There are a number of different things that need to come into play in order to succeed at building muscle and in this article I’ll touch on each aspect. If you find yourself at a plateau, then you aren’t doing one (or all) of these things. Each component needs to be executed; otherwise, you’ll find yourself training for months, 4-6 times a week, and still looking the same. Don’t waste your time or potential!
You need to incorporate more compound movements.
You get the most bang for your buck from compound movements. Back squats, front squats, overhead squats, deadlifts, lunges, overhead presses, barbell rows and the list goes on. If you don’t know how to do these exercises… LEARN! When you do one squat, you engage your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, core, back and shoulders vs. doing a leg extension will only engage your quads. Additionally, when you lift heavy weights to fatigue, your body will produce more testosterone which will aid in your muscle growth, enhance your strength gains and increase your sex drive. So not only will you be able to engage more muscles from these exercises but they’ll also make you feel like more of a man!
You need to eat more.
Don’t give me that “I eat so much, you won’t believe it! But I’m still not gaining weight.” I’ve heard that a million times from ectomorphs and it annoys me because I’m an ectomorph too. If you’re not gaining weight then you’re still not eating enough. Plain and simple. If your metabolism is ridiculously fast and you’re burning 3500 calories a day and you’re only consuming 3000 calories (which is already 150% more than an average North American diet), you’ll lose weight very quickly. Your body needs to consume more calories than what you’re burning in order to grow.
You need to eat enough protein.
One gram of protein per pound of body weight has been the rule of thumb within the bodybuilding world for decades. According to a study by McMaster University scientists, 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is adequate for maximizing protein synthesis. So let’s consider both principles and do the math. If you’re 150lbs you’ll need to consume anywhere between 90 to 150 grams of protein per day. To put that in perspective, a 6 oz chicken breast contains approximately 50 grams of protein. So you’ll need to eat the equivalent of three 6 oz chicken breasts a day to make some gains!
You must stay consistent.
Muscle takes time to grow. As a beginner with under 2 years of training experience and being all natty, you can potentially put on between 1-2lbs of lean muscle within a month. If you’ve got over 3 years of training experience, expect to only see at the month half a pound of lean muscle being added to your frame within a month. With that being said, don’t give up when you don’t see any changes in the mirror