3 MAJOR Reasons You Aren’t Seeing Progress in The Gym

I’m not a big fan of the phrase “I’m plateaued” when it comes to all things lifting.

Mostly because I can almost guarantee you’re not actually plateaued.

It takes years upon years of consistent high level training before a legitimate training plateau could become an issue for an athlete. For most, however, this is just a throwaway excuse to disclude themselves from taking personal responsibility for their lack of progress.

Just saying “I’m plateaued” implies there’s no solution to your lacking progress which there almost always is.

With that in mind here’s the 3 major reasons a lifter won’t be happy with the progress they are seeing in the gym.

1. Lack of Consistency

Easily the number one reason you’re disgruntled with your lack of gains is the consistency just isn’t there.

I don’t care if you absolutely smashed your session yesterday, hit a bunch of PRs, completely exhausted yourself, if you aren’t doing anything for the following 6 days, don’t expect much to happen.

Training progress is not an on/off thing. It’s something you slowly build up overtime with all of your previous progress serving as the base for future progress. Let that base disintegrate in the form of taking weeks at a time off from the gym and you’ll just be starting all over from the bottom again.

Past the beginner phase of training, progress becomes a game of frequency and consistency. You don’t need to come into the gym for every session hyped up like this is USPA Nationals. You just need to show up and be a little bit better than you were last time.

If you are consistently showing up to the gym each day your next question is are you consistently doing those things which will support your hard work in the gym?

Are you consistently getting enough sleep, eating the right things, managing stress levels? This consistency across the board in your life is what will in turn drive your overall progress.

2. Your Training isn’t Designed for YOU 

There are no “one size fits all” answers when it comes to training. Programming which works for one lifter might not work at all for another and that’s fine.

Just because certain programming is “the most popular” or it’s been deemed “the best” does not guarantee it’s efficiency in relation to you. Maybe the programming is fantastic for the vast majority of lifters, but your body doesn’t respond to it at all. That’s Okay!

If you have diligently run through a program front to back and weren’t happy with the results…switch to a different style of training.

Maybe your body needs higher frequency, maybe you need higher intensity, maybe you respond to high volume best, maybe you only need a handful of quality sets. Whatever it may be you won’t know until you try these different styles.

The key here is that you aren’t jumping from program to program every other week. You will not know the true effects a certain style of training has on you until you’ve run it all the way through. Don’t give up in the first two weeks because you aren’t seeing “insta-progress”. Run it all the way through, track your progress, and compare it to your previous training history to make informed decisions on what kind of training works best for you.

3. You’re Comparing Yourself to Everyone Else

Maybe you are seeing progress. But maybe you’re also so lost in the sauce of everything else that’s going on on social media that you don’t actually “see” your progress.

One of the most common things to happen in the gym is a lifter will hit a PR…be happy for exactly half a second…and then make a comment along the lines of  “yeah but *insert any internet famous lifter* could lift 3x this much*“. This is how you effectively kill progress for yourself for the rest of your life. The fact is, you will never be content with your rate of progress be it how strong you are getting, how big you are getting, how shredded you are getting, etc., if it’s always in relation to other people.

Your training progress should always be put into relation to YOU and where YOU were yesterday. Nothing else matters. This leaves you with a very objective mark to beat. Were you better today than you were yesterday?


Matt Molloy

Matt Molloy

I'm a graduate the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Exercise Science. I’m a local guy (North Penn) and athletics has dominated my life. I've led teams in basketball, baseball, soccer, golf and my passion, long distance running. I've been strength training for 6 years with a focus in power-lifting but have recently stretched to strongman since joining the pride here at the Den. When I’m not in the gym I enjoy, spending time with my friends, music, and relaxing and playing some video games.