What are you doing wrong if for months together you have been working out pretty regularly but haven't really felt an increase in strength. When I am weight training, I don't seem to be able to increase the weight the I take for my sets. For example, I have been stuck at 50 - 55 pounds when doing pec fly for the past few months.

I workout 4-5 days a week. Is it just a mental block? How can I push myself and take moreheavy weights. It feels like I am stuck right at the same place and it is getting frustrating.

  • 3
    How many reps per set are you doing? Also 4-5 times a week sounds much, do you get enough rest? And what are your long term goals, strength training or body buidling? It could be good to know as each might need a different approach.
    – Baarn
    Apr 5, 2013 at 16:55
  • Informaficker is right; you need to describe your entire exercise program, diet, sleep and stress patterns in detail for us to have any chance of debugging what's the matter. Apr 5, 2013 at 17:28
  • Definitely need more info but first guesses are: not enough rest, too much other workload on training days, wrong exercise selection for strength goals, or inadequate calorie intake.
    – user4644
    Apr 5, 2013 at 18:10
  • 1
    50-55 when doing pec flies is actually quite a bit (if you mean per dumbbell, which I assume you do). Are you sure you have proper form? Because you could be handicapping yourself by trying to lift too much weight without proper form.
    – user4963
    Apr 5, 2013 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


As you can read from the comments, with the information you gave it is not easy to say why exactly you are on a plateau.

There are several things you could do:

  • Rest
    exercise on fewer days, your muscles need time to recover from the stress of exercise and to rebuild or increase mass and strength. If you are doing a pattern that only trains a few groups of muscles per day, you might want to change that pattern and the order. Also try to increase the rest between sets, or deload and decrease.

  • Sleep
    You need a good amount of sleep to get the best results. You should not be too exhausted from your day to day life, when you work out. 8 hours are a rough guideline, but this differs from person to person. Some people just need 6 hours to be fully rested, others need 10.

  • Nutrition
    Your muscles glycogen stores need to be full to bring maximum performance, watch what you eat and when. How you approach this depends on the diet you chose, eg: if you are on a low carb, high protein diet, you need to eat earlier as protein and fat take more time to be digested and stored as glycogen.

  • Variation I
    If you are on a 5x5 routine, drop some weights and do 3x15 or maybe AMRAP. If you are on a 3x15 routine, try 5x5.
    You should not do this forever, but trying something else certainly is worth a try, especially when you are stuck anyway.

  • Variation II
    Find a different exercise for the same muscle(groups), do it for some weeks instead.

  • Pause
    Extreme measurement, do nothing for a week or two. After that week deload and try to get to your old max (and above). Doing this helped me with a lot of my early plateaus, but I am not sure if it still works if you aren't a beginner.

tl;dr: Try to be creative; If you are stuck and your approach doesn't seem to work any longer, change it.

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