this for any of my other pressing movements I simply added it in as well.

    My split also, I would do shoulders and arms on a Thursday and then chest on a Sunday, giving tris and shoulders enough time to rest in my mind?

    Looking at this after having written everything down it makes me think it could be shoulder/chest overtraining and under recovery, but I never knew one could have single muscle overtraining etc without accompanying aches and pains, in my case joints and muscles are not sore.

    In my mind overtraining or under recovery would affect the central nervous system as well and affect all lifts that's why this is super hard to diagnose.
    Looks like that's the issue there. You added a lift and it's affected your recovery.

    I've never done Viking press but doesn't it require core bracing and spinal loading to press the weight overhead? Spinal loading has some extra fatigue cost associated with it.
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  8. #8
    Registered User brentbouwer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    Looks like that's the issue there. You added a lift and it's affected your recovery.

    I've never done Viking press but doesn't it require core bracing and spinal loading to press the weight overhead? Spinal loading has some extra fatigue cost associated with it.
    It most definitely does yes! And I didn't use my legs as I wanted to specifically focus on shoulders. It was/is a wonderful movement, especially when I pressed hammer grip style as I always only pressed normal grip, made my shoulders burn like a bitch!

    Come to think of it too, it was after the very heavy week that I did that the initial performance decline was most noticeable. Not only that but I had done heavy DB shoulder press as well as heavy smith machine shoulder press too before viking press.
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