Increasing weight, stuck in same weights going on 2 years

(Denise) #1

I can’t say I haven’t progressed but maybe I need to have my pic taken so that other that have reached their body-building goals, and maybe closer to my age, can help me out here.

I know my nutrition plan now, by heart, but I need to be way, more progressive in my weights. I can see I’m in a rut. Except for the floor exercises I’ve adapted for my abs, and my walking 3-4 times a week, my weight training is near the same as when I started going on 2 years ago at the gym.

The main issue is I’ll get down in the dumps for up to 5 days, then when I go back to the gym I have to train with the same weight all over again. I mean I’ve still got the muscle but I still start with same old weight. I’m not pushing myself. I’ll tell you what I think bothers me is to look like I’m ready to fall over when I leave the gym, but those have been my best workout days and zero injuries, and the muscle I have gained is showing.

I know what to do to cover all the muscle groups, the only one I needed to know more about was the abs. I also don’t think I can got every day, with working one group, then another the next day. I think that unrealistic to think I will ever do that. Every other day is working but I don’t try the heavier weights.

Can someone encourage me or suggest maybe, how often to up the weights? Or at least try to, and remind me about when to move up, or how to when the next weight is too heavy (increments of 10 lbs on most pulley, and machines).

I think mostly, I need a trainer, lol, which I can’t afford :wink: Any feedback welcome, Denise

(Joey) #2

It sounds like you’ve got a fantastic exercise program underway… i.e., the one you actually implement. They are always the best.

Whether you’re pushing yourself enough is always an open question when it comes to training. When you are a bit sore - in what feels like a healthy “charlie horse” kind of way - that’s about the right amount of push.

Especially at our age, we do need to be extra thoughtful about not injuring ourselves. Having said that, unless you’ve got a prior tendon/joint injury to work around, it’s pretty hard to do damage by s-l-o-w-l-y lifting a weight, pulling on a band, or doing any kind of body weight exercise.

And finally, there is a definitive answer to this: Absolutely not. No one can tell you how often to increase your weights. That’s what your own unique body signals are for. And no one (not even a trainer) can truly detect what those signals are telling you.

The best advice anyone can provide to tell you when to “push” to the next weight/tension level is whether or not you are training “to failure.”

If you can do 10 slow reps of a strength training exercise WITHOUT being barely able to complete the last rep, then you might well benefit from a minor increase in weight or tension. Training to that point of “failure” - i.e., you just can’t manage to complete that last rep - is the telltale sign that you are “in the zone” for maximum strength training and muscle building.

If you don’t feel that way, you could increase minimally in increments until you DO get to that point next time. That’s the sweet spot, where the time and energy spent exercising is doing you the most good. It’s the most efficient.

It’s also the right balance between too much (injury risk) and not enough (easy, inefficient use of your work out time). Feeling that edge of failure is how your muscles signal to your brain that more growth resources are needed - and that’s how you build strength.

Being stuck on the same weights is not a problem (especially at our age) assuming we are giving ourselves a serious (“to-the edge-of-failure”) workout without injury. Your body doesn’t know anything about the numbers on the weights. It knows how seriously engaged those muscles feel to the brink of being unable to do even one more rep. That’s the ideal workout.

Best wishes. FWIW, it sure sounds like you’re doing GREAT!

p.s. - When it comes to strength training, the slower the better. It’s more about the “time under stress” (i.e., the period during which your muscles are under strain) than it is how many pounds you’re lifting.

E.g., I can do plenty of chin pull ups quickly. But I can barely do 2 when I do them v-e-r-y slowly (10 seconds up, 10 seconds down each rep for 20 seconds total time under stress). Same with push-ups, squats, etc. The slower the better as this is where the “burn” really enters and it’s far less about the particular weight involved.

I learned this stuff from reading about how professional athletes train. No doubt there are plenty of gym rats on this forum who likely have further researched and refined these ideas into their workouts and can correct anything I’m missing.

(Pete A) #3

Sounds like you’re doing great! The overall mental challenge is a big part of it for sure.

My only advice is don’t get “non active” Ever.

Be consistent and regular, you’ll get there!

(Denise) #4

Dang Joey, I’m not doing so bad after all! I can’t thank you enough for your reply, I’m saving it to remind me. I’ve gotten used to 12 reps, and it’s the last one that I’m barely able to do, I forget that but you brought it back to me. I’m usually quite tired and need that minute or so of resting between I do. I also go slow, sometimes I speed up a little but I can improve on that and do everything very slow like your 10 count, and when it gets to where I am not “barely” doing the last rep (it gets easy like the first reps) then I’ll try a little more weight.

