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3 Reasons You Aren't Making Gains

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3 Reasons You Aren't Making Gains

3 Reasons Why You Aren't Making Gains

 

You got bit by the fitness bug. Your first year of lifting weights has been life changing. You've been watching your body change month to month and it's been the fuel to keep pushing you forward. Woefully, I have to inform you that the first year of magical gains does not go on forever. Every year it gets harder and harder to make strength gains and put on muscle. I'm not here to discuss which training style is best because I'll let you in on a little secret...all training styles work...up until a certain point. Then it's the job of the athlete to recognize when a program has plateaued and how are they are going to change it. I'm here to discuss some fundamentals you can apply to your training during any phase to get the most benefit. I've been in a gym for the past 15 years of my life and I started to notice a trend of the people who come to gym, are in decent shape, but never really progress. Hell, I was one of those people for a long time. I'd like to share those observations so you can keep the gains coming and become the juggernaut you were meant to be. 

1.) TOO MUCH TALKY TALKY - This is easily my first choice because people don't realize how much this spoils your gains. To truly train for muscle size, rest periods must be kept short. A high amount of tension on a muscle in a short period of time is essential for your muscle to grow past that 1 year phase. In order for muscle size to be capitalized during the session, rest periods must be kept to 30-90 seconds. That's a difficult feat to pull off when you are having a 3-5 minute conversation with the bros between most sets. Put your headphones in, nod your head to say whats up, and continue on with your workout. Ain't nobody got time for that and these muscles won't grow themselves. 

 

2.) TOO MUCH SMOKE AND MIRRORS - You might have already taken it upon yourself to look up some new techniques to grow muscle. Now you have entered the world of drop sets, forced reps, bands, chains, myo reps, rest pause, and it goes on and on. These are great and they do work, but like anything else, only up until a certain point. You try them out and you feel the difference in your workout. Eureka! The natural thing to do is now do those things AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, but the logical thing to do is actually put these techniques in your workouts sparingly. Every set in the gym should not be a rest/pause - drop set - superset from hell. This is the equivalent to having a piece of bread that you want lightly toasted, but then throwing into a pizza oven for 5 minutes. You want to stimulate, not annihilate your muscle. That amount of volume far exceeds what the muscle is accustomed to in a normal workout. So much so, that it damages the muscle fiber and it won't properly rest, recover, and grow. Stick to 1 method per workout and don't do it for more than 3-4 sets total. 20 drops sets is not going to do more for you than 3-4 drops sets. 

3.) TOO MUCH SQUEEZE - There is a time and place for heavy weight. Typically it's the first exercise of the workout because thats when your joints are fresh and your muscles will perform their strongest. And when I say "Heavy Weight", I mean rep ranges from 3-8 reps. Not your 1 Rep Max. I see it all the time. Step up to the bench, work up to your one rep max, and then go to a bunch of exercises in the 15-30 rep range that really squeeze the muscle. That might sound good in theory. Heavy compound lift first and then move onto accessory movements to isolate, which is correct, but instead of going up to your 1 rep max every time, dare I suggest you lighten the weight a tad and go for a heavy triple rep for 3 sets instead of a 1 rep max for 1 set? That heavy triple is more beneficial to your gains because it places more tension on your muscle and it sends a signal strong enough to your nervous system to initiate muscle growth. More importantly, track the weight for your heavy triple and try to beat it marginally next week. Remember you must grow muscle first in order to squeeze it. What I see today is a lot of damage of the joints from 1 rep maxes and then no muscle growth because your accessory movements are too light to stimulate the nervous system. Focus more on the progressive overload of your compound movements and less on exercises that you feel a "squeeze" from. Tension, isolation, and mind-muscle connection are important pieces of the puzzle, but don't really compare to the benefits of progressive overloading heavy compound movements. It's best to do both with your main emphasis going to heavy compound movements. 


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