No Muscle Growth? Try These Changes
As a high school student, you're at the perfect age to quickly add muscle. This is because during puberty your anabolic hormone production of testosterone and human growth hormone are at their highest, and they diminish with age. So if you're failing to meet your goals during this opportune time, you are doing something wrong in your training. Listen to Uncle Chris and use the following recommendations to maximize your potential. If you can follow these steps, you'll be on the right path for building muscle.
Get on the See Food Diet
If you are an extremely active athlete, you're at an age where you can eat whatever you want. (See How to Customize A Diet Plan to Meet Your Specific Needs.) Regardless, good nutrition is essential. Feel free to pattern your eating after any of these plans:
- An Authentic Italian Diet for Athletes
- Mediterranean-Style Diet: A Heart-Healthy Way for Athletes to Eat
- The Athlete's Plan for the Paleo Diet
- How To Sustain Healthy Eating Habits
Lift Weights 2 to 3 Times Per Week
Start lifting your legs, chest, back and shoulders at least two times per week. These muscles release greater amounts of anabolic hormones. Try these exercises:
- 3 Exercises Every Athlete Should Do
- Lower-Body Workout to Survive a Gym-less Holiday Break
- Effective Shoulder Workout
- Train Like Steven Jackson
Slow Down Your Lifting Movements
Growth is maximized by slowing down the eccentric portion where the muscles lengthen, or in laymen's terms, the easier portion of the repetition. For example, in the Bench Press, take 3 to 5 seconds to lower the bar to your chest. The more time under tension, the more microscopic tears take place. When nourished properly, greater muscle size will follow.
Limit Your Cardio
Research is beginning to support that excessive cardio (endurance training like marathons) may be harmful to our health. If your goal is to add size, limit your cardio to five to ten minutes at the end of your workout. Make sure you're not exercising longer than 75 to 90 minutes, because your muscle tissue may be compromised.
Add More Volume
Start training with twice as many sets. If you are doing three sets of Bench Press, start doing six sets in a pyramid fashion where you:
- Start with a low weight for 15 reps and add weight each set
- By set three you should be aiming for three to five reps
- After set three, begin to lower the weight back to 10 to 15 reps
- Rest 30-60 seconds between sets
Speed and Plyometric
If you've been training for more than three months, you need to implement higher velocity movements. For speed begin with:
- Three sets of 50-meter sprints
- Three sets of 100-meter sprints
Plyometric exercises can be performed with explosive bodyweight movements such as maximal vertical or Broad Jumps and explosive Push-Ups for 10 reps. Make sure to warm up properly with dynamic movements such as High Knees, Butt Kicks, Lunges and Leg Pendulums.