I want you to add more muscle this year. That is why I post exercise videos daily and send out a regular blog post each week. If you decide to use my services, that is great and if you don’t, I hope I’ve made a positive contribution to your journey on the road to a healthier you.
I’ve trained in my fair share of gyms over the years. Regardless of what gym I am in, I see people sabotaging potential muscle gains. They’re diligent day after day, they work hard, but they are doing it all wrong. I want that to change this year. Below, I’ve outlined some crucial mistakes I’ve witnessed in the gym first hand in 2017 and provided you with a much more effective alternative.
You need to place a sufficient amount of stress on your joints and soft tissue structures to help them grow. That means training heavy. Relatively speaking of course. However, when you train too heavy all the time, it places a tremendous impact on your joints, ligaments and tendons. This leads to injury and over-training, which inhibits your body’s ability to build muscle. You need to add some lighter days to your training where you are lifting in the 12 to 20 rep range. You will target different muscle fibres (slow twitch) that don’t get as much action, build new muscle, and you will give those over-stressed joints and soft tissue structures a much needed rest. Research shows more and more that lighter loads produce similar increases in muscle mass compared to heavier loads. That is how you stay in the game long term.
You are not training hard enough. I am not suggesting that you need to train to the point of physical and mental exhaustion, but if you’re frequently stopping 5 or 6 reps short of failure, then you’re just going through the motions. The reason your muscles grow is because you are giving them a challenge that is beyond their present capacity. If you’re not training hard enough, then you are not challenging your body beyond its present capacity. Hence your muscles have no reason to keep growing and getting stronger.
You perform WAY TOO MUCH cardio. People who are eager to get lean have a tendency to slave away on the treadmill for several hours a week. Initially, there won’t be much interference combining cardio and strength training sessions when adding muscle. If you are new to strength training, cardio can actually be beneficial for muscle growth, but as you get stronger and are lifting heavier and heavier loads, intense cardio sessions will effect your body’s ability to recover from your lifting sessions. This is a crucial mistake if you’re trying to gain muscle. Start by limiting the frequency, intensity, and duration of your cardio sessions. Limit steady state cardio to no more than three to four weekly bouts lasting 30 to 40 minutes at the absolute most. If you prefer to perform high-intensity interval training, shoot for 2 to 3 sessions a week at 20 minutes per. Any more than this is counterproductive.
You are skipping the basics. Basic compound movements (exercises that require more than one joint) such as bench presses, rows, squats and deadlift variations force several muscle groups to work together. Your body reacts to all this stress by having the anterior pituitary gland issue more growth hormone to compensate for that extra effort these movements require. This added stress leads to greater muscle gains. Isolation exercises (exercises that require only one joint) like chest flyes, biceps curls and leg extensions have their place, but they don’t provide the same growth hormone surge. Compound movements should be the foundation and make up a bare minimum of 60 percent of your exercises in any given session. Anything less and you are doing too many isolation movements.