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Fitness » Why Am I Not Getting Stronger: Reasons And Proven Ways To Bust Those Plateaus

Why Am I Not Getting Stronger: Reasons And Proven Ways To Bust Those Plateaus

why am i not getting stronger lifting weights

The modern wellness world is constantly getting wider and wider. Thousands of people all over the world do their best to achieve their fitness goals. Some exercisers aim to get rid of excess body fat, while others want to gain muscle mass. Many people work out to become stronger. Unfortunately, for some reason, they cannot achieve their desired results and see no progress despite all their efforts. Some athletes just give up on their goals, and that is the biggest mistake. There is always a way out, and it is always possible to solve the problem. It’s just important to figure out your mistakes to fix them. If you want to find the answer to the question, “Why am I not getting stronger?”, this article is definitely for you. Let’s get started!

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Why am I not getting stronger?

Oftentimes, exercisers spend hours at the gym but still cannot get stronger. Below you can see a list of the most common mistakes that might stop you from achieving your fitness goal.

  • You perform less than your body needs

First, you should understand that there is a significant difference between “working out” and “actually training”. Sometimes, people perform some exercises and just simply go through some motions. Even if they are correct in terms of technique, such an approach is wrong. You can train this way if you want to improve your choreography, but if you aim to get stronger, you should opt for another plan. When it comes to strength building, your workouts should be challenging enough so that you can get the desired effect. Your body should get kind of stressed during and after your training session.

  • Your workouts stay the same

Many people tend to make the same mistake. They choose one workout program and stick to it every training session. The thing is that even if you choose the most effective program, sooner or later, your body will get used to it, and you’ll stop developing. This phenomenon is also known as accommodation.

If you want your workouts to be effective, there are several possible solutions. First, you should include de-load periods to your routine (simply put, the week when you make your workouts easier) (1). In this way, you let your body recover and become stronger and bigger later. Second, you should make your workouts more varied and gradually increase the load.

Read More: Aerobic Exercise At Home-Simple and Beneficial At-Home Aerobic Workouts

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  • You have issues with your goals

When you start your strength building journey, setting a goal is a key to success. However, sometimes the exercisers tend to make two basic mistakes. First, they set unrealistic goals that lead to disappointments and loss of interest in workouts. It is important to set realistic goals, so you can stay motivated and inspired by your results. Second, the goals are unspecific. It’s not enough to aim “to lose weight”, “to get in shape for Summer”, or “to get stronger”. Instead of these vague aims, it is better to set such goals as “to do 10 pull-ups till September 10th”. Such specific goals are easy to measure and accomplish. This way, you’ll also be able to monitor your progress and stay motivated.

  • You focus on what you are already good at

Sometimes people choose workouts that they can easily perform. They don’t pay attention to their weaknesses because it’s much easier to opt for their favorite exercises. Such people just aren’t honest with themselves, and as a result, don’t understand why they see no progress. For example, they hate squatting, and like deadlifts, so they focus on deadlifts and ignore squats. As a result, they aren’t getting stronger, lose motivation, and give up on workouts. That’s why, if you know that you are bad at doing squats, then include them in your routine and work on them, improve your skills, and get stronger (1). 

  • You don’t take into consideration your training environment

Along with setting proper goals, people usually underestimate their environment. If people you are training with don’t support and don’t understand you, it’s time to find a gym where the athletes will share your ideas and goals. You should opt for an encouraging environment that will help you work more and harder. Besides, such people around you can share experiences and views, advise on techniques, and point out your mistakes. That will help you develop and constantly improve your performance.

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  • You don’t think about recovery

Oftentimes, exercisers wrongly believe that the time they spend at the gym is the most important. The truth is that the time when your body rests is even more critical.

It is vital to have the necessary amounts of high-quality sleep to restore your energy and maintain a proper hormonal environment. Every night you should sleep 7-9 hours to achieve your goals and support overall health.

You shouldn’t also forget about proper nutrition. It is the key to a healthy and strong body. You should consume enough calories, which amount differs depending on your age, size, and lifestyle. On average, women should consume 1600-2400 calories a day, and men with 2000-3000 a day (4, 9).

Make sure your menu includes enough protein. You should also eat healthy foods from different food groups to make your diet perfectly balanced. Whole grains, dairy, lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and veggies, and healthy fats are the base of your healthy daily menu. Anyway, when it comes to nutrition, the best thing will be to consult a professional nutritionist.

Recovery also includes rest days and de-load weeks that were mentioned above. During the recovery days, your body gets used to the stress after physical exercises, then gets real effects from your training sessions. It also repairs damaged tissues and replenishes the energy you spent during working out (5). As you can see, “recovery” includes multiple steps that keep your body functioning properly and provide you with the desired effect.

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  • You don’t perform exercises efficiently

Many exercisers also tend to work out automatically without paying attention to the way they perform the motions. It is important to practice “consciously” and think about every movement while you perform it as efficiently as you can. Again, if you should listen to your body, figure out its weaknesses, and support it.

Read More: Why Is It Important To Ease Into An Exercise Program: Expert’s Take On No-Rush Beginner Workouts

FAQs

  • “Why am I not getting stronger?” The difference between women vs. men

Basically, all the listed above mistakes are common for both men and women with no difference. So, just train as hard and efficiently as you can, have the necessary recovery, set proper goals, consider your weaknesses, and you’ll definitely get stronger.

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  • Does protein make you stronger?

