What if....

  • I feel like I am lifting the heaviest that I can but not really getting that sore?  I definately get sore on my leg days but my upper body just doesn't seem to be getting sore.  I can barely get those last reps done.  Just wondering if any others feel this way?


  • Are you completely sure you are lifting at your heaviest? I'm not trying to be patronizing; I only ask that because often what we can lift is more mental than physical. Forever I was certain I could only lift  at q certain weight until a colleague called me out on it and said I lifted like a girl. (Well, duh.) But he was right. He handed me weights without telling me and I lifted literally 50% more. I was embarrassed but I learned a good lesson. Many times our biggest barriers are the mental ones.

    That being said, if you feel like you are at your absolute heaviest weight -  try negative lifting. You lift the weight slowly, say a 2-3 count on the positive (concentric) portion of the lift but then reeeeaaaallly slow it down - 5-7 count  - for the negative (eccentric) portion of the exercise. You will really feel the muscle burn and this method is great for strength increases. Pretty soon you'll be lifting heavier than you thought you could. Good luck!

    BFL since 1999

  • Thanks for your reply!  Great advice on the negative lifting.  Will be trying that.  I did legs this morning and an awesome trainer at my gym pointed out that I was not going down far enough in my squates.  So thankful he stepped in and said something.  I do not want to waste any of my workouts.  I think the  negative lifting will be right on when it comes to my upper body on Monday.  


  • I highly recommend using a 2 count on positive and 4 count on negative regardless of whether you are stuck at a certain weight or not. Your muscles will fail at a later point in the eccentric so by placing the muscle under tension for twice the time during the lengthening you ensure complete muscle failure.

    You can also try forced reps for the 6 repetitions, they have been shown to greatly increased muscle involvement and the release of growth hormone. If you are not working out with a partner but are at the gym, look at the weight you had previously done and select one slightly higher, then just ask someone for a spot. Most people will help out with a smile on there face.

    Dont let a plateau stop you or hold you back, grab those heavier weights and push right through.

  • This was very helpful. I also feel as LDPower at times but will try to concentrate on the 2-4 count more in the coming weeks. Thanks for the question and insight!

  • As suggested above, you can experiment with time under load (TUL) to see what works best for you to fatigue the muscle.  Besides the 2/4 and 2-3/5-7 mentioned, some lifters actually hold for a count at the end of the positive phase, before starting the negative phase.  i.e. 2/2/4 etc.  Just remember when you're pushing through a plateau you still want to maintain near-perfect form, or you really won't be working the intended muscle as much.  Are you taking any supplements?  Some of them will decrease the burn effect and you tend to be able to do more lifting before it sets in.  I found it helpful to get a reference book on dumbbells to learn about these things... and the do's and don'ts to avoid injuries.

    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • I am not taking any supplements.  Just doing the shakes and eating right.  Can't wait till Monday to see how all this works.  Thanks!