Mar 2010 11
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Next week, my good friend Dr. Kareem Samhouri is releasing his entire system, Double Edged Fat Loss which I prefer to call More Signal More Muscle.

After reading this, leave your comments for Dr. K and I and we’ll sort you out.

The Top 3 Reasons Your Muscle Isn’t Growing Faster

by Dr. Kareem F. Samhouri, CSCS, HFS

Metabolic Fat Loss & Strength Expert


  1. You haven’t reached your neuromuscular potential
  2. You’re imbalanced
  3. You aren’t resting properly

At least 2 of these 3 reasons are stopping 99% of people who are strength training from gaining 60-70% of the muscle they can gain.  If you want to be a hard-gainer, you need to fix these issues right away.

Let’s go through each one of these points in greater detail.

You Haven’t Reached Your Neuromuscular Potential:


I know, weird word, hard to pronounce, probably unnecessary :-)

Basically, I’m referring to your ability to send an effective nerve signal from your brain all the way to your muscle.  There are 2 main kinds of fatigue that can take place when you’re exercising:

1)  Muscular fatigue (muscle gets tired first)

2)  Neuromuscular fatigue (nerve gets tired first)

  • Muscular fatigue happens when you get enough signal strength to your muscle, it contracts like crazy, and it eventually wears out. This happens all the time when you exercise, but it’s probably only happening to SOME of your muscle fibers (part of your muscle).
  • Neuromuscular fatigue happens when the signal dies before the muscle should become exhausted.  Electricity is air for a muscle, so it’s basically suffocating.

The easiest way to think about when you’ve experienced this is to think of when you’re doing bench press and your forearms get tired first.  You’re squeezing all the nerve signal you can out, and you’re firing every muscle in the area… you just run out of air.

You’re Imbalanced:


  • Do you have bigger biceps than triceps?
  • Can you bench 225 but only do a few pull ups?
  • How about Deadlifts?  Do you squat more than you deadlift?

Don’t worry – I used to be in the same boat.  It works, at least for awhile. While I was working Olympic athletes in Miami, I learned very quickly how BIG of a deal muscle imbalances are.  In an Olympian who regularly gives 110%, the injuries just show up faster… and they stop getting better at their sports.  Obviously, this is a red flag.

It’s a little harder if you don’t have a team of medical professionals constantly evaluating you.  That’s why you need a sound exercise program that considers muscle balancing.  Your injuries may take months or years to show up, so its easy to forget about avoiding them.  The only thing is that they may eventually stop you from ever being big again.

I’d hate to see that…

Did you know that if you just worked on biceps curls for the next 6 months, and you never did any tri’s, you would start to lose muscle in your biceps?

Your body will correct this imbalance.  It needs to.  Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time until it breaks down.  I don’t want this for you, and I know you don’t either.

There’s a faster way to bigger biceps, and I’m going to talk to you about this tomorrow.

Here are the top 2 things wrong with isolation exercises common to most bodybuilding programs:

1)  It’s almost impossible to choose 2 opposite exercises that match exactly.  Bench press and lat pull are not equals.  Biceps curls & skull crushers are also not equal.

2)  Isolation exercises are open-chain exercises (non weight-bearing), so they lead to tons of torque in your joints and often lock up joints, which decreases range of motion and prevents you from fully elongating and shortening your muscle the next time you workout.

You Aren’t Resting Properly:

There are 2 types of rest:

Active Rest – keep moving, work another body part

Passive Rest – do nothing, just chill

A good strength program incorporates both.  The key is to recover somewhat during a giant set, while allowing passive rest to take place afterwards.  This way, you can tax all 3 energy systems (ATP-PC, Anaerobic, & Aerobic), recover completely and be ready to kill it on the following set.

While it’s important to expend as much energy as possible on a particular muscle when you want it grow, it’s also important to raise your overall exercise tolerance.  By training to raise your Lactate Threshold, or anaerobic capacity, you’re increasing your tolerance to intense sets, and you’re investing in your future workouts.

A lot of people get this far… but which exercises should you do and how should they be sequenced?

Stay tuned, because tomorrow I’ll be back with some real-life examples of strength sets that incorporate both active and passive rest to recruit as much muscle as possible, raise your anaerobic capacity, and allow you to get more work done in less time.

Hope you enjoyed!

Please leave your comments below…


  1. Rhinoplasty says:

    My brother also have same problem he is do all exercise which is needed for muscles building but it doesn't growing. After reading this information I have found that what reasons behind this problem are responsible.

  2. Carlos Bonilla says:

    Very interesting dDoctor K….and true..THANKS!!!!!!!! now i will always think in that while working out……
    ive already heard about u Doctor K with the unusual exercises to six pack abs… with plyometric squats.. all that exercises COOL!!………. thanks

  3. Chua says:

    heys vince, this question has been in my head for a long time but quite haven't answer it completely.
    By not taking supplements (protein powder) are we still able to develop muscles?
    To me, i feel that it is a necessity to take them since my family's daily protein intake is insufficient i presume.
    So, do u recommend me to get supplements? Prograde right as u recommend? If not, i feel as if my gym workouts are very unproductive. help thanks.

  4. Ghis says:

    Hi and many thanks to both of you, for your continuous help, but could you give me some technical practice help as I'm beginner and would like to work specially abdominal muscles and loose fat abominal and insight, and also as woman do not want to look as Hulk ;-).
    Best regards

  5. Antanas says:

    Thanks Vince and Dr. KS. This was a really nice article and I totally understand why you wouldn't gain muscle if you aren't doing these things. And to the people who are negaitve, just don't read this if you don't like it. Don't forget that there really isnt many people who would write and give advice for free.


  6. mohammed ismail says:

    Wht do u mean by isolation programmes
    Do u mean like u do chest workout in a day and then the next back then the next shoulders
    A muscle workout per day or what !?

  7. ryan says:

    i don't get why all guys expect Vince to tell u every little detail for your workout .thats why u should bye his books thats where all the info u want is.u have to remember these r only guidelines to what u should do hes not going to tell u all u need to know.(HOW WILL HE SELL HIS BOOKS?)and maybe hes telling u where hes been or going to motivate u to show u how far hes come and how far u could go.remember he was once where all u guys r .all Vince wants to do is help u change your life like he did for himself so i think u should all get off his back .i for 1 think he does a great job.keep the good work up VINCE..

  8. AusTrainer says:

    Strength and growth are 2 different things so my advice for strength is:
    Strength training for abs is the same as any other muscle group – high weight, low reps and a time under tension of around 20 seconds per set. Work on improving a training variable each workout (reps, weight, rest time, angle etc) So do ab exercise(s) that requires resistance and the resistance can be increased. You can find videos of these online.
    Weighted cable crunches (from high pulley)
    Weighted lying leg raises (dumbbell or weight plate between feet)
    Hanging knee/leg raises or leg raises on a station or machine (weight held between feet)
    Stability ball crunches holding a medicine ball, plate or dumbbell
    Remember as you are only 14 don't try anything too heavy.
    Also relating to the topic of muscle imbalances, you're aiming for big imbalances if you only train abs, chest, biceps and triceps, as the majority of all the muscles in the human body are in the legs and back. Don't neglect legs and back!

  9. AusTrainer says:

    If you're doing a muscle gain program then it is fairly likely you will gain some fat with the muscle, so even if you train your abs to grow bigger the extra fat will make it look like there is no difference. So you could grow your abs with some resistance exercises (which I'll list next post) and then you could change your program into a cutting phase.

  10. AusTrainer says:

    Reply to Shadi:
    First I doubt you're eating as healthy as you could be. I used to think I was eating healthy until I learned the truth about food and realised what is marketed as healthy is mostly lies. The only liquids you drink should be raw unpasteurized milk, spring/bottled water (always chilled) and organic green tea.
    14 is young to be training, your body is still growing and developing and you need to be careful about your exercise program, which is why I'm hesitant to advise anything. I have no idea what your program is and if it's a muscle building program or a fat loss program. It sounds like you want to get your abs to pop out which suggests a muscle gain program. But have you considered the other option of lowering your body fat to reveal your abs? This is an easier option for some people. Also I don't know enough about you – maybe you are overtraining or not getting enough sleep? Contt. next post…

  11. Jude Pachamuthu says:

    Thanks Dr K and Vince. Interesting articles. Please keep them coming. I am turning 45 this year and I am finding it hard to gain size and yes the 6 pack too. I have tried some of your cardio and its working. I have lost alot of fat…. but still along way to go.

    Thanks for all your articles and videos.

    Jude Pachamuthu

  12. CLAYTON says:

    Hey Vince,Dr.K, loved the blog, it just goes to show there is still a mountian of informatian to learn about our bodies. Cant wait to keep learning !! Cheers lads. P.s Vince like hearing about your adventures outside fittness!!!

  13. shoaib says:

    i have been working out for a while and do as hardcore exercise as anyone can but my six pacs are not showing i dont lot of lower body just os u know.

  14. Amithab says:

    Dr K,
    I just gotta say
    Ur workouts kill me nearly everyday
    With the limited equipment @ my office gym
    It's accomplished a lot for a guy that's now thin
    Just a few problems lurking about
    It's my tummy, Dr K, it always sticks out!?

  15. Paul says:

    Vince you would reach more people if you focused on the average guy who needs good advice to shed some extra pounds and build a healthy body. Not everyone wants to put in the time and effort to get ripped. Your thoughts seem to be the six pack or nothing. I dont give a crap about a six pack. I'm not going to quit my day job and walk around on a stage in my underwear and flex my muscle. Cut the crap Im not interested in cutting my body fat low enough so I can see my abs. Not everyone thinks a six pack is the most important thing in the entire world! Just being fit, have a goal weight and feel good should be the basis of a program.

  16. Joe Meazell says:

    This is a very good source of information to learn about.
    Look forward to learning more.


  17. Armando Mendez says:

    Hi Vince,

    You mentioned "Active Rest – keep moving, work another body part" and "Passive Rest – do nothing, just chill". This made me think of a special kind of massages that you talked about in the past, for weight lifters. I would like to find them in my area, SoCal, could you please give me the correct name for them and maybe a website.
    Thank you for your time.
    Armando Mendez

  18. cody m says:

    is it a good idea to do 500 sit ups for one day per week and do 250 for everyday of the week

  19. Sat says:

    looking forward to reading more tomorrow.. think i'm defrinitely suffering from muscle imbalances lol

  20. i have gone from 132 – 162 the last 5-6 months. in my 6 ft frame im still skinny ish. After reading ppls comments i realize I gotta work on my forearms too. I need to start putting on 4 pounds a month. oh yeah i got 2 more days left in my 7 days of rest. nothing but basketball and resting.

  21. Brian Galante says:

    What are your thoughts on the shutting down of the muscle's fuel system, when lactic acid build up and begins to interfere with the muscle's ability to keep receiving fuel? I know that lactate threshold training builds the body's ability to clear lactic acid from the muscle more efficiently, but it only improves the process a bit. There's no real solution unless your time under tension is kept on the low end. Does this line of thinking have merit, as well?

    Thanks for any insight that you can give.

  22. Akbar says:

    thanks for the extra info, really helps and good to know. (Y)

  23. Carmen says:

    Thanks Vince!

  24. Jonathan H says:

    What kind of rest areyou talking about. I "rest" between sets and then take enough sleep for a couple of days after na intense workout, but what else do you mean.

  25. BrianB says:

    Are both of these types of fatigue good for muscle Growth? I think you're saying they are each a good thing. So do i want to hit muscular or near that on each set, and neuromuscular fatigue by the end of the final set? I'm guessing you'll address these questions in tomorrows artical.

  26. giovanni says:

    yeah how exactly do you reach your neuromuscular potential?


  27. Jeff says:

    Waiting on some meat – all we get is filler. So far everything I've read from Vince (without paying for it) is just telling us what's wrong but not how to fix it – very frustrating.

