If you’re in the gym, putting in work, week after week and still not making significant muscle gains you may need to make some adjustments to your training routines.
Sometimes it’s a physical barrier or a lack of efficiency with your routine. And sometimes you place a psychological barrier that’s hindering progress.
If you’re not building muscle, even though you workout regularly, here’s five common problems you may need to fix.
Not Enough Volume
One of the more interesting obstacles to building muscle is the psychological barriers we place on ourselves. We have a tendency to define what we believe we can do, and we often underestimate what we’re capable of achieving.
In terms of training volume, are you stopping when you can’t do anymore because you’ve reached complete, and total muscle failure? Or are you stopping because you always stop at ten reps, or always call it a day at twelve sets?
You may be consistently stopping two reps, or two sets, short of muscle growth. Don’t be afraid to put in more work than normal, or to challenge what you believe you’re capable of doing.
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Not Using Full Range Of Motion
There’s usually a common theme for why someone isn’t using full range of motion on each exercise:
1) It’s harder, lol.
2) You have to use lighter weights, so it doesn’t look as impressive
Using a full range of motion often limits the amount of weight you’re able to move with each exercise. So, yeah, your ego kind of gets in the way.
Does it look super impressive to be using 15 pound dumbbells, when you know you can swing 40s? No, not really. But using a full range of motion incorporates more muscle fibers, and builds muscle mass more efficiently.
Not Using Strict Form
If you’re not using full range of motion, because you’re using too much weight, it likely means you’re also using poor form. Using poor form, doesn’t mean you’re not strong. Moving weight, is moving weight. If you can move 400 lbs, you’re one strong S.O.B.
The problem with poor form, as it relates to muscle growth, is it prevents muscle isolation. Take barbell curls for example. Some guys pack 150 lbs on the barbell and do some funky curls where they’re rocking back and forth.
They’re strong, but they’re not isolating their biceps when they do that. They’re using the back, shoulders, and core. If you want a specific muscle group to grow, you need to isolate it with proper form and prevent other muscle groups from helping.
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Not Enough Intensity
Intensity means different things to different people. For some, not having enough intensity means not training to failure. For others it means resting too long between sets, or not lifting heavy enough.
What most people will agree with, in regards to intensity, is getting out of your comfort zone. If you’re comfortable, and you don’t feel like you’re challenging yourself every time you step in a gym you need more intensity.
It’s the willingness to constantly challenge yourself, and your body, to adapt that spurs new muscle growth. If you continue to do the same routines, over and over and over, you’ll continue to get the same results.
Not Enough Rest
I wish it were as easy as training a specific muscle group everyday, to force them to grow, but our bodies don’t work that way. The false logic of “train biceps everyday” can actually disrupt the muscle recovery cycle and prevent new muscle growth.
Give each muscle group adequate recovery time between workout days, and design your routines to limit indirect work to a muscle group that was just under severe stress. If you work biceps on Monday, they would also receive indirect work with a back workout on Tuesday.
This indirect work would limit your bicep recovery, and influence your pulling strength on back exercises.
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