9 Reasons You’re Not Getting Stronger
Strength training is one of those things that can change your body composition in a good way. It can change your body from being soft to being solid. It will help you with your posture, flexibility, and metabolism. With all these great benefits, it can be confusing to how to progress from beginning to intermediate to expert in strength training. There are many walls, or obstacles, that stand in your way on your muscle building journey. So let’s discuss about some of these walls and see if we can knock some down.
You’re Not Resting Enough
If you don’t let your muscles rest in between strength training days, your progress will stall. You need anywhere from 24hrs to 48hrs of rest in between each session. Strength training is literally tearing your muscles, so it needs some rest to repair itself. The good thing is your muscle repair itself stronger than it was before, hence the muscle growth. Sleep is also a crucial time, it is when the body does the most recovery. So it is very important for you to get your 8hrs of sleep.
You’re Not Eating Enough Calories
Dieting for weight loss, will also cause you to loose muscle. So it is important to keep up with the strength training while you are loosing weight so you can rebuild the muscle that is being lost. If you are not trying to loose weight but strictly want to gain muscle, then you need to eat in a calorie surplus. Your body needs energy, ie calories to repair the muscles that are being broken down during your workout. In order to know the amount of calories needed to gain muscle, you can use a fitness app and they will tell you how many calories you need to eat at your weight in order to gain muscles. It is not a exact science, you will have to do some trial and error but eating more food while maintaining or increasing your protein consumption will benefit your strength gain goals.
You’re Not Eating the Right Foods
If you are eating foods that are not healthy it will negatively affect your strength gain goals. When you eat lots of high sugar, processed foods, it will cause your blood sugar to spike and crash and you will not have good workouts. The high sugar foods will not be available for your muscles to use as energy, so you will not get the strength gains that you are looking for. You should be eating whole, unprocessed foods like whole wheat bread, fruits and vegetables, and lots of protein. Also eating healthy fats such as nuts, avocado, etc will be great energy that your muscles can use to grow. Eating healthy and at a surplus will give your muscles enough calories to repair itself, and you will have the proper amount of energy to have a good workout. But keep in mind eating at a surplus is strictly for those looking to gain weight, via muscle, not for those wanting to lose weight and tone up.
You’re Using Improper Form
If your form is not right you will wonder why you are not getting the gains that you want. Form is incredibly important to target the muscle that you are exercising and to make sure you don’t hurt your joints. If your form is bad, you may be exercising the right muscle but you will not be fully engaging the muscle, so the your muscle growth will not be maximized. When you are doing a exercise you should research the proper form and really pay attention to make sure you are not messing up while performing the exercise. Also you should exercise in front of a mirror so you can better monitor your form.
You’re Not Pushing Yourself Enough
You’ve been exercising for a month and you are seeing results, you want to continue with the same routine. After all if it’s not broke don’t fix it, right??? That is not correct. Your body quickly adjust to the exercise routine and then you stop seeing changes. Your body stops changing because it has gained all the muscle it needs to comfortably perform the exercise routine. In order to see more gains, you must increase the weights. If you feel like you are not ready to increase the weight, then you need to significantly increase your reps. The way to see gains is to push the muscle to failure, which means push the muscle until you cannot do another rep.
You’re Stuck in a Routine Rut
Doing the same exercise will cause your muscle to adjust and growth to stop. There are many simple ways to switch up your exercise routine. You can use heavier weights, increase your reps, give yourself less rest, do exercises at a different angle, etc. Those are a few simple ways to change up your exercise routine, or you can change up the whole routine and you will see gains that way.
You’re Doing the Wrong Number of Sets and Reps
The way you structure you workouts is important to see strength gains. You need to understand some basic things about weight lifting. When lifting heavy weight with low reps you will be build muscle size. When you lift lighter weight with high repetition you will build muscle endurance and more muscle definition. Heavy weight are weights that you can only lift for a maximum of 5 reps. You should lift those heavy weights for a minimum of 3 sets. If you are lifting weights that you can do 30 reps, you will not gain noticeable strength because the weights are not heavy enough and you are not working the body hard enough.
You’re Training Inconsistently
In order to see any muscle grow in a particular body part, you must work that muscle a minimum of 2x per week or a maximum of 3x per week. If you are working a muscle 1x per week you will not see significant strength gains. You can structure your workouts in many different ways, like 2 days out of the week upper body, and 2 days of the week lower body.
You’re Not Training All Your Muscle Groups Evenly
All muscle groups are balanced with other muscles. For example in the upper body muscle groups, the chest and triceps (push muscles) are balanced by the back and biceps (pull muscles). If you train the chest and triceps muscle hard but you don’t pay much attention to the back and biceps, you will limit the amount of gains you can get out of your chest and triceps. You will be over working your chest and triceps because the back and bicep support is not there. So you will limit your gains and set yourself up for injury.
Hopefully, these tweaks will help you break through your muscle building plateau and your fitness journey will be marked with lots of gains!!!