I am 28 years old and have been working out for more than 10 years, suddenly I lost strength in all my lifts and am unable to progress for a year now.

My training routine is as follows

Monday: 5 sets of weighted pull ups, 5 sets of dragon flags

Wednesday: 5 sets of weighted dips, Iron cross on rings, 3 sets of Russian dips

Friday: 5 sets of weighted pistol squats, 1 set of single arm push ups, 3 sets of partial reps of harop curls

To give you an idea of how much strength I lost, I was able to do about 12 reps with ease in one arm push ups and now I can barely do 2, what is more, for a year now I am seeing no progress at all on any of my exercises and also I have gained a lot of fat and never in my entire life I have been fat, people used to make fun of me about how skinny I was, and me gaining fat came as a surprise.

Also, it's worth mentioning that this drop in physical fitness happened during the lockdown, I don't know if this has anything to do with it.

So I want to ask, what are the possible reasons something like this could happen? I realize it's hard to tell exactly what happened, but I am not looking for a specific answer but rather a list a reasons that could cause this.

  • Please fill in some info about your training routine and how it's changed over time. We can't really tell you what's wrong unless you tell us what you're doing.
    – Alec
    Jul 28 at 8:30
  • Is there a chance you're over training / under recovering? Have you excluded medical issues?
    – E.Aigle
    Jul 28 at 8:34
  • @E.Aigle I don't think it's overtraining, since I do very few sets per weak, however as you mentioned there could be medical issue. What are some medical conditions that affect your strength?
    – Kt hamil
    Jul 28 at 8:47
  • 3
    You're doing bodyweight exercises but gained a lot of fat, which makes bodyweight exercises a LOT harder since you're using weight. My first guess would be that you gained the covid 60lb(or however much), and now struggle to do bodyweight
    – Ace Cabbie
    Jul 28 at 13:33
  • 1
    @kt hamil actually it does. Think of your body as a 140lb weight you've been bench pressing, doing later pulldowns with, squats, etc. You can do 5x12 at 140lbs. Now suddenly someone has you try to bench press 200lbs, what will happen? You haven't lost strength, but you can't lift more than 2+3 times the new weight naturally. Now, doing 5 sets of 4 pushups isn't efficient, and you probably lost a couple reps over the year. Keep track of your body fat, weights used, and for bodyweight exercises use your actual bodyweight over time. This + diet +bare bones training caused lack of strength
    – Ace Cabbie
    Jul 28 at 15:40

@Ace Cabbie mentions in your comments that a lot of your perceived strength loss is simply because you are lifting more weight. You say that you have gained 15kgs of fat, which is fairly significant. Plugging your numbers into Strength Level's One Rep Max Calculator it looks like you lost roughly 9% of your strength. This is just a rough estimate of course, but it shows that you likely lost strength plus gained fat.

A quick look at your profile tells me you have two very young children. It is well documented that men who are expecting children have a large drop in testosterone and a increase in both estradiol and prolactin. This promotes weight gain and your hormone levels can take several years to normalize depending on how close you are to your children. The lockdown plus new kids are likely a large reason for why you are gaining fat for the first time in your life and experiencing strength loss. You will probably have to increase sets per week if you actually want to properly maintain from now on and dial in your food intake.

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