Every bodybuilder living has problems putting on muscle. If they didn’t, then we’d all be walking around as 800lb solid muscle ogres. And, it’s even more difficult if you lack experience and an understanding of the fundamental principles of muscle growth.
Hey – even seasoned lifters get the basics wrong sometimes; the key is in recognizing and putting it right.
What I’d like to do here is take you through some of the prime reasons why people don’t put muscle on. In fact, in ordinary health there are only 3 reasons why you’ll struggle to put muscle on – and you may be guilty of just one, maybe two, or all 3 of them.
Anyway, take a look at what I have to say, and then look at what you are doing and your regime. Then ask yourself: Am I making any of the following mistakes?
Not applying progressive resistance:
The only thing your muscles respond to is progressive resistance. If you fail to keep adding weight to the bar regularly, you’ll never get stronger. Yes – it’s perfectly possible to keep getting better and better at lifting the same weight, until you can lift it 500 times, but there is very little carryover into muscle growth from this. Your muscle fibres only grow when you give them a weight they can’t handle for very long.
So, keep giving them weights they can’t handle for very long.
In our keenness to pack on the muscle, we can sometimes take it too far and start to subscribe to the more is more notion. This is a mistake and will lead to overtraining. When you over train your body simply can’t recover and grow muscle, and if you persist in this state, you’ll begin to slide backwards and lose strength and muscle.
There are several ways in which a person can over train:
- Training too often: A typical, steroid-free trainee needn’t train any more than 3-5 days. Training more than this, you have to be careful.
- Training for too long: The optimum time for training is around 45 minutes to an hour. Any longer, and levels of cortisone begin to rise, which means muscle tissue can begin to deteriorate. Keep your sessions short and intense.
- Too much volume: All that is needed for muscle to grow is a thorough but intense workout to failure (or near failure) and then nutrients and rest. If you are hammering away doing set after set of high amounts of reps, you are likely doing too much. Go heavy enough to keep the reps and sets relatively short and aim to fatigue the muscles that way instead.
- Not enough rest: On your off days (or even the days you have finished training) you will get the best results and recover quickest if you rest. Your muscles need to repair and re-using them will hinder their recuperation. Not only that, but your nervous system needs time to recuperate, and physical activity will only serve to burn off calories you need to repair and grow.
Not eating enough:
You need to ensure you eat more calories than you burn, each and every day. On the days you train, and on the days you don’t. Doing so is the only way you will grow any muscle mass. If you find yourself not growing, you aren’t eating enough. Keep upping the amounts you eat week after week until the scales start moving upward to the tune of around 1lb a week.
You have got to make sure you eat a lot of protein (1g per lb of bodyweight) as well as a good amount of carbohydrates and fats.
Quite often, the symptoms of overtraining are the result of not enough nutrients, so make sure your diet is in check before tampering with your program.