LAST UPDATED: March 1st, 2021
You can’t imagine how many times have I heard this:
I work out 5-6 times a week, but I don’t make progress, my muscles don’t grow.
Or I lift 300 pounds on the bench press, but I’m still not satisfied with my looks.
Probably there are many of you out there who go to the gym and work hard to gain muscles, but your muscles aren’t better toned than when you started working out.
So, if you really try hard and can’t see the results, it’s possible that you make some mistakes.
Your will is simply not enough.
Obviously, there are some reasons why you can’t build muscle,
Ask yourself the next question and be honest with yourself.
Do you work out hard at the gym and you can’t make real progress?
If the answer is yes, then read about the most common reasons why you can’t grow your muscles.
PS I’ve spent a lot of hours at the gym in the last 15 years so that I can finally write about this.
So, let’s get started with the most common reasons why you can’t build muscle.
10 Reasons Why You Can’t Build Muscle
1. You skip warming up
This is the one of the most common bodybuilding myths.
You can’t believe how many guys don’t warm up and this is the first thing we explain how important it is at the gym.
No matter how eager you are to get down to business, don’t forget to warm up because you are making a huge mistake.
A good warm-up of a couple of minutes on the bike at the gym or jogging on the running track will make your strength training pay off.
Warming up raises the temperature of your muscles and tendons and it decreases the chances of getting injured, but it also burns a lot of calories.
Also, remember to stretch before and after training since this is very important, too.
2. You lift too heavyweights
Let’s clear this up once for all:
Lifting too heavy weights won’t bring you bigger muscles.
It will only cause injuries.
Too heavyweights means only injuries and lifting too lightweights is a waste of time.
When you start going to the gym start doing 1-2 series with 15-20 reps using weights that are 50% of the maximum mass you can lift doing some exercise.
When you get stronger you can do 2-3 series with 10-15 reps using weights that are 60-75% of the maximum mass you can lift.
You can make progress only if you adjust the weights to your current shape.
3. You work out sloppily
For example, you lift the weights up and down too fast and this can lead to injuries and reducing the efficiency of the exercise you are doing.
Lifting weights more slowly is actually more efficient.
A slower rhythm gives your muscles a chance to be stronger without burdening your joints.
4. You do the same exercises all the time
One of the most common reasons why you can’t build muscle.
It’s easy to get caught up in your exercising, doing the same moves and thinking that’s enough to get into better shape.
It’s true that you need to add some new exercises after a couple of weeks.
Your muscles simply get used to the exercises after a while and you stop making progress and muscles as in the beginning.
It’s also recommended to change the machines you are using at the gym so that you can affect better a certain group of muscles.
For example, if you do only bench press for your chest, it’s good to do bench press with dumbells after a while.
5. You make too long breaks between sets
By doing this you waste precious time for burning calories.
So, what you really need to do is to add 2-5 minutes of cardio such as running on the track or jumping rope.
That will help you lose more calories and you will have both cardio and strength training in 45 minutes.
6. You do too many reps
If you are a beginner you will make progress if you do exercises with 60% of the weight you can lift only once (1-REP MAX).
So, you need the weight with which you can do 15-20 reps.
If you go to the gym longer, to make further progress you need to work out with 80% 1-REP MAX, hence, the weight with which you can do 8 reps.
7. You do too many exercises
Forget about isolation exercises if you can’t make progress.
From now on, each training needs to include complex exercises since that’s the way to activate all your muscles.
And by activating big groups of muscles you burn more calories.
8. You don’t make enough breaks
It’s a mistake to make too many breaks, but it’s also wrong not to make enough breaks. (1)
Doing one after another exercise fast can overtrain your muscles and slow down their growth.
9. You don’t eat enough food
Believe it or not, guys who want to get into a good shape often don’t eat enough thinking that will help them get rid of fat and gain muscles.
Or they are making a calorie deficit unintentionally by trying to eat more healthily.
In both cases, the result is the same.
If you don’t eat enough you slow down your metabolism and you are at risk of overtraining because you don’t have enough nutrients for your recovery.
10. You skip cardio
You may have heard some of those hardcore builders saying cardio supposedly doesn’t allow muscle growth.
Don’t believe that.
For example, 45 minutes on the bike in addition to strength training brings 14% more muscle volume on your legs.
Choose at least 1 day a week to do only cardio exercises.
You can do 30 minutes of moderate cardio training on the running track, the ergometer, or the stationary bike couple of times a week.
11. You skip leg day
We all know about the term ‘bird leg’.
It happens a lot.
Just don’t skip leg day.
Strong gluteus is more important than insanely big biceps.
And it’s not only about looks, but your legs are the most important part of the posterior chain, a chain of muscles on the posterior of your body.
Deadlifting and squats are great for your glutes.
That means more strength and better results at the gym and out of it, of course.
12. You improvise too much
Guys who follow certain training programs with their instructor or alone following books etc. usually improvise with the things that are recommended.
For instance, they add more sets or exercises, switch to a different program after a week or two if they are not satisfied, or they work out on days when they should rest.
The result is reaching a plateau.
Improvising with your exercises or doing extra sets can exhaust you and you won’t be able to keep up with the program you’ve chosen.
Therefore, follow the program you chose and in the end, if you aren’t satisfied, change the program or ask your instructor for advice.
If you want to build your muscles faster, read more about the best supplements that can help you: