Anyone who has ever been on a gym membership or joined a sports team knows that there is an inverse relationship between the difficulty of a workout and the size of someone’s results. Ever one is focused on muscle building. That is to say, the more challenging an exercise is, the smaller your results are likely to be. Most people understand this dynamic at some level, but what they don’t always grasp is that it applies to all exercises, with almost no exceptions. If you are not seeing the results you want from your exercise routine, it’s because you aren’t challenging yourself properly. The work has to be difficult enough that it produces stress on your body that forces it to adapt by growing bigger and stronger as a result.
Why beginners struggle to build muscle
When we are beginners at any activity, our bodies are constantly adjusting to the stress of those activities. When you start a new exercise program, your body isn’t used to the movements you’re asking it to make and the demands you’re putting on it. As a result of this unfamiliar stress, small tears occur in your muscle tissue and your body responds by repairing those muscles and making them bigger and stronger so that it is better suited to handle the challenges you’re placing on it. When you’re just starting out at the gym or on a new exercise program, your body is still getting used to the challenges you’re placing on it. As a result, you’re not generating enough stress inside your muscles to create the damage necessary to spur growth.
The cause of this muscle building bottleneck: Overcoming neuromuscular adaption
Over time, your body gets used to the stresses you place on it. When you first start an exercise program, your body responds to the unfamiliar stress of these new movements by increasing the number of muscle fibers that are recruited to perform them and by increasing the amount of force each fiber is able to put out. This adaption process is called neuromuscular adaption. Your body is simply responding to the fact that it’s being challenged in new and challenging ways. The more often you perform an exercise, the more quickly your body will get used to it and the less impact it will have on your body. As a beginner, you will experience your body going through this adaption process on a very small scale at first. However, if you keep doing the same exercises with the same intensity, your body will eventually become fully adapted to them and they will no longer pose a challenge to your muscles.
How to break through the beginner’s growth barrier
So, how do you challenge yourself enough that you break through the beginner’s growth barrier and get the results you’re looking for? There are three things you have to do:
Lift enough weight to activate your muscles – This is the most important tip in this article. If you’re lifting something, it has to be heavy enough to cause enough damage to your muscles that they grow back stronger and larger than they were before. The best way to make sure you’re lifting enough weight is to use a rep range of between 4 and 10.
Lift more frequently – If you’re lifting heavy enough, you will experience muscle soreness. This is a hallmark of a good workout and is a sign that your muscles are growing and repairing themselves. However, this soreness is a barrier to making progress. This is why many experts recommend lifting more often.
The more often you lift, the less sore you’ll be for each session. This makes it easier to continue progressing in your routine without being held back by muscle soreness.
Lift a variety of different types of exercises – Because your body is fully adapted to the exercises you’re currently doing, the only way to challenge your muscles further is to do something new. This is why many fitness experts recommend lifting a variety of different types of exercises.
Muscle building is a complicated process. It’s not enough to show up and put in the time at the gym. You have to be lifting enough weight to activate your muscles, lifting frequently to escape the plateau of muscle soreness, and lifting a variety of different exercises to truly challenge your body in new and unique ways. If you do these things, you’re likely to break through the beginner’s growth barrier and experience significant muscle growth.