View Full Version : Terrible Plateau issues in need of much help

02-09-2012, 07:27 PM
This is my first post so I'll try to make it not suck so bad.
I have been lifting on and off for roughly 15 years, however I have not made any significant progress in the last 5, in fact I have actually gotten weaker on some assistance exercises.
I am 6' 305 lbs my raw paused bench is 455, competition depth squat (belt no wraps) is 565 and my deadlift is 605-620.
I have made no measurable progress since 2007, I have bulked up (340) leaned down (280 may not be lean but it is lighter), tried a variety of programs for 3-6 months all to no avail, right now I am following a 4 day a week split (Mon- chest, shoulders, tris Tue- Legs, Back and if I feel froggy Bi's, I then repeat with different exercises or reps/weights on Thu/Fri)
I am hoping that at 44 I am not done making gains or getting stronger, if I am done I am afraid my wife will take me to Crossfit with her...I am very certain that I will be a sad pale, hairy object of ridicule there, please help.

chris mason
02-09-2012, 09:05 PM
What is your exact training routine?

02-09-2012, 10:00 PM
First, how consistent are you with your training right now??? Second, (and i always hate resorting to this but) at 44 you could have lower test levels than you once did... go get checked by a doc and see what he says.

02-10-2012, 07:19 AM
You're all over the place. First, decide if you want to lift "on and off" or if you want to make progress. Most people can't do both.

Next, decide what your goal is. Is it to get stronger? Lose fat? Gain muscle? Be a body builder? Power lifter? Strongman? It looks like you are probably training like a bodybuilder but your talking numbers like a powerlifter. Pick something.

You're trying a variety of programs for 3-6 months of on and off lifting with no particular goal. Once you have a specific goal, find a plan that will match your goal and stick to it for at least a year before you decide to do anything else. It's called working out, not trying out.

02-10-2012, 11:21 AM
Mr. Mason,

Sorry I wasn't clear about the workout it looks like this this week:

Mon- bench- warmups- 315x3, 335x3, 355x3, 375x3, 395x3 (I have been going up 5 lbs per set whenever I complete all 5 started at 275-280-285 etc.)
Standing Military- 135x5, 185x5, 225x5x5x5
Barbell Row- 185x5, 225x5, 265x5, 285x5x5x5
Dips- no weight x20 x20 x18
Band Pull Aparts (red band) x30 x30 (I have bad shoulders)
Rotator Cuff Cables- x15x15x15
DBell Curls- 3x12

Tue- Squat-warmups-365x5, 405x5, 455x3, 495x3x3x3, 515x2x2
Stiff Leg Deads- 225x10, 275x10x10
Jones Machine Lunges- x10x10x10
Abs- 20,20,20

Wed- Off
thu- Close Grip Bench- warmups-225x10, 275x6, 315x3x3x3
Incline Bench- 275x5, 315x5x5
Weighted Dips- 60 lbs x12x12x10
DBell Rows- 3x12
Arnold Press- 3x15

Fri- Going Later but it should look like this
dead lifts- warm ups- 405x2, 455x2, 495x2, 550x2x2x2
dbell lunges- 3x10
front squats- 5x5-12
Abs- planks 30-60 secs
dbell curls- 3x5-8


I have been pretty consistent for the past 2 years I have gotten all of my training days in without a miss for the last 8 months. I had my test levels checked 3 months ago they were average (585 or so) for my age but low for someone so hairy.


My goal is strength for powerlifting, the numbers I listed are my best competition lifts taken in the last 5 years and are pretty equivalent to what I can do now. The off and on is more a phrase than it is an accurate description, "on" is lifting heavy, "off" is those 1-3 months every year or two where I hit the gym once a week for nothing more than maintaining some strength due to family/work/life commitments that eat up large blocks of time. I'm sure that I have cut some programs short due to impatience (5/3/1 and juggernaut come to mind) and some due to stalling (madcow) I'm looking for something I can do long term that will keep me from losing hope or some advice on assistance work rep schemes etc to tweak what I'm doing now.

chris mason
02-10-2012, 11:27 AM
You need variety. You are plateaued because you have weaknesses which are not being addressed with your routine. Research Westside and conjugate variety.

