3 Factors That Could Be Hindering Your Strength Gains

What's holding you back from moving forward?

Featured image credit: Chris Duffen

Let me get one thing straight, this isn’t a bodybuilding article. Instead, we’re going to relate to those of you who are few and far — powerlifters.

Bodybuilders, don’t be discouraged. You might learn a thing or two if you’re at a sticking point in making gains. Although a few of these points won’t be relatable to you, you could still learn.

You’ve been training your ass off, sticking to your diet and training plan as best you can, but the results have slowed down, or they’ve just been on a minimal scale. Not progressing at the rate you imagined for yourself can lead you to become despondent and in the end, give up altogether.

The strength game isn’t an overnight happening. This shizz takes time.

Many have the idea that making gains—be it hypertrophy or strength—is as easy as taking a dump. No, it’s not. Training for strength (and size) takes time, patience, and diligence. If you don’t have the last two, well, then you’ll probably resort to vitamin S, as in S for steroids. But we’re not pointing fingers here.

If you’re wondering what it is that’s keeping you from making progress toward your goals but don’t know what it is you’re supposed to be looking for, we got your back. Here’s a list of a few things that might be holding you back from moving forward.

1. Your Long Term Plan (or lack thereof)

When you were new to powerlifting (maybe you still are), you saw progress, week after week. You were enthusiastic and threw on more weight than you should’ve and yet, still managed to lift it. As time went on, your enthusiasm began to decrease and so did your progress. Your strength began plateauing and you couldn’t even lift the same weight you did the previous week. What went wrong? What did you do?

I’m willing to guess my left nut that you either threw on more weight or you did more reps with a slightly lighter weight. And how did that work out for you? Not too great, I’d imagine.

The thing about powerlifting is that you can’t just walk into the gym and free ball your training. That law might still apply to bodybuilding to some degree, but when it comes to powerlifting, you need to plan way ahead of time; numbers — sets, reps, weights, etc.

I plan my powerlifting routines in three-month cycles. I’ll take a few hours out of my day and create an excel spreadsheet detailing my numbers and exercises for the next three months.

Find out what it is that you want and plan ahead for it.

2. Where’s Your Coach?

This could probably be the most overlooked culprit in any sport where progress and growth are concerned. From strength sports to track & field events — if you don’t have a coach, don’t expect to reach your goals on effort alone. I’m not saying that effort won’t get you places, I’m saying that you need someone to help you direct that effort into something that will provide the best possible outcome for yourself and the time spent working toward it.

Why would you need a coach, though? For one, coaches see things from a different perspective than you do, which is from a mirror. Having a coach could help you break through plateaus because they are able to see things that you can’t.

Besides, all the best athletes in the world have coaches.

3. Your Nutritional Plan Sucks

This is actually a bigger issue that most people think it to be. Many think that since they’re doing powerlifting, they can eat pretty much whatever they want. That’s not true. In fact, that’s far from the truth. However, if you did decide that eating whatever you want works for you, then by all means, eat whatever you want to, just don’t expect great results.

Just like scheduling your training and planning ahead, your nutrition needs to be just as on point. Without proper fuel going into your body, your results will be what suffers at the end of the day.

Do your research, play around and see what works best for you and your goals, and see a sports nutritionist if you must.


There you have it. Of course, there are still a few other factors that could be at play, but these are just the three main points that should be considered upon.

If you enjoyed this article or wish to see more articles on powerlifting, let us know in the comments!

May we also suggest:

3 Simple Deadlift Warm Up Tips For A Bigger Deadlift

Mobility — The Unsung Hero of Progress

5 Tips to Build a Bulletproof Back

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