The Top 3 Reasons Your Muscle Isn’t Growing Faster
by Dr. Kareem F. Samhouri, CSCS, HFS
Metabolic Fat Loss & Strength Expert
- You haven’t reached your neuromuscular potential
- You’re imbalanced
- 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.
- 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!
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