If there’s one thing that holds true over the last few years is this. Either I’m getting stronger or I’m getting weaker. There is no maintenance.
I noticed, for example, if I deadlift a barbell that weighs 145 pounds, and then I keep lifting that 145 pounds with the same set and rep range, that 145 will begin to feel heavier than it did in the beginning. That has led me to believe that there is no real maintenance of strength. The body must be continually be challenged otherwise it starts to get weaker.
So what do I do to make sure my body keeps getting challenged. Well, let me use the 145 pound deadlift as an example. If I was doing 3 sets of 7, then I would mix it up when ever I felt like it. In this case I would choose week three. In week three I would add ten pounds on the third set, and even if I only get 5 reps instead of the 7, the weight is heavier and will challenge my body.
Or maybe I take the same 145 and instead of doing 3 sets, I do 4 or 5. Another option is on the third and final set, I keep going until just before failure. That could easily be 13 reps. The next time I do the deadlifts, which will most likely be in a week, I will go back to the same 145 for 3 sets of 7. This is how I believe maintaining strength works. Do a little more than usual once in while to challenge the body. Every 3rd week seems to work best for me, but everyone is different.