If your muscle gains seemed to have slowed down lately or maybe even stopped completely, then you are going to want to watch this video to see what you can do to reverse the course. Building muscle is not a linear process. There will be bumps along the way. That said, you should be able to see consistent progress in different areas as long as you aren’t making any of the big muscle gain mistakes I’m going to showcase for you here.
1. STRENGTH AND PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD
Let’s start with strength. We all know that strength training and progressive overload is one of the most important ways to build muscle. That said, it is a lot easier to add weight to the bar when you are first starting out and your neuromuscular system is rapidly adjusting to the stress than it is when you are a gym veteran and have exhausted all your newbie gains. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep trying to responsibly add weight when you can. You just may have to settle for the two and a half pound plates instead of the bigger plates to keep the gains coming, even if a little slow.
2. TOO NARROW FOCUS
Speaking of strength, you want to make sure that it alone has not become the sole obsession of your training. There are a lot more ways to build muscle than simply focusing on progressive overload in the form of added weight. Remember, you can overload a muscle by increasing the amount of tension applied to it, even if with lighter weight for longer periods of time. Interference is an uninformed excuse for those thinking strength is the only way. Athletes need to include different types of training stresses to their workouts, and as long as they have a correlation and aren’t completely different physical pursuits you will see faster results from doing so.
When it comes to nutrition, it is not uncommon for people to see a stall in their gains simply because they haven’t adjusted their nutrition to meet the demands of the muscle they added to their bodies earlier in their training pursuit. Remember, more muscle will require more nutrients to sustain it. The Rock and Jeff Cavaliere are not going to require the same amount of food and calories in a day. The old version of you and the newly muscled version of you won’t either. Make the adjustment if you want to see continued gains.
4. SLEEP AND RECOVERY
Next, never underestimate the value of sleep when it comes to building muscle. Perhaps more significantly than any other factor, it is here that your body recovers and repairs itself to allow muscle hypertrophy to occur. The gym is where you stimulate the process, sleeping is where you experience the benefits of it. Sleep habits can often times be interrupted due to stress or physical ailment and lead to the most sudden of all stoppages in your gains. Be alert to these and make the adjustments needed to restart the muscle gains that seemed to have stopped.
5. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Be sure that you have the right expectations for how much muscle you should be gaining from year to year. Again, the earlier you are in your training history the more muscle you should be building. With each new year of experience gained you will see a drop in the rate at which you add new lean mass. If you are educated on this then you won’t be deeming slow progress for no progress and the confusion will end.
6. LACK OF TRAINING INTENSITY
The next one requires that you honestly look yourself in the mirror and answer the following question: Are you training hard enough? If not, then you either have fallen victim to the volume is king misconception that is all too rampant these days or you simply don’t like to train with enough effort. Start. If you do, you will not only see faster gains but you will be able to save your joints from the accumulated stress that junk volume places on them, which is completely avoidable.
7. WEAK MIND MUSCLE CONNECTION
Finally, never overlook the value of mind muscle connected training. As mentioned earlier, focused tension is one of the three main ways to build muscle and is necessary particularly since the strength gains won’t come as quick the more experience that you gain in the gym. Try to make every contraction more meaningful instead of racking up the number of less meaningful reps and you will be rewarded.
If you are looking for a step by step plan for building muscle without the stalls that might occur from having either a bad plan or no plan at all, be sure to click on the link below and visit athleanx.com for all of the latest training programs used by today’s top athletes to build lean muscle and keep it.
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Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.