  28. Shadi says:

    I've been told that sit ups and crunches only help muscular endurance and that won't give you abs. If that's true, then what exercises will train the muscular strength of you're abs? Also I've been eating healthy and have been working out for 4 months now, but I don't see significant results. I'm training my entire body, but focusing more on my upper body (abs, chest, biceps and triceps). I'm trying to go for a lean body right now and hope to achieve abs. I'm only 14 years old, but this a very big goal of mine. Please help, it would be greatly appreciated.

  29. MillerTime says:

    Hey colin…. If you don't like hearing about vince, THEN DONT READ HIS BLOG.

    He can say what ever he wants. And personally i like hearing about all the stuff Vince talks about.

    so speak for yourself and not for everyone else you idiot

  30. Scott says:

    Hi, thanks for all the tips and advice. Personally, I feel i have a good physique, but would like to focus on a little more "size" building. I have pretty good strength, and muscle, but like vinney i come from the leaner side of the DNA chain. Any simple tips to bulk up in this way without adding fat? Thanks in advance.

  31. Basit says:

    Hi u say that doing too much biceps exercises will make your biceps smaller? why?
    Going to the gym is so expensive in my place and im a student,so i just have 2 set of dumbell at home.
    How can i do whole body workout by using only dumbell?

  32. sandra says:

    I,m greatfull for all the info on resting more before my next workout. I've tried it and it really works. most programs have you working out with weights every other day, with weekends off but taking a two day rest before my next workout is very effective. I.m not so sore and i get a better workout. keep sending more information i find it very useful.

  33. Jake Dyer says:

    All i wanna do is loose my belly and tone up, i'm not interested in getting huge, can you help me please? what shell i do?

  34. CCG says:

    Dr. K.,

    What if you are starting from basically ground zero? Very low amounts of activity, but eating well. (Isabel's DSP) I recently got a gym membership but need to find the right program to follow to get the fastest, safest results.

    I desperately need to lose 40 pounds as soon as possible to be able to be approved for a program I have always wanted to be a part of. But I also need to be in great shape to survive it once I get in!

    Does your program target the key differences in training needs/desires between men and women? (I am female.) Also, does it address options for people who can't do a single push up off of their knees and have never been able to do a single pull up?

    I also need to work on some cardio, although from your other talks and many of Vince's, I know you guys don't endorse much cardio. However, in the program I am going into I need to be able to run a mile and a half in 15min or less. Ideas for the best way to reach this goal without too much cardio that becomes counterproductive? (Especially since I can't run for more that a 1/4-1/2 mile without getting totally winded right now. )

    I really appreciate your help!

  35. The imbalance was always my problem. I weigh 160lbs, bench 295lbs, and up til a little while ago could only do 6 to 10 pull ups and anything after 4 was pretty miserable. Been working on it though and its getting better. It really does make a huge difference in your physic to get these things balanced.

  36. kevin vos says:

    thanks vince for the explaining again,i listend to the telephone cals of you guys i can whrite and speak englisg pritty good and when i look at your video's no problem you sound american just like on tv but when you and your mates on the telephone and talking al little bit faster it's getting pritty difficult to pick it al up thank's again greets from the low lands holland

  37. JHR says:

    This high carb, low card crap really has me confused. If I eat a balanced diet isnt that good enough?

  38. connie says:

    very informative but i'm recovering from surgery. looking for strength building for afterwards

  39. Benny says:

    I wonder why people come here specifically to just talk trash – get a life and stop wasting everyones time – – ANYWAY – Dr.Kareem, good stuff man I'm a personal trainer in the Boston Area – I'll be waiting for the next article – I do have a couple questions though … People are huge on the low carb thing up here, and I'm not at all – what's your feeling on low carb for fatloss? Also – what is, in your opinion, the best exercise to do for fat loss? (Full Body, 2 Day splits etc…and I'm assuming incorporate lots of compound movements) Thanks

    • Dr. Kareem says:

      Hey Benny,

      Great questions!

      I believe in eating well, not a specific diet. Diets are temporary, by definition…. that said, I get into some 'jumpstart' strategies for getting lean in the 'Psychology of Dieting' Audio Training System that comes with DEFL – sometimes it helps people who are out of control to think they are eating low carb, but balancing inflammation in the body is key.

      Also, a lot of people don't realize how much sugar they are consuming… or how important meal timing is….

