Have you been spending a lot of time in the gym only to be disappointed with your results?
Maybe your friend who started around the same time is further along and is moving some serious weight while you are struggling to keep up. While genetics definitely play a role in the gym there are also a number of factors that can lead you to fall short with your progress.
Check out the three areas mentioned below to see if they might be stealing your gains.
1 – You Aren’t Maximizing your Neuromuscular Potential
You probably have never heard of this before but don’t worry – neither had we until recently. You see, when exercising there are actually two different types of fatigue that can occur.
The first is muscular fatigue. You are probably familiar with this one as it occurs when the muscle gets tired out. Hopefully you’ve experienced this at some point or we really question what the hell you are doing when you are at the gym.
The other is neuromuscular fatigue and occurs when the nerve is tired out. This occurs when the signal dies out before the muscle can become fatigued.
The signal is basically the air that the muscle is receiving, so when neuromuscular fatigue occurs it’s basically the muscle suffocating.
An easy way to visualize this feeling is when you are in the gym and you do bench press or pull-ups and your forearms get tired first. Although it feels like you are working your targeted muscles (chest or back) you just “run out of gas” so to speak and you forearms are no longer able to support the weight.
If you are suffering from this you are going to want to get your Nitric Oxide levels to make sure blood is getting to the muscles as fast as possible.
Additionally you will want to strengthen the supporting muscles or even wear wrist wraps or use chalk to support your grip.
2 – Muscular Imbalance
This is actually extremely common given that most brahs tend to favor certain muscle groups over others (ahem, chest and arms).
As a result, you have a generation of bodybuilders who can bench press 225lbs but can barely bang out a few pull-ups. They can do weighted dips for reps yet they can only squat or deadlift 1x their bodyweight.
The truth is that over time your body will attempt to correct any muscle imbalances, making it hard to progress in those areas you really care about. Remember that although bench press focuses on using chest and triceps you still receive support from other muscles. Your lats form the base you are benching from and your biceps and forearms help support the weight.
As a result, if those muscles are not developed enough to provide the support then you simply won’t be able to lift the weight.
Your body will try to correct the imbalance by building muscle in that area but because you are not working the muscle directly this will be hard to achieve.
Compound exercises are great because it forces many different muscle groups to grow in order for the lift to keep increasing. If, for example, you have weak glutes your deadlift and squat will suffer.
Therefore once you identify it you can focus on exercises designed at strengthening this area so that you can continue to grow.
3 – Insufficient Rest
There are actually two types of rest that you need.
Rest between sets to give your body time to prepare for the next set or exercise as well as rest outside of the gym. Both of these are important and depending on your body you might require more of one or the other.
Some people need a solid 2-3 minutes rest between sets otherwise their lifts decline significantly while others only need about 30 seconds. If you are someone who needs a lot of rest time then you probably shouldn’t be on one of those high-volume programs.
The short rest time between sets isn’t giving you enough time to recover and therefore impeding your performance on the next set. If you find your strength drops off significantly in the 2nd and 3rd sets then you will want to give yourself more time.
You also want to give yourself plenty of time to rest outside of the gym. If you aren’t getting enough sleep then you aren’t giving your muscles enough time to repair, not to mention you are hurting your testosterone levels.
Make sure you are getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night so your body can recover.
One of the most common reasons guys aren’t building muscle, according to our research, is testosterone. This hormone plays a major role in muscle building. – You can read more about testosterone here.
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