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6 Common Reasons You Just Can’t Build Muscle

For all of your hard work in the gym, you just don’t seem to be building muscle or getting stronger. Something’s not right.

Packing on slabs of muscle isn’t easy. But it’s definitely not impossible.

Are you following the golden rules of weight training bro?

If not, stop what you’re doing and spend the next few minutes reading over these golden nuggets of knowledge gainz that’ll have you ordering the next t-shirt size up in no time.

You don’t want to be that dude, stuck in a corner of the gym, repping out curl after curl in a desperate attempt to add just some muscle to those string bean arms.

If you’re frustrated that you aren’t making progress and your hard work is going to waste,check out the most common reasons you just cant build muscle…

#1. You’re not using progressive overload

Have you been stuck using the same weights and rep ranges week in week out for the last few months?

If so, you’re missing out on one of the fundamentals of strength training for mass; progressive overload.

Building muscle is all about pushing your body past the limit it’s accustomed to.

When you hit your muscles with a stimulus that ‘overloads’ them, your fibers respond by laying down new cells as a way of adapting.

If that stimulus never changes, your body has no reason to keep adapting because it’s already used to it.

Your progress quickly slows down, and eventually stops.

You can progressively overload by adding more weight to the bar, increasing volume (by adding reps or sets) or by changing exercise selection.

You can adapt reduce rest times too.

It’s worth noting that because progress isn’t linear, there might be some weeks where you just cant add more weight or reps.

And others where you feel invincible and can add loads more.

A good way to ensure you’re adding mass though is to add just a couple of pounds to the weights you lift each week. That way, you know that you have a consistent, progressive overload that will spark new growth and strength.

Either that or set an upper limit to your rep range, and once you hit it, increase the weight.

Roll with the punches and use overload as and when your body lets you. But if you spy an opportunity to get those weights increased, do so.

And enjoy some new muscle.

[infobox]SpotMeBro Solution: Track your weights and periodically try to increase them. Log what you lift and strive to keep adding to it each week.[/infobox]

#2. You’re using the same rep range every week

Science has progressed massively over the last few years.

We know much more now about building muscle than we ever have.

Gone are the days of the ‘hypertrophy’ and ‘strength’ rep ranges.

Yes, heavier weights will get you stronger and lighter weights will build endurance; but if you want get jacked, the bottom line is that you’ll build muscle at any rep range as long as volume is high brah.

Lighter loads produce very similar increases in muscle mass compared to heavier loads. Whether you’re shooting for a 6-8 or a 15-20 rep range, it doesn’t matter

But what does is that you should aim for fatigue in every set and you’ll soon see those muscle mass gains inflate quicker than that blow up doll you ordered from that back street sex shop last month.

You’re probably also targeting different muscle fibers to an extent too with different loads – with lighter reps hitting your type I fibers and heavier smashing your type II fibers more.

Using a planned schedule that allows you to vary rep ranges over time gives you the best of both worlds. Heavy loads are a great way of boosting strength and load volume in fewer reps, whereas lighter weights are less stressful on connective tissue and your central nervous system.

SpotMeBro Solution: Vary your rep range to make maximum gains

Muscular athlete getting ready for a dumbbell bench press on dark background

 #3. You’re training like a lil b*tch

Sometimes you’ve just got to be honest with yourself.

If you’re training like a pussy you’ll look like one too.

Guys that swerve the real weights in favor of chasing the pump every workout just won’t build muscle unless they train to fatigue.

You have to embrace fatigue, not fear it. Live it. Love it.

Basically, while we know that you can build muscle at any rep range, you still need to train hard to build muscle mass.

Training light isn’t an opportunity to train like a lil b*tch and still expect to make gains.

To quote the old saying; “go hard or go home”.

SpotMeBro Solution: Don’t be a pussy. 

#4. Too much guesswork

if you’re the kind of guy that tries to wing his workouts, and instead of having a plan, chooses his exercises purely based on what’s free at the time, you’re losing out big time.

Taking the time to plan your programming schedule in advance means you’re leaving nothing to chance.

The lifters that make the best muscle building gains have a structured workout schedule that details everything from exercise and load selection to rep ranges and rest times.

No guess work.

Just meticulous planing.

You’ve got to approach your gym workouts like you would a job interview or a date. You’ve got to be smart, passionate and organized.

There’s no way are you dicking a girl down on the first date if you don’t bring your A game.

So don’t expect to make those gains either if you aren’t dialed in and ready.

SpotMeBro Solution: Plan your training in advance. Research how you want your training split to work around your availability and don’t deviate from it. 

Bodybuilder poses in front of a mirror in the gym with dumbbells

#5. You’re not eating enough

We know that beginners can build muscle in a small calorie deficit.

But once you find your groove and gone past those first few months of training, you need to start to think about a new strategy.

Achieving a calorie surplus gives you a pool of extra energy to form new muscle cells. It doesn’t have to be a ‘dirty bulk’ where you eat everything in reach.

Even a 20% surplus gives enough fuel to lay down some muscle tissue as get you jacked as fuark. 

And guess what?

If you’re 8 stone wet through, training hard, claiming you’re eating enough and still not growing… you’re most definitely not eating enough at all!

You’ve got to make sure your muscles receive the nutrients and building blocks they need to grow.

Aim to chew through sufficient calories each day and also make sure you get optimal protein as well.

Shooting for around 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight should do the trick.

SpotMeBro Solution: Pick up more food and put it in your mouth. Aim for 0.7-1 g per lb of body weight for optimal muscle building. 

#6. You’re doing too much cardio

Let’s be clear on this one. Cardio doesn’t burn as much muscle as people think it does.

Gone are the days when bodybuilders would refuse to take the stairs because it’d ‘ruin their gainz brah’. 

We know now that as long as protein intake is high, muscle loss isn’t that much of an issue.

But nevertheless, cardio is irrelevant to muscle building goals.

And while are you out doing hours and hours of running or swimming you’re wasting valuable time where you could be lifting heavy sh*t and making gains.

SpotMeBro Solution: Cardio won’t ruin your progress as such; it’s just not beneficial. Ditch it and lift more weights instead. 


It’s easy to get yourself in a rut when it comes to strength training and boosting mass.

There are a huge number of pitfalls, obstacles and common reasons you just can’t build muscle.

But follow our top tips and you’ll soon be stood side by side with the best of the best. And they’ll be the ones asking for your advice on how to get jacked as fuark bro.

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