What’s Holding Back Your Strength Training?

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Something’s preventing you from getting the gains you’re looking for.

I wish life was as simple as “lift heavy thing, get stronger,” but unfortunately, we don’t live in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. No matter how much lifting you do, you might not be seeing the gains that you were hoping for. You’re probably getting something, but unless it’s increased strength, then things may have gone sideways somewhere. So, what exactly is keeping your strength training from turning you into the powerhouse you were hoping for?

For one thing, strength training relies heavily on repetition. You gotta flex a single part of the body at regular intervals and at the right intensity. If all you’re doing is bench pressing a day or two a week, that’ll certainly burn some calories, but it won’t be enough stimulation to really build up the muscles in your arms. In the first place, resistance training is actually better for building muscle than straight-up weights, but that’s another conversation.

In addition to intensity, it’s also a matter of commitment. If you spend a week doing squats and deadlifts, you’ll definitely feel the pain, but if it’s only a week, you probably won’t see any significant change. Muscle building is, at the best of times, an extremely gradual process. Remember, your body needs time to reassemble snapped and strained muscle fibers, and that won’t happen overnight.

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Speaking of reassembly, the last component to good strength training is recovery. The work you put in is undoubtedly important, but what comes afterward is equally so. When those fibers are good and snapped, you need some down time to give them the room to do their thing, as well as a balanced, nutritious diet so your body has the right building blocks. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep after exercise, as that’s where the lion’s share of the reassembly will take place.

Like I said, strength training is a frustratingly slow process, but if you give it time, you’ll see the improvements you’re looking for.