Thank you again, excellent stuff and I know you’ve done your homework :wink: I still think I need to get a picture so maybe I can see the improvement because I’m such a sort of skinny pinny :wink: Patience right, patience and steady on. Today’s gym day so I will be practicing and take your words with me :wink:

(Denise) #5

Absolutely true, and one day at a time, I’ll be “pushing” for that consistency!! Thanks much Pete!! Fits in nice with what Joey gave me :wink:

(Joey) #6

A bit off on a tangent here, but you can use a simple metronome - either on your phone or from a music store. Set it to 60 beats per minute (1 second each beat) and count to 10 with it clicking for you.

On a far more advanced level, if you have an Android phone, I found a marvelous phone app I’ve been using for years that can be set up in a highly customizable way. It’s called Tabata Timer on the Google “Play store.”

I have it literally speak to me along with tocking metronome sounds throughout every one of my multiple strength workouts, cardio rowing, etc.

I set it up to count out loud the reps, at a speed of 1 second intervals for 10 seconds going up, 10 seconds going down, across 6 total reps which makes for 2 nonstop minutes of s-l-o-w relentless muscle stress during each exercise. There are 7 different exercises I’ve incorporated to engage various muscle groups.

And there are 3 broad programs I use each with 7 different exercises for different days - upper, lower, core - done every other day throughout each week. Daily rowing is set also for 15 minutes of nonstop cardio at various speeds, each speed maintained for 1 minute throughout. The Tabata Timer app keeps me right on pace both visually and aurally.

If you’re not on Android, there are likely iphone apps available, but I have no experience with them.

(Peter - Don't Fear the Fat ) #7

I’ve got 2 different approaches to feeling in a rut.

1/ I give it a break for a day.
2/ I join in with an online workout. I like Fitness Blender… (so many to choose from)

(Denise) #8

Thanks Joey, I have android, so I’ll add the app and try it out. It might be good for me to learn the timing a bit better than guessing as I go.

Loading it now, then I gotta head for the gym. Another thing is I am getting to do things faster, I realize after taking about it as I used to be at the gym longer. I need to stay there and not be in such a hurry to go do other things that can wait. Our gym is pretty busy and I have to get used to using whatever is still available which is almost always the weight-machines.

I have trouble with getting into free-weights so far because the real “muscled” folks sort of intimidate me a little. I’m much older, and much skinnier. The muscles I have are pretty shapely though, and they’ll keep improving with all of you here that help me along :wink: plus 2 friends I have down there that I will ask for help occasionally. But definitely all the great input I get here :wink:

(Joey) #9

Great - Tabata Timer is extremely customizable. But that can also make it a bit complex at first.

If you need assistance/tips, let me know as I can export my own personal setup files for importing to see examples. But of course they may not be the right sets of exercises for your needs.

Have a great workout! :weight_lifting_woman:

(Denise) #10

I am glad to hear it’s customizable as the sounds it makes are pretty loud for me, and maybe it will give more comfy sounds. The ticking is ok, but anyway, I’ll check it out more after gym and errands, :smiley:


I would just be food healthy at this stage.

Nothing to proove with exercise.

Enjoy life. x

(Shannon) #12

I totally empathize with this as I’m in a similar sort of rut. I’ve been working out pretty regularly for the better part of a year and a half, and I have barely moved much in adding weights. I hover around 12.5 to 15 lbs of hand weights at the gym, and sort of the same 70 lb range for like leg presses. I know my arms are stronger, I can feel it, but when I look at them, I just don’t see much definition.

I’ve thought about finding a workout buddy, where we could push each other, but sometimes that feels hard to do. I’d feel sort of weird putting something on NextDoor or a similar social app asking for a workout buddy. But, that’s a way to get a trainer like experience without the costs. Plus when I know someone is expecting me to join them, like we have a set date/time, it motivates me to keep the commitment, you know?

I’m considering getting a Dexa scan to get a baseline. There are private places that do that for not too much money.

I did pull the trigger on a subscription to MacroFactor in the hopes that I can align my eating with the calories I expend working out. I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks now, so I don’t know yet if it’s helping, but it might be.

In the end though, if I can keep this up, I’m hoping as I get into my later years that my body will hold out and I won’t be breaking hips or damaging my muscles by being sedentary. This is what has happened to my mom after she stopped working out in her early 70s. She’s having trouble even walking down a hall now because her muscles have atrophied so much.

(Karen) #13

Perhaps you need to do some before and after photos. Always helped my self esteem when i first got in to body building in the gym.

