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Thread: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

  1. #1

    Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    So, I have hit a very stubborn plateau and have seen very little gains over the past couple months. Right now I do Mon-Wed - push sit pull alternating between slow controlled reps, super sets, and weighted pt. Thursday is usually just run or swim. Friday is upper body, back, chest, tris, and shoulders, all in one day. Saturday is lower body and usually do some biceps and forearm strengthening. But this is really not working for me.

    My weight lifting maxes are pretty low so I feel that I may be hitting a strength barrier, But I Don't Know? Advice?

    What I think I may do is for the next two months is cut out the high rep calisthenics except for one day and switch over to strength training. I want to do 2 upper body days and 2 lower body days per week. Anybody who has experienced a problem like this I would love to hear what you did to fix it and if you think that what I plan on doing will work to hopefully increase my max pull ups and pushups. Thanks a bunch for any replies.

    Current numbers I am stuck at are push- 75 pull- 15.
    Last edited by ryguyc26; 02-21-2012 at 09:01 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    I've never really plateaued and I think it's because I honestly don't have a set workout whatever I feel like doing each day, is how I roll. I might just want to lift weights one day, do calisthenics one day, do a mock PST one day. Sometimes I just like to see if I can do 1000 push ups through out the day, with like a set of 40 situps every 200. Do as many 7 rep squats and pullups in 8 mins I can, bench my body weight 20 times, squat it 20 times, then go swim 10 laps in a 25m pool for time. Having a workout plan, a concrete plan just never worked for me I would always burn out quickly mentally, and find myself researching more plans that just wasted my time.

  3. #3
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    My schedule is similar to Solid's in the idea that I change it up weekly to avoid plateaus. I hit the main muscle groups each day, for example, chest/tris on Monday, Legs on Tuesday, Back/Bi's on Weds, Core/sit ups on Thursday, etc but switch it up weekly with Sundays as a complete rest day. I also run everyday (switch it up, 1.5 mile one day, sprints another, LSD the next) as well as swim everyday if possible (again switch it up, sprints, 500 yard, LSD) . On how to work out I try to do calisthenics as well as weights. example bench to 25 push ups back to bench etc. no rest in between works on endurance as well. Best way to push your self mentally in my case is to set goals within my workout, and feel good about completing them. During BUD's it helps to take it a meal at a time, my theory is train that way, don't setup for 3 weeks when you have today to get through, train as hard as you can everyday, reflect on it before you go to bed, "did i push myself as hard as I could of today?" when you can answer yes, you'll start to see gains. Hope I helped, good luck and train hard.

  4. #4
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    Mess around with changing the intensities and duration.

    Variety is key to avoid plateaus.

    When lifting don't always do 3 sets of 10 etc. Develop a plan that cycles the weight according to your goals. So start with higher reps and work down to lower reps and then come back around at the end of 4 or 5 weeks. Increase the weight as you decrease the amount of reps and vice versa.

    Don't expect large gains. Small ones lead to large ones. As your fitness increases, the amount of progress you make decreases. Your gains will get smaller and smaller( it's called diminishing returns).

    For runs and swims just follow the progression in the PTG and go slow. It will come with time.

    For weights and stuff do something like this:


    1st week 3x12 reps @ 100lbs (just example numbers)
    2nd week 3x10 reps @ 110lbs
    3rd 3x8 @ 120lbs
    4th week 3x6 at 130 lbs

    Come back around to 3x12 on the 5th week and start over. This time it will look something like this
    1st 3x12 (2sets of 100bs, 1 of 105) - slowly add weight. Next cycle it would be (1 set of 100, 2sets of 105) then 3x12 @ 105

    See how you are slowly adding weight and going up?

    It takes some time to fine tune your body and realize how much you should be progessing each week. A good rule of thumb for weights is 1 rep = 5lbs of weight. So if you are dropping down by 2 reps each week you should increase your sets by 10 lbs to account for that.


    You can use this method for pullups and pushups, just pick a number and do certain amount of sets to get to that number. Work on doing it in a few sets as possible. Slowly try to go up.

    When you do a lot of bench you'lll be able to do less pushups so as you decrease the amount of reps you do in bench increase the amount of pushups you are doing.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lion's Avatar
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    I agree with nickdich, the key to avoid plateauing is variety.

    Do a little looking online and find about four different exercises per muscle group, and then rotate which exercises you do when you lift.
    For example: A few exercises you can do for chest are Bench Press(BP), Inclined BP(Inc. BP), Inclined Dumbbell Press (IDP), Dips, and Inclined Push-ups (IPs)

    So as part of your strength training, your first week could look like this:
    Mon: Back, Chest, Legs. For this day you would do BP, IDP, and IPs for Chest
    Wed: Arms, Legs, Shoulders
    Fri: Chest, Arms, Back. And on this day you would do Inc. BP, Dips, and BP

    So you have a variety of exercises to rotate through so that you're always doing something a little different each time. By the time you do the same lifts as the first day, it'll have been a week and a half or two, and you'll have gotten slightly stronger, so you can try adding a little extra weight this time around.

    For strength training, I only do one set for an exercise at 12 reps, just to get warmed up. Then I do ten, then eight, then five to eight for the last one. The last set should definitely be a bit of a struggle to finish. For example, I'm only 143#, and I'll warm up on the bench by doing 12 reps at 140#, then I'll jump to 175# x 10, then 185# x 8, then 195# x 5-8 for the last. If I can manage to finish the last set with 8 reps, I know it's time to move up in weight, but before I finish on the bench, I'll try to max out a little. So I'll throw 5 more # on, do three reps, and repeat until I can't do three reps. I do this for every primary lifting exercise (BP, Squat, Power Cleans, Dead Lift). For other exercises, I do the same, minus the maxing out.

    And finally... just let your body rest every once in a while. Take two or three days off from weightlifting, and then get back into it.
    "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it." - Thucydides
    *08APR2013 SO Contract*

  6. #6
    Ryknow
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    These guys don't have bad ideas. I'd just say instead of having a schedule do everything you do everyday instead. Than after awhile you will see you going a little bit further everyday. No joke.

  7. #7
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    Are you sure this isn't a joke.

  8. #8
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    Overtraining = setting yourself up for injuries Ryknow.

  9. #9
    Ryknow
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    Well he is seeing no improvement. So I am guessing that he is pretty fit. I work out every day? Injuries don't necsicarly come from working out to much.

  10. #10
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryknow View Post
    Well he is seeing no improvement. So I am guessing that he is pretty fit. I work out every day? Injuries don't necsicarly come from working out to much.
    Have you absorbed any of the information that is floating around this site? I can't believe your suggesting him to do everything (pt,lifting,running,swimming) all in a single day everyday! If your doing this everyday and your not overtrained and injured; your not working out everyday. And to continue the problem you back up your solution with a completely false statement.

  11. #11
    Ryknow
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    YES do physical training everyday. If any one hasn't already youtubed navy seal cadence, just do it. There are running cadences that are really funny and if you sing along you find the perfect breathing rhythm. Specially the one about the grandma and doing PT to stay a live. Check it out they are also motivational.

  12. #12

    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    Let me start by saying Ryknow your comments were completely useless.
    So hear is what I have come up with to switch over to mainly focusing on strength.

    week 1 - 3 sets of 10 reps low weight
    week 2 - 3 sets of 6 reps high weight
    week 3 - 3 sets of 8 reps middle weight
    then repeat

    Monday- Chest and tris
    Run 3miles
    1. bench press
    2. inc. bench press
    3. tricep dips
    4. downward rope pull tri extension
    5. iso-lateral decline press
    6. dumbbell bench press
    7. overhead dumbbell tri ext.
    8. tri. extension machine.
    swim 1000 yards

    Tuesday- Legs, core, arms
    run 4miles in morning
    1. squat
    2. overhead weighted lunges(3 sets of 10 each leg)
    3. deadlift
    4. calf raise machine
    5. seated leg press
    6. glute kick back machine
    7. abduction/adduction machine
    core and some bis and forearm stuff
    swim 750yds

    Wednesday- back and shoulders
    1. iso-lateral low row
    2. iso-lateral high row
    3. DB military press
    4. Arnold press
    5. lat pull down
    6. horizontal row
    7. neutral grip shoulder press machine
    8. deltoid lateral raise
    swim 1500 yards

    Thursday - I usually use this day as a mid week rest with just a run and some core and shoulder pre-habbing. Since, I have very little calisthenics in my routine do you think it would be a good idea to add in a couple max rep sets on this day or just keep it a rest day?

    Friday - Chest and tris
    1. bench press
    2. decline bench press
    3. dips
    4. skull crushers
    5. iso-lateral incline press
    6. dumbbell flys
    7. close grip bench
    8. overhead cable extension
    run int. 7x400m
    swim 1000 yards

    Saturday - back and shoulders
    run 6 miles
    1. lat pull down
    2. shrugs
    3. DB military press
    4. shoulder pull ups
    5. T/Y trap raises
    6. bent over row
    7. front/lateral raises
    8. upright row
    swim 750 yds

    Sunday- rest.

    Let me know what you think. I built this off of suggestions from you guys. If you have any good replacements for exercises I am doing than i will be more than willing to try them out thanks.

    Ryknow do not respond any comment you make will be ignored.
    Last edited by ryguyc26; 03-02-2012 at 01:57 PM. Reason: easier to read

  13. #13

    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    nah i actually did the same workout everyday when i was trying to increase my pushups. It was an exercise by Stew Smith. It actually helped, but it was only for a week. I never do the same workouts everyday though except that one time. Yes dont exercise everyday like RyKnow said to do it will injure your body. You need to let you body rest to it can rebuild itself so that you can get stronger. If you dont you will steadily keep destroying your muscle fibers and you wont get stronger. So its just a wast of time.

  14. #14
    Ryknow
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    Lightbulb Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    For anyone that isn't seeing improvement from working out. Your not working out as hard as you really can. You see these commercials about p90x and intesinty or something and you follow there workouts you'll see improvement. Well if you do anything continuously you are going to improve no matter what. When I first started working out I had a tablet with everything I did, just keeping track of everything right? Well after awhile it burnt me out. This whole thing ryguy posted seems tedeus and to much work to follow for a couple months. My suggestion is to keep it simple. And just go out and do it. Also everyone pick up a book because comprehension is everything.

  15. #15
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryknow View Post
    Also everyone pick up a book because comprehension is everything.
    why are you telling people to get better at reading??? I can't believe you think that lowly of the highly competitive, alot of times college-educated and determined individuals that litter this forum.

    @ryguyc26, Why don't you use PTG? Mix it up, PTG is a guide as im sure you know. So tailor it to your needs. Add 2 more swims and another run to your weekly routine, customize it

    Why does everyone disregard the goldmine of information Mike Caviston has put up here. He has been working out for years with this routine. He is a very intelligent individual that knows exactly what he is talking about. If he though the PTG was not good enough to increase muscular strength and keep you from plateauing; i bet he would have figured out already. The weights in the PTG do add variety. You don't have to do the same set of exercises every single time. Mix it up like Lion said and try different variations of exercises. If you have read his stickies; he says you can even add a second set for 4-6 reps or 15-20 every now and then on a few exercises. Your suppose to perform each exercise to FAILURE; and your failure should occur on your 9th try at that weight. You will slowly be adding more reps till 12; then you put on so more weight. I have found that a guideline to putting more weight on is 5 more pounds per rep. That is not exact but it gets you in the ballpark.

    Read Mike Caviston's strength sticky.

  16. #16
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    Most leveling off of a training program occurs because people do not change anything about their program or keep good track of their results. They have long term goals, but not short term ones. Doing the same thing everyday or week to week is not going to net you a lot of results.

    The reason the PTG, P90x, Insanity, etc work is that it lays out a progression for you and works on a cycle. If you notice in the PTG your not going up leaps and bounds each week, it's a very small percentage increase. The same with P90x and other well receieved programs, you are slowly building up and changing the intensities and durations of your exercises.


    As much as I hate to say it, Ryknow is actually a little right. Every time you work out you need to be pushing yourself harder then the previous workout, but in a smart way. I'm pretty sure the SEALs have a motto that deals with something like that ;). Most of us want to be able to do our pushups and expect to get to 100 pushups in 2 minutes in a few weeks. Well frankly it's not going to happen. It takes a lot of hard work to get there. Set small goals to accomplish, if your progressing a little you're still progressing. Over time this adds up.