Your muscles are made mainly of protein. Simply put, this element is the building block of your muscle tissues. It means that by consuming the necessary amounts of protein, you can gain and maintain muscle mass and get stronger. That’s why people who pay special attention to workouts should enrich their daily menu with protein-rich foods. Seafood, white-meat poultry, milk, cheese, eggs, beans, lean beef, and more; all these foods will support your overall health and help you get stronger (2, 3, 8).

  • Does lifting weights make you stronger?

Yes, lifting weights does make the exercisers stronger. It strengthens not only muscles but your bones as well. Strength building also helps you to perform other types of workouts and manage your daily activities easier (10). 

  • Why am I not getting stronger lifting weights?

It was mentioned above that many athletes cannot improve their results even though their training program is perfect. So, if you are lifting weights and see no progress, you might make some listed above mistakes. The recommendations are the same, just make sure that you perform your exercises efficiently, change your program from time to time, gradually increase the load, and don’t forget about recovery. Of course, the best option will be to consult a professional trainer.  

When it comes to weight loss, progress is made by inches, not miles, so it’s much harder to track and a lot easier to give up. BetterMe app is your personal trainer, nutritionist and support system all in one. Start using our app to stay on track and hold yourself accountable!

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  • How to get stronger without working out?

Yes, it is a well-known fact that if you want to lose weight, gain muscle mass, and become stronger, you should attend a gym. Unfortunately, some people don’t have enough time for it. The good news is that you can become stronger even if you don’t go to the gym (note that the results won’t be that impressive, but you’ll still have them).

If you have no time or desire to visit a gym, you should fill your everyday life with physical activity. Simply put, find a way to exercise throughout the day.  For instance, you can try cycling to work, get home by walking, use stairs instead of an elevator, walk as much as you can, and more. All these simple steps will definitely improve your strength and endurance. Again, you won’t gain that much muscle mass as when attending the gym, but you’ll definitely get in shape and even lose weight.

You can also adopt some new hobbies. For instance, you can try cycling or hiking. In this way, you’ll not only increase your levels of physical activity but will get stronger as well. This is also a nice way to slim down and support your overall health.

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  • How to get stronger without getting bigger?

Not all exercisers want to get bigger and build impressive muscles. Some people are quite happy with the muscle mass they have and just want to get stronger without additional bulk. The good news is that it’s entirely possible. So, how do you get stronger without bulking up?

Lifting heavy weights will be quite effective in this case. The best thing will be to opt for presses, pulls, squats, or deadlifts, also known as multi-joint exercises. Another tip is to move as fast as possible during your training session, which will help you to get the best effect.

To get stronger without bulking up, you can also try plyometrics. Squat jumps, box jumps, push-ups, kicking, and even your favorite burpees, all these exercises can be classified as plyometrics. Simply put, this type of workout helps improve your strength, endurance, and speed. It is also known as jump training. However, it is extremely important to stick to a proper technique. You should perform the motions properly to avoid injuries. It is also recommended to start performing such exercises gradually and slowly increase the load. The best thing will be to practice under the supervision of a professional instructor (6, 7).

Another effective method is to make your rest longer. If your aim is strength building, you should rest for 2-5 minutes between the sets (this time depends on the type of exercises).

The last advice is to avoid static stretching before working out. You might have heard the recommendation to static stretch before your basic training session. This might help avoid injuries and increase your flexibility. However, it turned out that it is better to opt for dynamic exercises for warmups and use stretching after your workout. If you stretch before the workout, it can negatively affect your performance.

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Conclusion

Why am I not getting stronger? You already know the answer to this question. As you can see, there are many reasons why you cannot succeed in your fitness goal. You should understand that it doesn’t matter what your aim is; you should always opt for a complex approach. It is critical to listen to your body, increase the level of physical load, provide your body with healthy fuel, and sleep enough. In this way, you’ll definitely get stronger in a relatively short period. However, remember to consult your health professional and professional instructors before making some serious steps in your wellness journey. In this way, you’ll avoid medical issues and support your overall health.

Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 5 Reasons you aren’t Getting Stronger, and How to Correct Them! (2019, bodybuilding.com)
  2. Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a review and examination of protein spread and change theories (2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  3. Good protein sources (2020, webmd.com)
  4. How many calories should I eat a day? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
  5. Importance of Rest and Recovery After Your Exercise (2020, verywellfit.com)
  6. Plyometric Jump Training Exercises (2020, verywellfit.com)
  7. Plyometrics (2020, webmd.com)
  8. The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  9. What should my daily intake of calories be? (2019, nhs.uk)
  10. You Should Lift Weights and Strength Why Train (2020, verywellfit.com)
Lana Woods

Lana Woods

Lana is an excellent writer driven largely by questions of health and mental well-being. She specializes in writing articles on both nutrition and exercise. Nothing brings her as much pleasure as helping others get their health back on track. In her works, she provides informative tips on how you can change your lifestyle for the better, develop healthy eating habits, and improve your well-being with the help of workouts. Besides, in recent years she became more interested in studying weight management, gearing her focus towards healthy weight loss approaches.

Inga Grebeniuk-Gillyer

Inga Grebeniuk-Gillyer

Hey there! I'm a European Champion in synchronized swimming who holds a Bachelor degree in Physical Education. I have experience in working with Olympic level athletes, produced National Champions, State Champions and helped athletes secure their spots on the National teams.
I don't just want to work with professional athletes. I strongly believe that my purpose is to help anybody I work with to achieve their fitness goals and become their best self.

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