Why Am I Not Getting Stronger? 5 Reasons and How To Fix Them

"I've Been Exercising. Why Am I Not Getting Stronger?"

It can be frustrating when you're exercising but not getting stronger.

Watch this video to learn 5 reasons why people fail to get stronger despite exercising. Plus learn how you can avoid them so that you can make your workouts work for you.

1. Lack of Consistency with Exercise

The first reason you may not be getting stronger despite exercising is that you're not exercising consistently enough.

Just about every major health organization including the Department of Health and Human Services, the American Heart Association, and the American College of Sports Medicine, recommends getting 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week and 2 days of strength training per week.

But that is the BARE MINIMUM that you should be getting every single week without fail.

It's okay to do more than that. 

If you're not getting at least two days of strength training per week, it's very unlikely that you'll build strength.

Furthermore, many people don't give exercise enough time to get stronger.

They expect immediate gains and immediate improvements.

It takes at least 6-8 weeks to build muscle tissue or cause hypertrophy.

You can see gains in performance and increases in strength before then just by your brain learning how to do the exercise better.

However, order to see actual true muscle building, it takes six to eight weeks.

Therefore, if you're not training a minimum of 2 days per week for at least 2 months, chances are you probably aren't going to see any gains.

Make sure you're giving yourself enough time to actually get results.

2. Not Working Hard Enough to Force Muscle Adaptations

The second reason you may not be getting stronger, is that you just may not be working hard enough.

I know that sounds a bit harsh, but it's often true.

There's a principle called the SAID principle, or Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.

It's also sometimes referred to as the overload principle. I

n order to build muscle and gain strength, you have to push your muscles to a level that they haven't been before.

If you go to the gym consistently enough but you're doing the same thing week after week after week, your body has no reason to adapt or get stronger.

In order to get stronger, you need to have a stimulus to cause an adaptation response.

That can be lifting more weight or doing more repetitions.

People wonder often wonder, "How many sets, how many reps do I need to do to get stronger?"

But that's really the wrong question.

What's important is that you're working your muscles to fatigue.

To truly get stronger, exercise needs to feel at least a little hard.

Once you get to the point where the exercise is hard, then you probably actually need to do a few more repetitions beyond that.

It may hurt a little bit, it may feel uncomfortable.

However, there's a difference between exercise-type muscle soreness and bad pain... and it's important to know the difference because.

Although you want to push yourself through the exercise-type soreness, you don't want to cause an injury.

If you cause an injury, then you're going to have to take time off of exercise.

... which comes back to principle number one: not exercising consistently enough.

Make sure you're pushing yourself to a level where it feels hard and then possibly a little beyond that, but you're not taking yourself to the point where you're causing injury.

3. Overtraining

The next reason you may no be getting stronger is just the opposite of the previous one.

And that's overtraining.

If you're training too hard, too often, with not enough rest and recovery in between, then it puts your body in a situation where you're not going to build new muscle.

When you exercise, you're actually breaking down muscle tissue.

It's the stimulus, to force an adaptation response.

But it's the repair and recovery between exercise sessions that actually builds muscle and causes you to get stronger.

In the best-case scenario, overtraining increases cortisol, which is a catabolic hormone that breaks down body tissue.

It breaks down muscle tissue, increases your blood sugar and blood pressure, and weakens bones.

Persistently elevated cortisol levels will keep you from getting stronger.

However, overtraining can also result in injury, which again comes back to not training consistently enough.

If you get injured, then you're not going to be able to exercise consistently enough to see results.

4. Improper Form and Technique

The fourth reason you may not be getting stronger despite exercising is improper exercise technique.

There are far too many exercises to go through proper technique for every single exercise in one video or blog post.

However, if you're not using proper technique, then you may not be working the correct muscles. And if you're not working the correct muscles, then they're not going to get stronger

Furthermore, using improper technique can lead to injury, and that leads back to consistency.

If you get injured and you can't exercise for a period of time, you're either not going to get stronger.

You may even lose some of the strength gains that you worked so hard to gain.

So using proper exercise technique is important.

If you live in the St. Louis area and need help to learn correct exercise technique, tap the button below to request an appointment with one of our orthopedic physical therapy specialists.

5. Poor Nutrition

The fifth reason you may not be getting stronger despite exercising is improper nutrition.

Proper nutrition gives you the energy to work out as intensely as you need to.

Vitamins and minerals help to catalyze chemical reactions in our body.

Carbohydrates are burned to give you energy.

However, one one common reason you may not be getting stronger is lack of enough protein.

Protein is like the brick and mortar that makes up your muscles.

Imagine if you were building a house and you had a whole construction crew show up at the job site but they didn't have any bricks or wood; you probably wouldn't get anything done.

It's the same with your body.

If you're getting proper nutrition, exercising often enough with correct technique and intensely enough, but you don't have enough protein, then you're not going to have the raw materials to build muscle.

One common reason why people don't get enough protein, especially as they're aging, is that as you age you become generally less active. Your energy requirements go down, and therefore your appetite tends to go down as well.

When people eat less, they tend to eat less proportionally.

So you get less carbohydrates, less fat, and less protein.

But as you age, your protein requirements stay the same or even increase slightly.

Therefore, if you're decreasing everything proportionally, you may not be getting enough protein to build muscle or prevent muscle loss.

If you can't get enough protein from food due to lack of appetite, using a protein supplement can help.

This is the protein supplement that I personally use at least twice daily.

Isagenix Whole Blend Protein Supplement

This is a high-protein (24 grams) meal replacement shake made from whey, fruits, and vegetables. There's also a plant-based version.

This may or may not work for you... it's just what I use.


So those were the 5 most common reasons why people fail to get stronger.

Need Help To Get Stronger?

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