Simple Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Stronger (2015)
Why is it that people go to the gym for years and years and are still lifting the same weights? Why is it that people go to the gym for years and years and they still look the same?
These are common questions in the fitness world. One thing that is for sure is that the body grows from an adaptation to a new stress. It’s time for a change when you do the same thing over and over again and aren’t getting results. Chances are that you should be doing something else. They say that if it isn’t broken don’t fix it, well if it’s broke then you better fix it! Here’s a list of reasons why you have not been hitting personal records in your training.
1. Starting off too heavy too soon.
This is one of the reasons why you aren’t getting stronger. Let’s say that you start a program today. This program lasts 6 weeks to increase your bench press. A smart program wouldn’t make you start using heavy weights right away. You might start off with a lighter weight than what you can do. For example, if you can bench press 225 x 5, you wouldn’t start the program doing 225 x 5. Instead, you would scale back a bit and start at maybe 185 or something like that. Every week you will increase the weight. By the end of the program you should be doing a bit more than 225 x 5. You have to take a few steps back if you want to take a few steps forward. It’s like if you want to jump from one rooftop to another rooftop, you wouldn’t jump in place. You would take a few steps back to have enough energy to jump to the next roof. Resistance training is no different. So try to scale back a bit and focus on using good form. Then look to increase the weight which brings me to my next point below.
2. If you’re advanced and you aren’t cycling your loads then it will be hard to progress.
If you’re a beginner, then there is no need to cycle your loads. The weight is just not that heavy. For intermediates, it might be necessary, depending on who it is. If you’re an advanced lifter, then the weights are most likely going to be heavy for you. You can’t always lift super heavy week in and out so you have to be smart and cycle your loads. There are many ways to cycle your loads. If you’re squatting 405×5 as an advanced lifter you can take this into account. Maybe it will be a good idea to not squat so heavy on the 4th week or not even squat at all for example. There are many ways to cycle your loads, this is known as a deload. When you do this you are giving your joints a break which is good for short and long term health. Less is more when it comes to lifting heavy for advanced lifters. Advanced lifters can’t do as many sets as beginners or else they will burn out. Depending on how advanced you are, you might only need one top end set instead of 3×5 or 5×5. Advanced lifters who don’t cycle their loads can get injured. Due to the weight being too heavy and they weren’t recovered.
3. You’re not focusing on details and you lack concentration.
Some people don’t understand the importance of details when it comes to exercising. Powerlifters know the importance of this. That is one of the reasons why they are able to lift so much weight. Don’t just squat up and down without focusing on details. The details will help you perform the lift in a safer manner. They could also improve your strength. For example; proper breathing, tight core, tight glutes, upper back tightness, spreading the floor. Concentration is key. The last thing you want to do is be the person who is talking to others in the gym. Being 100% focused on the task at hand makes getting stronger easy.
4. Unrealistic expectations.
It’s good to aim high. Still, some people take it overboard. They think that they could go from a 135lb deadlift to a 405lb deadlift in a few weeks. It doesn’t work like that and it takes a lot dedication and patience. You want to be realistic. You also want to do the exercise without sacrificing your technique. Yeah sure, anybody can pick up a heavy barbell from the floor if their life depended on it. Just because you can get the weight up doesn’t mean that you are doing it the right way. Strive for small goals. If you can add 5lb to your squat every week, then you would be at 50lb in 10 weeks. 100lb in 20 weeks, 200lb in 40 weeks, 400lb in 80 weeks, 800lb in 160 weeks. These goals are unrealistic. Even if you add 2lb to your squat per week, it will catch up to your quick and that’s the truth.
5. You don’t warm up.
The warm-up will most likely dictate your workout. You better not be one of those people who just walk into the gym and start their first set. A good warm-up could be jump rope for a few minutes. foam roll and lacrosse ball work. Preparatory Dynamic work and maybe some activation drills. All this along with the warm-up sets for your first exercise. I used to go to the gym and walk into the squat rack right away and start squatting. I didn’t know any better, now I would never dream of it. A good warm-up is what everybody should be doing anyways. You can do this by getting to the gym 10-15 minutes earlier. Do what you need to do start your workout the right way.
6. You have to picture yourself doing the lift before you do it.
If you don’t think or even believe that you can pick up a heavy weight, then how are you going to do it? You have to picture yourself doing it beforehand. This will increase your likelihood of actually getting the lift up. When I was trying to improve my shoulder press, I would imagine myself doing a heavier weight all week long. When the day came for me to do it, I did it because I believed in myself. Will believing in yourself guarantee a personal record? No. You will be more likely to get the lift over the person who didn’t even visualize.
A good reason why you aren’t getting stronger is because you’re always getting injured. Injuries can limit the amount of weight you can move and it makes your training a lot harder. Make sure that you know how to do the exercise well. Stick to exercises that you can do pain-free.
8. You aren’t training with people that are stronger than you.
I recommend that you train at a gym where you aren’t the strongest.
I hope that these tips helped you out because they helped me a lot. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Remember that getting stronger has a lot to do with mental strength.