3 Reasons Why You Are Not Getting Bigger

You're 6 months into training and making no gains. Turn things around and start making progress with these 3 important muscle building tips.

Muscle building tipsGetting big is not easy! No matter how many ads you may have seen from supplement companies showing how their users gained “30 pounds of rock hard mass in 6 weeks”, the fact remains that in real life mass gains are a lot slower.

However the most important point is that mass gain is possible, and it requires a lot of dedication and hard work. But what if you have not made any progress for 6 months or more since beginning your weight training journey, or even worse for a year or so? If that is the case then you need to do some investigation.

There may be many reasons for your failure as you can understand. Do remember that rest and recovery are no lesser factors that must be considered when you do your investigation. More often than not over eager beginners will neglect recovery, and thus fail to grow. Remember that your muscles grow the most outside the gym. So not taking recovery seriously is a major mass killer! Try to get 7-9 hours of deep sleep each night, and try to keep participation in other sports under control if getting big is a priority.

Besides rest and recovery there are 3 very common factors that are often neglected too. Read on and see if you too have been making these mistakes.

Now to be honest with you, I will admit these are not going to be some secret hidden factors that you were never probably aware about. They are on the other hand going to be factors that you probably knew from day 1 but maybe did not give much importance to. Here they are:

1) Not eating enough - I am aware that nowadays diets that call for fasting are becoming very popular. But hey, whether they work for fat loss or not, the fact is that you are not trying to lose fat! Your goal is to gain size, and for that you must eat big. And if you are serious about size gains then you will do best not to plan a program that aims for maximum fat loss while gaining maximum muscle mass at the same time.

No, you do not have to eat 10 meals and total 600 grams of protein a day, but a steady supply of nutrients is a must to help your body grow big. Somewhere between 3-5 meals a day is a great way to go depending on your daily schedule. In those 3-5 meals try to get in 2500 calories or more depending on your need. If you make progress good, if not then add some further calories.

You will also do well to maintain a good balance of nutrients. To have too much of one nutrient and completely avoid another food group is not the best way to go when looking to add inches to your body. This means that do not ignore carbs or dietary fat in the quest for a very high protein intake.

2) Trying to follow advanced or complicated programs - Picture this and tell me what’s wrong with it:

A guy who has been training for 3 months benches 100 pounds for 3 sets of 5 reps on a particular training day. After the session he feels that he has a weak point in his bench press which he must eliminate. To do so he starts wondering if it is the lower position or the last ¼ of the press at the top that is his limiting factor. He then tries different methods like board presses, compensatory acceleration, etc to improve on his weak point. Now what do you think went wrong?

Muscle building

Here is the real deal the guy is just too weak everywhere! If you are benching only 100 pounds then every point is a weak point and you must work the whole movement to get good at it. Yes, once you get stuck at 220-250 pounds, then you can think about weak point training. But until then stick only to benching to help your muscles get more efficient at the movement to be able to lift more. Think of practicing the move rather than working out.

And don’t even get me started on other similar complicated way to enhance your lifts. Just be patient and work hard, that itself will take you a long way before you will need to think of the more complicated methods.

3) Too much variety and too little progression - Search the net and you will probably find millions of mass gaining programs that you can follow. Some of them are good while some of them are just simply rubbish! Unfortunately the availability of so many programs tempts many trainees to keep changing programs too frequently and not progress at all.

One of the most important factors to get big is to get strong. Yet, many trainees will keep trying different sets, reps, tempo of the same exercise without increasing the actual weight that they are lifting. In a nutshell, too much variety and too little progression!

Think of doing shoulder presses one day with dumbbells and the other day with kettlebells while still lifting the same 35 pounds. Sure, the two bells require a slightly different amount of effort, but at 35 pounds pressing them both overhead is not that significantly different as say pressing 35 pounds and pressing 53 pounds! So evaluate your journal and see if you have made any actual progress or have just been pushing the same weight for the last 6 months.

So there you have three reasons that probably did not reveal any new top secret that has been stolen from the most scientifically advanced top secret lab (if that is what you were looking for). You do however have three factors to look into that may very well be holding you back or more appropriately the muscle fibers that are wanting to grow big in your body. Work on eliminating the mistakes and get ready to grow!

About The Author
My writings have been featured on websites and in magazines like Physique magazine, World physique. I have also been a guest on various talk shows.

19 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 11/02/2011 - 10:27

Good tips , bro

Very basic , but very important

These days people are complicating their workouts.

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Posted Mon, 02/20/2012 - 14:42
Arnav Sarkar

Thanks Sajid. Yep, complicating things is a big problem today in many gyms, and yet, the ones with the best results always seem to make it look so simple, because they keep it simple and work very hard consistently! Anyways, best of luck with your progress buddy.

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Posted Thu, 04/12/2012 - 12:49

Very True!

