“Why am I not building muscle?”—have you ever asked that? Well, building muscle is easy…. If you’re a brand new beginner. Past the “newbie gains” stage, building muscle becomes disproportionately harder, especially as a natural. This is why many people, no matter how hard they work in the gym or how well they eat, just seem like they’re not making gains anymore. Unfortunately, you can’t brute force your way past this. Beyond basic fixes like “eat enough food” or “get enough sleep”, you not gaining muscle comes down to 1 reason. Here, I reveal what the no.1 reason why you’re not gaining muscle and how to build muscle by modifying your training to instantly make it far more effective at building muscle (i.e., winning tips to build muscle).
Click below to find a step by step program that uses science to help you build lean muscle and burn off fat:
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First, we have to understand how a muscle actually grows in order to take advantage of it. Historically, there were 3 mechanisms that everyone conceived as driving muscle growth. However, as more research was conducted over time, it became evident the science and reasoning behind some of these mechanisms was quite flawed. Unfortunately, most people, including many trainers, weren’t made aware of this. As a result, many people still train ineffectively, resulting in them not gaining muscle in the long-term. So what are these 3 mechanisms? And which of them are no longer reliable?
The first mechanism, muscle damage, represents actual damage, known as microtrauma, that training can cause to muscle cells. This damage causes a reactive inflammatory response in the body which can create muscle soreness, and in theory, causes the muscle to grow bigger in response. The second mechanism is called metabolic stress. This mechanism represents the chemical demands placed on your muscles during training. As you work harder and create more and more build up, your muscles become more acidic, creating a burning sensation in your muscles. The hormonal environment and swelling of the muscle caused by this is theorized to cause muscle growth. Thus, explaining the various tips you’ll see on “chasing the pump” to build muscle. The third and final mechanism is mechanical tension. This represents the tension that’s placed on your muscle as it lengthens and then contracts under load. Generally, the heavier the weights you lift and the greater the range of motion you use to lift them, the more mechanical tension is created.
All 3 mechanisms sound great on paper, but recent research has revealed that we’ve been undermining the importance of 1, way overestimated 1, and- well- were totally wrong about the other. Let’s start with muscle damage. As it turns out, research shows that although muscle damage and soreness will be a byproduct of hard training, trying to get more of it does not lead to more growth, and can in fact hinder it. As for metabolic stress, the available research on shorter rest periods, training to failure, and faster lifting tempos suggest that it simply doesn’t seem to be strongly correlated with hypertrophy. Finally, mechanical tension. This mechanism has withstood the test of time and recent research has only served to reiterate that it is the most important driver for muscle growth. So, if you’re not making gains, you’ll want to structure your workouts such that they maximize mechanical tension. There are 4 modifications you could use.
First, don’t prioritize ‘feeling’ like you made progress, prioritize ACTUALLY making progress. You can do this by sticking with the same exercises week to week and slowly adding more weight and reps to them as you get stronger. Second, rest with purpose. Although optimal rest time highly depends on how taxing the exercise is as well as your training status, a good recommendation is to spend at least 1.5-2 minutes of rest between sets for most of your exercises, with 3 minutes of rest being a good idea for heavy compound movements. Third, increasing mechanical tension is NOT just about going from point A to point B or how much weight you can lift. It’s about HOW you lift that weight from point A to point B. Pay attention to proper form rather than let your ego get the best of you. In addition to that, another thing explaining why you’re not gaining muscle is the lack of mind to muscle connection, so be sure to develop that.
Even if you feel stuck right now, thinking, “Why am I not building muscle?”, apply those 4 modifications to your workouts and you’ll very quickly notice the gains picking back up again. That’s the true power of science.