Staying committed to an exercise routine is no easy task. Those who maintain a regular training schedule know too well how tempting it can be to forego the gym in favor of the couch; but when you’re consistently hitting the gym and not seeing the results you work so hard for, working out can seem a bit discouraging. So, what might be causing your plateau? Read on to find out why you may not be building muscle, despite a concentrated effort in the gym.
Too Much Focus on Cardio
Some people just love cardio, and while that’s perfectly fine, it may be impeding their ability to build quality muscle mass. Jumping on the treadmill or bike before your weight lifting session could be the reason you’re not seeing the progress you’d like. When you perform cardio before lifting weights, you end up depleting muscle stores of glycogen. As a result, your muscles no longer have the fuel they need to perform an intense weight training session. When you start lifting on a half-empty tank, you end up shorting your muscle building potential.
To avoid this, prioritize your lifting exercises. Once you’ve finished weight training, you can move to cardio exercise. Not only will this help build more quality muscle tissue, it will also help burn more fat, as you will already have free fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream after weight training.
Performing a Stale Routine
The human body is smart and adaptable, especially in terms of physical exertion. Eventually, your body will begin to adapt to your training routine, making periodic changes necessary. Performing the same movements in the same order for several weeks will certainly result in the dreaded plateau.
To prevent this, simply add variety into your routine every few weeks. Try adding in a few new exercises or changing the order of the movements you currently perform. You’ll quickly notice how even small changes to your routine can add up to big results.
Using the Same Weight and Rep Scheme Continually
Again, adding variety to your routine is critical. Continually using the same weights for a period of several weeks or months does not typically amount to much progress. To make sure you’re challenging yourself, first choose a weight that is not easy to lift in reps of 10. If the tenth rep is very challenging, you’ve chosen an appropriate weight.
Likewise, varying your rep scheme is another important factor when training for increased muscle mass. Reps on the lower end of the spectrum, from four to six, are beneficial for increasing strength. Reps in the eight to 12 range will help build more muscle, while more than 12 reps will help build endurance. To get the best of all three worlds, consider structuring each training session around a specific rep scheme. Heavy, compound movements should fall on the lower end of the spectrum, while more reps may be necessary for isolation exercises.
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