We need to have patience and watch for REALISTIC RESULTS too! Like in my case, I am doing very little weight because I am a beginner, and I am focusing on learning the technique on each move; although I can feel my body toning up the size right now is not so noticeable, that will come after a few months of adding more weight and intensity to my workouts and then I'll see results!

Great article!

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Posted Sat, 07/07/2012 - 13:01
Arnav Sarkar

That sounds like a great plan. Starting slow and giving due time to learn form will help you go a long way. Unfortunately when I began no-one explained this to me, and believe me I suffered a lot due to training with poor form for quite sometime. So compared to that you have a great start my friend.

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Posted Tue, 05/08/2012 - 13:36

I like your article but about the last point, I thought that if you change the number of reps and sets per week (and increase the weight) , your body is constantly ''shocked'' and therefor creates more muscle? I would like to know what your thought are about this!

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Posted Tue, 05/22/2012 - 09:47

My thoughts...it's generally a waste of time. Shock your body with progression of weight. Muscle confusion is a lot of hype and not nearly as important as progression of weight. Confuse your muscles by working hard. It will pay off.

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Posted Sat, 07/07/2012 - 13:01
Arnav Sarkar

Hi Bart, the muscles respond best to progressive loads which require greater force exertion. Yes, to some extent changing the rep scheme helps, but only if it progressive. So for eg if you squat 200 pound for 3 sets of 8 reps, and then increase that to 3 sets of 10 reps with 200 pounds, then there will be a case of improvement. But doing 3 sets of 8 with 200 and then 5 sets of 5 with the same 200 pounds will not work the body any significantly more to force muscle growth. So always focus on improvement, whether that be by lifting more or doing more reps. And after a period of time like 6-12 months, your journal should show that you are lifting more weights compared to a few months back, no matter what rep/set scheme you follow.

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Posted Sun, 02/10/2013 - 10:21

Hi, i have been training for 6 months!
I have seen a big difference in my body frame, my shoulders,
triceps,biceps,legs,and even my back.
But my chest is lagging it has changed in appearence, but is still soft and man boobs like!
Especially on the side part of my chest!
Basically there like pointy man boobs!
Last week i started doing cardio for 30 mins and 30 mins on weights.
So its like chest 4 sets 4 exercises rep range depends how heavy im going.
Then 20-30 min cardio.
I only have 1 hr in the morning before i go work.
Any tips and help please regarding shaping my chest to look good.
I got 6 weeks begore i go on holiday.
Would love to have a better looking chest before i go.
Otherwise i will feel to shy to take my top off.
Please please someone help!

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Posted Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:23

@nemanja- Hey, you need to focus up upper chest. Do incline dumbbell press, incline dumbbell flyes, guilliteen flat bench barbell press( bring the bar down to your neck rather that your chest) incline barbell press, feet elevated push ups. Do those big and heavy and your chest will look great!

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Posted Fri, 03/22/2013 - 09:52

What's up?! Ok, so I been going to the gym for just about a year now. I significantally picked up a good amount of muscle mass and show a lot more strength than I previously did. It seems though, now, that I have run into quite the brick wall. I have been stuck benching about the same 200 pounds for the last half a year! I can't seem to get passed that point. Should I try considering a different workout routine? Or what factors can fix this issue?

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Posted Mon, 04/22/2013 - 01:47

Eat more and increase work out intensity.

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Posted Sat, 05/18/2013 - 10:57

best way is tht now not cheatig people

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Posted Thu, 08/01/2013 - 16:52

Hi somebody please help I've been lifting for 8 months haven't seen to much of an improvement except my shoulders I tried different programs should I do a mass workout? And I have a belly I can't get rid of

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Posted Wed, 08/21/2013 - 01:49

I have been lifting on and off for about 40 years i am 60 now and i can still do 225 on the bench but i am stuck at 225.Is there something i should be taking because of my age or should i change up my work out...thanks

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Posted Fri, 02/14/2014 - 04:23

Hi I'm 17, I've been lifting for about a year. I was quite weak when I started. After half a year I could bench 120 pounds, problem is I've been stuck on 120 for half a year. Everything's been stuck for half a year. But I also do athletics so I do a lot of intense training at school. So for the past year I've only been getting toner and I can't get any bigger. I've tried taking protein shakes to up my protein intake cuz I figured I lift and train a lot then I need to eat a lot more. But nada, still not getting bigger. Another thing I noticed is that on my arms, my forearms and the lower part of my arms are getting bigger but my upper is not:p. What should I do:p

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Posted Wed, 02/26/2014 - 02:59

how can i make muscles at home

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Posted Wed, 04/02/2014 - 08:22

I want to gain muscles. How can i do it at home?

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Posted Thu, 07/31/2014 - 16:17
maurice henderson

Do a bunch of push ups. Like 200 a night and eat good. Dont quit. Youll get big in 3 months easy. Do them every night

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Posted Tue, 04/15/2014 - 07:05

People on this page are a bunch of dicks. People ask questions for genuine help and all you assholes do is give them a thumbs down and move on. You all were small at one time stop acting like douche bags.