I've been steadily progressing with the Starting Strength program for a couple of months now. But my last two trips to the gym have been a disaster.

When I started the program I could only confidently squat 70kg now I can below parrallel squat 105kg 5x3, similar higher gains seen on my bench and deadlift. The last times I've been to the gym, I can't even do 3 reps on my first set of 107.5kg. My bench I've been stuck on 87.5kg for a week or so, I've been getting the first and second set done ok. But today I couldnt even complete the first set.

It's very demoralising because I havent ever gone back in my progress at the gym (I'm still a beginner so everything is new). I don't know how best to react and handle it, got any advice?

  • Rest. Nothing more than a light jog for a few days.
    – Eelvex
    Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 23:37
  • sounds like classic symptoms of overtraining, for which the remedy is time off, and making sure to get enough rest between workouts when you return. Commented Mar 27, 2011 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


It could be a number of factors:

  • Not enough sleep. 8 hours/night is the absolute minimum.
  • Not enough food. Seriously, you need to eat non stop. Possibly even GOMAD.
  • Bad technique. This is a very common cause of stalling, though if all your lifts are failing, this probably isn't the main issue. Still, posting some form check videos never hurts.
  • Doing too much. I've seen people upset at stalling quickly on Starting Strength, not realizing that the sports they do on off days, the 10km run on the weekend, and the 12 sets of sit-ups/bicep curls/skullcrushers after each workout are impacting their recovery.
  • Need a rest. A few days off with nothing more than light recovery exercises (stretching, yoga, easy jog) can help you come back strong.
  • Need a reset. If you can't make progress on a lift 3 times in a row, sometimes you need to drop the weight ~15% and work your way back up.
  • 1
    +1 for the last two comments. Dropping weight made me perform my exercises better. It's more important to do your excercises the right way, than throwing too heavy weights in the air and strain a muscle. Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 8:48
  • it worked, i had a little break and im back progressing on everything except my bench, but I dont think that is due to overtraining!
    – Moz
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 11:56

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