in your current routine? Have you really
been pushing yourself to improve and use more weight? Even a 5 pound
increase per month is a 60 pound increase after a year.
But I can guarantee you this...
If you've been using the same weight and reps month in and month out
you're never gonna grow! You know what the definition of insanity is
don't you? Doing the same thing you've been doing but expecting
The name of the game to keep you growing is progressive resistance. You
gotta use more weight (my preference) or do more reps than you did the
last time with the same weight. And if you're stuck using the same
weights all the time because of self-imposed limitations, things are
never going to get better. You're just not gonna grow!
Listen here, small but consistent increases in training weights in the
basic exercises equal big muscle increases over time (with the caveat
that you're eating correctly to support muscle mass growth. It is
possible to make good strength increases without much muscle mass
increases. For maximum muscle mass, diet is the key.)
In fact that last statement is so important, I'm going to repeat it as a
Small, consistent increases in training weights in the basic exercises =
Big muscle increases over time!
So what usually stops us from pushing ourselves to consistently increase
our training poundages? Usually fear and self imposed limitations. How
do you overcome your self-imposed mental limitations? You make a
decision to overcome them.
For example, I had been stuck for quite a few months due to some
self-imposed mental limitations (and to be quite honest a little
laziness, too.) So back in March of this year I decided that heavy iron
is what I'm going to strive for and work in the 4 to 6 rep range for a
while in the big basic exercises.
I started out doing bent over barbell rows with 135 pounds. After all,
that's about the most I've ever done in that exercise. (Self-imposed
And besides I tore a muscle in my lower back 15 years ago, so I need to
be careful (Self-imposed mental limitation #2. True to a point...you
should ALWAYS be careful and use good form in your exercises. But this
was just an excuse not to push myself.)
And I also have scoliosis (curvature) of the mid back so I can't really
use heavy weights in the bent over barbell row. (Self imposed limitation
#3. No doctor ever told me this or said I had to restrict weight lifting
I was fed up with not progressing and decided self-imposed limitations
be damned! This was back around the first part of March 2002. The other
day (July 5, 2002) when I worked back I did 2 sets of 5 reps with 255
pounds in the bent over row. And that was after doing 2 sets of chins
with an additional 70 pounds hung from a weight belt! Just 4 short
months ago I never would have believed I could handle that kind of
So how did I do it?
I threw out my self-imposed mental limitations and worked at
consistently adding small increases as often as possible to my training
I've made almost as equally impressive gains in my other exercises, too.
So what effect did this have on my physique? I started out in March at a
fat, out of shape body weight of 165 pounds with about 18% body fat. I
had been training haphazardly and my diet sucked. I had lost about 10
pounds of muscle mass by being lazy and making excuses.
Now (July 2002) I weigh 185 pounds at approx. 10% body fat. Granted I'm
not in contest shape but I've added some significant muscle mass and
even lowered my body fat %. I actually hit 190 in May but started eating
a little cleaner to get my body fat % down.
Now keep in mind, I was eating a diet specifically for adding muscle
mass which included a lot of high quality protein foods.
I'm not telling you all this so I can beat my chest and say "Hey
what I did!" I just hope to inspire you and show you what you can
accomplish once you get rid of your self-imposed mental limitations.
Note: Dan's book "Hardgainer Secrets: Build Up To 25 Pounds Of Muscle In
8 Weeks" is available for instant download at: