You won’t be able to increase the amount of weight you lift forever. At some point, increasing the weight is going to get tough. This should take several months for most of you so don’t worry about reaching this point for at least a few months (if you follow all program guidelines).
For example, don’t make huge jumps increasing the weight between workouts or you’ll stall much sooner. I want you to grow your strength slowly and steadily over the course of the program.
You’re building a great strength base that will serve you well when you’re finished with this program.
When you do have trouble increasing the weight, here’s what you need to do.
Let’s say you haven’t been able to increase the weight you lift for the past 3 workouts on any given exercise. Once you’ve reached the point where you can’t increase the weight on 3 consecutive workouts for any exercise, do the following:
Decrease weight by 10% only for the exercise you are having trouble making progress with.
Continue progressing on all other exercises.
From there, you can start increasing again once you reach the targeted number of reps for each set.
You’ll most likely first have trouble increasing the weight on exercises that have the lowest potential for moving a heavy amount of weight – most likely in this order:
1. Overhead Press
2. Pendlay Rows
3. Bench Press
4. Chin Ups
You’ll be able to lift the heaviest weight on Deadlifts, then Squats, then Bench Press and Pendlay Rows, and then Overhead Press. Your maximum strength levels should be about the same on Bench Press and Pendlay Rows. Chin ups and dips will be mixed in there depending on your strength levels.
Since Overhead Press uses the lightest amount of weight, you may have trouble increasing the weight 5 pounds every workout. 5 pound increases on Overhead Press are much larger relative increases than 5 pounds on exercises that use much heavier weights.
For example, going from 115 to 120 pounds on Overhead Press is a huge increase compared to going from 315 to 320 pounds on Deadlifts. See the difference?
How do you fix this problem? You can either repeat the same weights for the exercises that use lighter weights for a couple workouts and then increase OR you can use fractional plates that allow you to increase by smaller amounts. I recommend fractional plates.
For example, you can get 1.25 pound fractional plates and increase the weight by 2.5 pounds on Overhead Press instead of 5 pounds.
A good plan for increasing the weight on the exercises in this program might look like this:
– Add 2.5 pounds to the Overhead Press
– Add 5 pounds to Bench Press, Pendlay Rows, and Squats
– Add 10 pounds to Deadlifts
What do you do if you are starting to reach plateaus on several or all exercises? What do you do if you are starting to go backwards on an exercise?
If you are only having trouble with one to two exercises and are starting to lose strength on those exercises, you need to take some more aggressive action. You’ve already followed the guidelines above when you reached your first plateau. So, here’s what you do now:
– Decrease the weight by 20% for only the exercise you’re having trouble with. Leave the other exercises alone. And change the sets and reps to 3 sets of 3 reps for Squats, Bench Press, Pendlay Rows, or Overhead Press. For Deadlifts, do only 1 set of 3 reps with decreased weight.
– If you are having trouble getting stronger on Chin Ups or Dips, decrease the number of sets to 1 and target 5 reps versus 8 reps.
– If you are reaching plateaus on more than 3 exercises and have already decreased the weight on those exercises by 10% and 20%, you most likely need a break from weight lifting.
Go ahead and start your rest week if the above applies.
I have never seen anyone need to go this far with this program lasting 8 weeks, so this info is just here in case you need it. I like to provide additional tips and tricks wherever I can to help you.