Originally Posted by BendtheBar
One thing I will add, unless it's been stated already, is that it has become commonplace for guys to have a bad workout and think that signals trouble.
My personal opinion is that if you get to 3 workouts and you haven't made any progression, it's a good time to take a step back.
You might also just allow yourself a slump buster, or a day to go into the gym and do something different and fun, but taxing. When I used to hit bench press slumps I would go in and do 10x10 pushups or bench sessions just to take my mind off things and do something crazy. I only recommend this if you hit a slump but are feeling great physically.
Sometimes our fitness level can be there, but fatigue can be holding us back. This is the essence of dual factor training. If you feel snot bubbled (weak/tired) for multiple sessions you may have the strength to make progression, but your fatigue is holding you back. This is a good time for a deload.
"Dual factor training" isn't talked about much on forums but I think it's an important concept.
I think Bill Starr says for Madcow that you should go back 3-4 weeks if you hit 2-3 stall weeks running. Obviously, I hope I hit numerous PR's before that happens.