      I believe in full-body workouts for fat loss with muscle building periodization phases – make sense?

      I look forward to helping you deliver better & better programs for your clients,


  40. Ibraheem says:

    Hey Vince, I am a basketball and am looking to put on muscle to my body, how exactly should i start?
    This may not be the right place to post this, but i don’t know any other place, sorry.

  41. Bill Glass says:

    Vince, your still extremely skinny man. Yes, u have muscle, but you don't have any size. What the deal with that?

  42. JJK says:

    Last year I caught a virus which got into the nerve bundles in my shoulders, damaged the nerves, and wasted alot of my upper body muscle. I was devastated, I had no idea that could happen. It was diagnosed Breakial Plexus and effected different nerves/muscles to different degrees. I lost partial use of both arms immediately and it took me about 6 months to get full range of motion back and Im still working on building back strenght and muscle. I work out 3 days a week with a trainer who is an olympic athlete and natural body builder, and very smart dude. He has helped me alot. My question is, what can I do to help progress the healing of my nerves and to help build back my muscle. Im not gaining at all in my bicepts/triceps, only a little inmy chest and shoulders. Any advice?

    • Dr. Kareem says:

      Hey JJK,

      First of all, thanks for trusting me :-)

      Secondly, how long exactly has it been??? most nerve injury heals to potential within about a year – sometimes I see returns for longer, but it takes specific hands-on PT coupled with a proper exercise program.

      Tomorrow I reveal a great strategy for enhancing signaling (if just a few more people post – i'm looking for at least 10 more) – I think this will help you, so stay tuned!

      Also, I'd try E-Stim for 'neuromuscular reeducaiton', 'neural gliding,' 'neurodynamics', and myofascial release. Check this out for more info on myofascial release:

      the other terms are treatment options in Physical Therapy – wishing you the best and I'm glad to set you up with an in-person consultation at my facility if you want to call – otherwise, would love to help you from an exercise perspective, but I'm glad you have such a great trainer! (doesn't have to be either or…. maybe I can add some stuff to your routine through DEFL that will really help?)

      • JJK says:

        Dr K,

        Thanks for the feedback. Im open to all the help I can get. It will be one year at the end of March since the virus hit -so Im almost to the one year mark. I've been training now for about 7.5 months working out hard with my trainer. Can you tell me how long it takes for the muscle to come back and build after the nerve damage? I havent gained much so Im wondering if the muscle comes back after the one year mark or as soon as you start working out again. Sounds like Im one guy who can really benefit from your advice for sure. Thanks.

  43. Scott in Phoenix says:

    So the workouts you sell, are they constructed in such a way that I can feel I'm not falling victim to these 3 reasons?

    • Dr. Kareem says:

      Hey Scott,

      Great question – I sure hope so!

      (that's the idea – I'll never build a workout that doesn't include this again – it's just a faster way to go about things and its more effective)

      really glad you decided to comment – looking forward to working with you on the inside,


  44. LiB says:

    Colin and Kevin, you guys need to write somewhere else. Vince has evidentally worked for what he has, so why should he not reap some benefits. Seems like a pretty smart business man.

  45. Chad says:

    So exactly how do you reach your neuromuscular potential?

  46. Nelak says:

    I read the highlights laid out by Vince and it caught my eye. After reading this e-mail I'm anxious to see what you say in your next article. Real intense stuff man! Thanks!

  47. Kevin says:

    What do you expect from a shameless self promoter… not to mention conceited and vain son of a bitch?

    • Dr. Kareem says:

      vain… ok, that's fair…

      j/k Vince – you're the man!

    • Pretty simple really. Someone that is conceited and vain is afrad of losing status to another person. They have no interest in helping others succeed of being encouraging because they are threatened by the though of having someone be better than them. They tout how great they are simply so everyone will put them up higher than they deserve to be.

      What I see out of Vince, and most people on here is exactly the opposite. I don't see a problem being confident and I don't see a problem showing others what their life could be if they just get the courage to go after it.