You have to ensure that you are eating enough of the right foods, you are never too old to see improvements. There are lots of fitness videos on fb or you tube. I am very clued up on what exercises to do but i never assume i know everything and enjoy watching the tips from personal trainers who themselves have achieved what i would like to achieve. Nothing is easy and muscles won’t grow if you don’t work them hard. One of my favourites on FB is Tara Garrison. She is straight to the point, very down to earth and talks through illustrating ways to work different muscles. She also has a fantastic strong body with amazIng arms and shoulders. I would highly recommend searching for her feeds on fb


Can’t remember if you’re tracking with an app or not, but that ones huge, Hevy is a good one, Strong is as well. Without them, most will forget either what they lifted, or how much was done last time.

Unlike many things we do where we “listen to our bodies”, weight lifting is one of the things where you have to know when to listen, but you have to also know when to give your body and your brain the middle finger and just do it anyways!

Progressive overload can happen more than one way. Either with weight or volume. Both need to happen, but sometimes it doesn’t. If you know you can bench 80lbs, and that’s all you’ve been doing workout after workout, you can either add a small amount to that, can be 5lbs, 2.5lbs, doesn’t matter. Do that, it’s very unlikely you can’t do that much of an increase vs last time. If you truly can’t, then do the weight you can do, but more reps. General rule is of you can’t progress twice (workouts) you can deload, usually 20% or so, and push more reps that way. Then come back next time and try to up it again. But knowing those last numbers is required.

Also why periodized programs are ideal. 1 week in the 12-15 rep range, next week 8-10reps, next week 5-8reps, next week 1-4 reps, rinse and repeat.

(Joey) #15

Two contrarian comments (sorry to be contrary :wink: )

Forget about aligning eating with calories “expended” during workouts. That’s the road to frustration without prospects for success. The body doesn’t work that way despite what we’ve been told a generation ago.

Exercise does many miracles for the body. Losing weight through exercise is simply not one of them. The caloric math just doesn’t work out that way unless you are starving yourself. And that would be a disaster for getting healthy and building strength, muscle and tone.

Instead, lose weight through a well-balanced carb-restricted diet. And then exercise for all those other benefits it brings.

When you’re young, this is great advice. As one ages, there are limits to what can be done without injury. No, it becomes eventually highly likely that you cannot increase the load vs. the last time. Thinking that you must do so else you’re somehow falling short is bad advice for the older folks.

Perhaps at some point you can increase a little further. Perhaps not. Older bodies can do a lot more than we think. But it’s not boundless.

Setting such expectations up for an older individual is ensuring inevitable disappointment, which invites them to give up on otherwise exceedingly healthy exercise.

It’s not about the weight you’re lifting. That’s a young man’s game.


Indeed. And if I am stuck, it means I can’t just make more reps. If I could, I would have. I am never stuck if I do my workouts diligently though. Even if my weekly volume is very low. I am improving slowly but that’s fine for me :wink:

I am pretty sure it’s one of them for some people (I am not sure it’s true for me yet but it probably helps). For others, exercise is just to avoid fat gain, that’s very common. Fat-loss depends more on eating but exercise may play a big role. My SO couldn’t lose fat without exercise except through starvation but exercise alone isn’t enough, he needs to eat less as well. And if he stops his exercise while eating normal, he immediately starts to gain. He can’t do low-carb but I doubt it would make a difference as it doesn’t do in my case either and low-carb suits me unlike him.
I still don’t do exercise for fat-loss, I do it for other, even more important reasons but I definitely hope it helps a tiny bit as it almost surely does. Part of it is gaining muscle :wink: Before I tried carnivore years ago I thought that maybe the only way for me to lose fat on keto is gaining muscle first… But it goes quite slowly… It’s good I am patient.


You’re not understanding what MacroFactor does, it’s not a (you burned X, so no you can eat X thing). MF adjusts to your TDEE based on what actually happens, not what it thinks you may or may not have burned. That’s the failing of the old school trackers.

(Bacon enough and time) #18

I don’t know about others here, but I’ve always had a weak upper body. Powerful legs, but no strength in my arms.

Despite years of effort, starting when they introduced formal gym classes into our schooling, I have never managed to do more than about eight push-ups or three pull-ups at a time. Never. Despite great efforts to improve. Weight training didn’t help, either.

So the moral is, there may be certain limits our body is not meant to pass. Despite the fact that we see others around us pass our limits with ease.

(Robin) #19

Push up? Pull ups? What are these things?

(Bacon enough and time) #20

It was so long ago, I barely remember, lol!