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Seems to be plateuing on Occam's Protocol - weight increase


My Day A#5 was (all until failure) :

Close gripped supinated pulldown - 65 kgs x 8 reps

Shoulder press on machine - 50 kgs x 7 reps

7 days later (in between on 3rd day there was Day B )

Day A#6:

Close gripped supinated pulldown - 70 kgs x 4.x reps

Shoulder press on machine - 50 kgs x 4.x reps

Fail to do 7 reps on both counts - I should have gone home after the first exercise, but stayed on for the 2nd one just to see. Ate a LOT, slept a LOT for next 1 week.

8 days later (in between on 3rd day there was Day B )

Day A#7:

Close gripped supinated pulldown - 70 kgs x 5.x reps

Shoulder press on machine - 50 kgs x 4.x reps

Fail on both counts again, although I realized that the pulldown 70 kgp was slightly less harder this time


1) Am I plateauing in strength gain/muscle development? I have gone up from 40 to 70 kg on pulldown in 2 months and really seen some good strength gain, feeling some more muscles in back, on arms, etc

2)Should I carry on to lift the same weights each week once, and keep trying to reach 7 reps until i get it, or

a) just go to 75 kg on the pulldown next day and do that to failure (maybe 3.x reps)


b) switch to any different exercise - say Yates Bent row in place of close-gripped pulldown

3) I am interested in knowing what goes on in mind of others on the forum "at failure"

For me literally, I feel someone put a hot white something inside my muscles, and they burn inside, and even after I slowly lower the weights my arms keep shaking a little bit. I can't seem to recover in 3 minutes (I know Tim says 3 minutes and then next exercise, but I always time my rest to 8 minutes - I am still exhausted and recovering from failure after 3 minutes). I want to find out if this is what failure feels like, or am I doing in wrongly and hence not triggering enough hormonal reactions to not build enough to go up by 5kg weight


The Best Answer

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In the world of powerlifting there is a very popular method known as the Conjugate Method. Sometimes when you increase your working weight constantly the main muscle groups can have Central Nervous System overload and you will see your lifts start to decline. This is one reason why competitive lifters will rarely lift in the high % of 1 rep maxes for more than 2 weeks. The way they train around this is to switch lifts to something that uses similar muscle groups but in a different way. Such as: If you want to increase your bench max you would do close grip presses or floor presses instead of bench. After a few weeks of that you would go back to your target exercise and you will notice a drastic increase in your lifting ability. If your diet and rest are spot on this could be the case. I would recommend (as you stated) switching to Yates rows, bent of rows or pullups for a week or two and then going back.

As for going to complete failure, if it isn't burning you aren't trying. You are doing it just fine. The rest period that Tim Ferriss prescribed would be about right for someone that has been in fitness for a long time. As you train not only your muscle strength and size increase but to a lesser extent so does your recovery abilities. You take the time you need and I think you will find that you will be rested sooner as time goes by. I hope this helps

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