Lack of progress on one group
First, I have to say I love how responsive and interested everyone is on this forum- it's great! I hope that I'll be able to bring more knowledge here once I get all of my own questions out of the way.
Anyway, I've been eating well and following a Body by Science type workout since late December. I've made great progress both in terms of losing fat and consistently improving my workouts. However, for about a month, I've been stalling on one exercise. I'm doing a BBS style workout once a week (I've recently added sprints as well on a different day), with a seated row, then overhead press, pullover, bench press, and leg press. The last few weeks, I can't make any progress on the bench press (with a nautilus machine). I can't figure out why. It seems like my left side is weaker than my right. I've been making good progress on everything else, so I doubt that it's undereating, although I've considered that. Perhaps I should switch the bench press for something else? thoughts?
I ran into a similiar problem. I found doing four upper body exercises I was fatiguing some of the muscles and that would screw up the results on the next routine. I improved when I went to one "pull" and one "push" upper body exercise per week.
Tomorrow, I'm starting a new set of routines and I'll only do one upper body and a leg press per week.
Thanks, Vick. Which did you end up using? I am still making good progress on the pull types, and I'd be hesitant to drop the pullover since I feel like it targets my core best, but the row is best for my actual "pull" muscles. Should I drop the bench? I wonder if that would mean losing impact on my chest muscles, but on the other hand, the bench isn't improving. Also, do you do sprints at all in addition to BBS?
go to a chiro - sometimes your signals aren't getting to your extremities equally.... helped me out a lot.
One week I did the high row and and chest press. The next week I did the low row and the shoulder press.
Over the winter I sprinted on a stationary bike. 4 x 30 second sprints with a 2 minute rest in between. I do some sprinting outside but I don't lose any sleep if I don't get out.
Starting tomorrow I'll do the shoulder press only. Then next week the pulldown only. I figure I'll see better gains only because I saw such great gains with the leg press and it was the onl lower body exercise I did.
I would not drop the bench press but I'd cycle it in and out. If you are like me you are putting the tricep into fatigue and then it isn't "there" to do the benchpress.
I don't know what a Nautilus press machine is, but I'll assume it's similar to a Smith machine, which is not as effective as using a free-weight barbell, because you don't have to stabilize it at all; all you have to do is press it up, and the machine does all the stabilizing for you.
I strongly suggest you give a free-weight barbell a whirl. Cut way, way back on the weight, like, to a half. OR, even better, do presses with two dumbbells, which requires even more stabilizing. Plus, this guarantees that your strong arm isn't picking up the slack for your weak arm. Do that for a couple of weeks and then go back to your press machine, and see what happens.
Ditch the machine for bench pressing. And start using free weights. However, without the machine doing some of the work for you you'll have to lower the weight. And once you start to stall with a genuine barbell bench press than switch to DB benches (it worked for me).
A Nautilus machine has a cam in it. This adjusts the "weight" of the load as your full range rep passes through various areas of levereaged advantage and disadvantage. This creates a more even loading because it takes away the advantage of leverage.
I disagree with ditching the machine. I've used both machines and free weights. The primary purpose of resistance training is to cause inroad thus creating the stimulus for muscle growth. If you work to the point of near fatigue the body will naturally recruit neightbouring muscles to assist with the lift. This is known as the Sherrington Law.
Many trainers will tell you that free weights are better for you because you gain more functional strength. You have to recruit more muscles for stabilization. This is more of an application in synaptic facilitation. Synaptic facilitation strengthens the nervous impulses which creates a more efficient use of your muscles. That creates more strength, but primarily in the particular movement you are doing.
The other point to consider is once you have fatigued certain smaller muscles in you first exercise routine they can't perform correctly in the next. That reduces the resistance or time under load. This then prevents the sequentitial recruitment of the various muscle fibres. Without complete recruitment there is little or no stimulus for the muscles to grow. Most of strength gains will occur through synaptic facilitation, however once you reach a certain level of efficiency you hit a plateau.
The important thing is to do what you enjoy and it keeps you coming back. The second is to experiment but as we get stronger and apply more resistance we need to allow more time for the inroading to heal and the body to adapt.
Thanks for the tips Vick. I wonder if I haven't been eating enough, since I don't get hungry often eating primal. My plan is to really up the fat/protein intake this week, and if I still can't make progress come lifting on Thursday, I'll drop the second pull exercise and rotate it instead, and see how that works out.
Don't make a big deal out of increasing the protein. Here is a summary of a study on "How much Protein can Muscles use?"