I started lifting at the age of 18 (currently 20) . I was basically a skinny fat kid with little muscle and very weak. In the first year I only trained for 5 months which my strength went up fairly quickly as I went benching a single bar to benching 60 kilos for 1 rep and deadlifting 80 kilos for 1 rep and squating 90 for one rep.

After that I picked up calisthenics because the pandemic hit and I trained them for 3 months at the age of 19. In these 3 months I lost 9 kilos and went from 76 skinny fat to 66 kilos at 13% body fat. This year I went to a gym again when everything opened. I had to begin with a little lower weight , however I managed to get where I left after 3 months. Although that was good my progress seems to be so slow. It took me another 5 months this year to manage to do 12 solid reps at 60kg bench and to add 5 kg (65kg which i managed to do for 5 reps). My others lifts also haven't got very much up. Why is that?

I eat healthy and I eat around my maintenance calories and sometimes even more. My sleep is also good. So why my progress is that slow?

  • Without knowing anything about your training, we can’t begin to figure out why you might be stalling. What does a typical training week look like for you?
    – Thomas Markov
    Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 0:50
  • Well i generally split my days into upper/lower.Id start off with 2 warmup sets on my bench press then do another 4 to five sets withe the last one beign to failure.I then go to do some accessory work like cables and machines .Same with back id start with deadlift and then move to rows and do some accessories.Same with legs so you get the idea. Reps are beetween the 8 to 12 range and i generally hit 15 to 20 sets per week
    – Nick
    Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 7:40
  • @Nick that doesn't entirely answer the question. How many days to you train per week and what is the focus of each of those days? Are you only focussing on one body part per day? I.e. A chest day, leg day, back day? If so, are you only training each body part once per week? Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 12:09

2 Answers 2


If you're eating at maintenance calories, it's to be expected that you're only maintaining, rather than gaining strength.

There could be other factors, such as insufficient training volume or intensity, but you won't know whether your training is sufficient until you actually start eating enough to make gains. (And you'll be able to tell when you start eating more, because if your training is inadequate, then eating more will primarily cause you to gain fat, so your bodyweight will go up more than your strength levels.)


You should do some sets in a lower rep range

"From a science standpoint, there's actually not a lot that we know about muscle growth. One thing that we do know based on research and decades of anecdotal reports from bodybuilders is that rep ranges of about 8-12 reps per set seem to be the sweet spot for building muscle. Reps of 6 or less also seem to be best for building strength." (4)
enter image description here All your sets are in the hypertrophy range. If you want to increase strength you should do some sets in the strength rep range.

You could for instance do 2 sets of 5 reps followed by 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

For an even better spread across intensities you could use a reverse pyramid by taking weight off the bar in between sets. E.g 1st set: 4 reps, 2nd set: 8 reps, 3rd set: 12 reps. (1),(2)

Or you could alternate strength and hypertrophy days.

You may be doing too many sets

It sounds like you are doing 10 sets for chest each upper workout. Assuming you do this twice a week that is 20 sets. The common advice is 10-15 sets per muscle group per week.

It could be that you are not really pushing yourself in each set, making each set not very effective. You should use long rest periods: >= 3 minutes and be close to failure on each set.

Alternatively it could be that you are not able to recover from all this volume. Eating more should help with this.


(2) Reverse Pyramid Training with Greg O'Gallagher


(4) Rethink Your Rep Range

(5) Which Repetition Ranges Work Best?

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