02-10-2012, 08:05 PM

I looked up the westside training and it was different than I imagined.
Would the 9 week basic training program by dave tate be sufficient in variety for me (based on what I'm currently doing?) I certainly am not approaching that level of variety in assistance exercises now, and one last question is there a good replacement exercise for Reverse Hypers (my gym does not have one). Thanks in advance

02-10-2012, 08:54 PM
wow. numbers are impressive sloth. The only suggestion i could give is to change things up. Chris is right, you've just hit a plateau from lack of variety. Try something like adding dropsets or working with supersetting some exercises.
Good mornings may be a good replacement for Reverse Hypers... although i personally hate them.

02-11-2012, 07:06 AM
dont do the "basic 9 week program" that dave tate wrote IMO. What vincent wrote for "600 lbs of raw bench" is a great way to setup the upper days, and you could take that and make another 2 lower body days modeled after that.

02-11-2012, 07:31 PM
Sloth you're pretty darn strong! I'm going to agree with Zar-Fit on the suggestion to get your Testoterone level checked and see if it's time for TRT therapy (Testosterone replacement theropy). I had plateaued on my training and lost about every kind of drive I had in my early 40's. Had it checked and my T level was 229. Went on TRT and it was like a new lease on life. I'm 56 now and today hit an all-time PR for me on Barbell Row with a final set of 500 x 2. I feel overall as strong or stronger than I've ever been. 12-13 years ago I was about ready to hang it up. As for as routines go most of our guys at my gym have made very sustained gains with Wendler's 531. I think variety has a lot to do with your mental makeup. If you get bored easily variety is very good to avoid mental burnout. I've done a very similar routine with mostly the same core movement for 8-9 years and made great gains. But I'm the kind of guy who would never rearrange my room because I like familiarity. Drives my wife crazy because she like to change things up a lot!

02-11-2012, 08:02 PM
Zar, king, monster,

thanks for the input, I am going to spend tomorrow researching all of your suggestions and hopefully incorporating them into my training, considering how things are going it couldn't hurt to try something new (for me) and proven 9for you guys). I appreciate your time.

02-11-2012, 11:12 PM

I looked up the westside training and it was different than I imagined.
Would the 9 week basic training program by dave tate be sufficient in variety for me (based on what I'm currently doing?) I certainly am not approaching that level of variety in assistance exercises now, and one last question is there a good replacement exercise for Reverse Hypers (my gym does not have one). Thanks in advance

9 week? The beginners training manual is a 12 week program.

I actually start all the new lifters at my place with that program to get them used to training the way we do. They almost all have made positive gains on it too. I'd recommend it because it gives a program that is written out in the way to get your mind thinking correctly for your training.

For your other question, no, there isn't. You can try to do reverse hyper type movements using things like an exercise ball on a 45 degree back extension, but don't listen to anyone who says they have a "home made" reverse hyper or a reverse hyper substitute unless it is an exact copy of the westside machine. They can be close, but in my opinion they just aren't the real thing.

02-12-2012, 09:45 AM
Lots of good advise here....

I agree that your training looks like a bodybuilder split. If you want your big 3 lifts to improve program your training around them, not body parts.

I agree that a program like Westside ( or any other powerlifting specific program) could help you as long as you stick it out. You could also do wonders for yourself by finding a decent powerlifting team in the area and following what they do.

The one question I have that wasn't addressed when you posted a sample of your routine is " are you going heavy every week"?
If you are pushing the same weight week after week you will never progress past a certain point. You can go heavy on something every week , but not the same thing. I've never seen that work for anybody.

02-12-2012, 06:52 PM

thanks, I'll probably end up doing good mornings and glute ham raises and whatever else I can fit in in place of reverse hypers.


congrats on being the fattest lifter in Illinois, that's awesome, I am merely the fattest in my car.
To answer your question "Yes" I pretty much follow that set rep scheme every week with those exercises (slight variations) and with some version of those weights (+ or - 5lbs depending on how things are going), it seems that this may not be the best way to go, I am a work in progress as of yesterday. Thanks for the input