  48. richard says:

    Very interesting. How about those of us that are trying just to get in shape again, not just grow muscle? I used to be in great shape. I hate working out at the gym so I bought a used nordic track 901T commercial ski machine and a soloflex. I start each workout with 20 min on the nordic track, then do my work out on the soloflex, and finish with 20 min on the nordic track. My soreness seems to be less if I finish with the nordic track. I am loosing, fat, but not at the same rate as I used to. I am getting plenty of rest. I am most certainly out of balance.

    I look forward to your followups.


    • Dr. Kareem says:

      that's a great point, Richard!

      here's the thing… even if you don't want to bulk, you still should build muscle – muscle keeps you lean, b/c it burns the fat for you… makes you get a way with a bit more from your diet, etc.

      does this help?

  49. Eli says:

    Dr. K
    wow all this very overwhelming yet informative. Appreciate your ideas expertise and advice. Looking forward to learning more.
    My triceps seem to grow faster than biceps, way faster.
    My chest grows faster but that isbecause I work it more.

    I am ashamed of my scrawny forearms.

    • Scott says:

      Dude, I use to be in the same boat! But i simply didn't do forearm curls cause i found them boring, but once i started, it made a massive difference, and also helped when doing biceps and tri's. Give it a go and stick with em if you're not doing them, you'll notice the difference almost immediately. hope this helps.

  50. steve says:

    hey mate, ive just started weight training 3 weekz ago, thankz for all your e-mailz i find them really useful, im in a rehab clinic at the moment and only get to visit the gym once a week, ive invested in some dumbellz for my room az well, ive had a few yearz of battering my body with drink and drugz and now changing my life around, thank-you for inspiring me, i am a skinny 27 year old and thought there waz no hope for me until i came across your website, again cheerz mate, speak to you soon, take care

  51. hein says:

    really interesting artical. Slightly scary and awesome how the body works. Looking forward to the next artical. Dr. K knows what he is talking about. Thanx vince and thanx dr. K.

  52. Omar says:

    What do you mean by not growing fast enough? How can you calculate it?how much should the average man, doing proper workout, getting the proper rest and eating properly, gain let’s say every week or month? I’m talking of the bulking phase obviously.

    • Dr. Kareem says:

      during a bulking phase, I'd like to say you can strive for 4-10 pounds/month, depending on how intense you are, your level of experience, your body shape/size, etc.

      broad range, but you've got to put the whole picture together to know for sure…

  53. colin dixon says:

    Hey vince, what the fuck man. Everyrhink u have sent in an eimail starts out with how large your livin and all these wonderfull places you go. Dude seriously, ur a businessman first then a fitness guru. No one wants to here how large ur livin. Stick to the fitness ok. Thanks

    • Dr. Kareem says:

      for whatever it's worth… Vince is about the best fitness pro in the world when it comes to building muscle – he's also an absolutely AWESOME person – you're making a big mistake, my friend… no harm intended here, but there's another side to all this…

    • kevin says:

      what the fuck man hes only telling you what hes bin up to just try to be frendly dickhead

      • Hey Colin.

        You can't have just one from me because I'm not a single dimensional dude.

        That's like me asking you to just talk about apples but you also like oranges, grapes and pears and other round things.

        Colin – FYI – over the past 2 years my readers have told me they are actually interested in hearing more about my personal life then fitness life! You're the first person who's told me to ONLY stick to fitness.

        No shame in asking though bro.

        • James Gallagher says:

          Ha abit rude there with the comments but it is obivious he hasn't read enough to know what he is talking about. I like to know where people come from, to get to where they are now. Like the struggles you talk about as a runner and being a twigg, and not being able to put the size on, and getting laughed at, and told you will never be big an bulky. If anythink you have alot of useful information, and I can reflet on alot of you say cause I am in training, and like this blog you have today I know exatly what you are talking bout, like losing the muscle mass due to not doing the right type of exercise. Either way some peeps need to read more before jumping the gun. Cheers!

    • Personally I don't see a point in not talking about your life. Why bother living big inside the gym if you can't do it outside. Also, why run your own business if you can't run it the way you enjoy running it. If fitness really is a huge part of your life, talking about it is going to bleed over into everything else as well.

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