Breaking Weight Lifting Plateaus

Breaking Weight Lifting Plateaus

We’ve all been there – not being able to get past a certain amount of weight on a lift, feeling tired and fatigued, or just not looking forward to going into the gym. Even though it’s a shot at the ego, it’s something that can be fixed with a little thought and effort.

Let’s say you’re having trouble with your deadlift. For whatever reason, you’re stuck at one weight- we will use 315lbs as an example. You can do 300lbs with ease, but every time you see three plates on each side, you just can’t seem to get the bar off of the floor. You taper the weight down for a few weeks, and then try for 315 again with no luck. You become frustrated and begin to not look forward to deadlifting anymore. We’re mapping out a vicious cycle here, which will only make the lift that much less enjoyable for you. Here’s what to do next:

weight lifting plateau

Vary Your Lift

Step away from the bar, nice and slow! Good, now pick a different variation. I promise, this will help you in the long run both physically and mentally.

Figure Out the Stick Point

 Are you unable to get the weight off the floor, or do you get stuck halfway up? Depending on the case, work on doing deficit deadlifts or block pulls.

weight lifting plateau

Master Your Sticking Point

After you find out where your trouble spot is, crush it. Master the variation until you could lift the weight in your sleep. Work on accessories movements that target your weakness, as well. The point here is to make it your strength, instead.

If you’re having trouble thinking of different variations, here are a few for each lift.




Floor press

Spoto press

weight lifting plateau

Lock press


Front squat

High bar

Low bar





Block pull



Take-Home Message

New lifts create a new stimulus for the body, so that’s what we’re trying to go for here. If your body has adapted to lifting a certain amount of weight in a particular pattern, switch things up by doing a different variation of that lift for a training block. See what happens! You’re most likely to hit a new PR when you go back to your main movement.

Happy lifting!



Writer and expert

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