    When you first start a program or working out you will see the greatest gains in the first 4-5 weeks as your nervous system changes to recruit more muscle fibers (motor unit recruitment). This is what causes those big leaps in strength and gives people that false sense of achievement that their program is golden. After this the gains start to get smaller and the more you progress in fitness, the less you'll see in gains. This is why Olympic athletes and pros train so hard and only shave off 1/10s of a second etc.


    Simply put - change up your workout. Look at the PTG, you don't have to follow everything by heart, but look at how they lay out the progressions and follow something similar. Change the intensities of your workouts either by day to day or week to week.

    You can do CHI, LSD, INT training for pullups, pushups and situps too. Mess with recovery times, durations etc.



    I highly recommend keeping track of your workouts in a notebook that you bring with you to the gym. The reason for this is you can write things down instantly and you won't forget it when you get home. Write how you feel that day if you don't feel well. If something wasn't normal make a little note of it. Sometimes you just have off days and shouldn't get worked up about it (easier said than done). Set small progress goals that help you achieve long term ones. By achieving the small goals you'll motivate yourself even more and you can see the progress you are making.

    I would also highly recommend a structure to your workout. You can still make progress by just going into the gym and knocking things out as they go, but it's not very efficient and it often lacks specificity - one of the most important elements of fitness. This is where Crossfit workouts have their downfall. They are great for a good general level of fitness, but the randomness of the program/variability between instructors often limits in key specific areas.

    PM me on the forums if you want some help setting something up and I'll help you out if you want, but the best advice I can offer anyone looking for a program is to just look at the Physical Training Guide! It's made specifically for Naval Special Warfare! It's made by experts in the field, based on solid science. What else could you ask for? Follow the advice of Mr. Cavistion as well, there's a reason why the Navy pays him to give this advice and why he is the DIRECTOR OF FITNESS for the Naval Special Warfare Center. I'm guessing he know's a thing or two. While I have a great interest in this subject as well as a degree to back it up, I certainly do not have anywhere close to the credentials as this man. So listen to what he says!

  17. #17

    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    I am obviously pushing myself. And I was before I realized I needed a change. Pushing myself is something that is always on my mind considering I want to be a Navy SEAL and all, and I know I have a long way to go. If a full chest and tris lift routine with 8x400m intervals and a 1000yd swim in under 2.5 hours isn't pushing yourself than I would love to know what you think is. I was doing around 500 push ups a day about 70 pull ups a day and at least 15 minutes of core work a day, and I saw very little to no improvement. Which leads me to believe that I have a problem with my overall muscular strength and not the endurance. That is why I have mainly switched it over to strength training for the next couple of months. My runs and swims are steadily increasing but my pushes and pulls have been stuck in the same place for a good 3 months.
    Last edited by ryguyc26; 03-03-2012 at 05:32 AM. Reason: added a few things

  18. #18
    Ryknow
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    It sounds like you want instant gratitude. If you haven't already found out from reading, you'll need to have patience.

  19. #19
    Senior Member jtrex39's Avatar
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    First, Ryknow, stop posting on this thread. You're a Senior Member (100 Posts) and your account is less than a month old.

    My advice to you is instead of completely outweighing your endurance days compared to strength training days, vary it week to week. By that, I mean have 60% of your workouts one week (this is an example) having to do with strength training and 40% endurance, and the next week flip flop those two so you're not focusing on one or the other. Strength is always good, but when you look at the things you do through SEAL training you need more endurance than anything, and I'm sure you know that. Take a look at the guys who graduate BUD/S, if you had a before and after picture I'm sure almost all of them look thinner and less muscular.

    The reason why you shouldn't cut back so much on your endurance is that you'd lose it in the time you're building your strength, and when you notice that you'll switch to endurance and lose your strength, possibly becoming a vicious cycle.

    Just my two cents.

  20. #20
    Ryknow
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    Re: Plateauing Hard. Fix?

    90% mental 10% physical. You do the math on what it takes to become a Navy SEAL.

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