Tip: Why Natural Lifters Can't Grow (Much)

Aside from their deficiency in bodybuilding drugs, most natty lifters make two training mistakes. Here's how to fix them.

The Problems

Natural lifters often make two common mistakes:

  1. They try to specialize in building muscle too early. They never really build a base of strength to support more advanced, bodybuilding-style training.
  2. They change exercises too often. This can even lead to program hopping: jumping from one plan to the next before they've even given the first plan a chance to work. This is a monkey-mind mentality.

The Solution

Increasing your workout or movement frequency – lifting 4-5 days a week – is a foundational strategy for building both strength and mass. Here's what it'll do for you:

Increase your motor learning

Motor learning is basically familiarizing yourself with a particular exercise until that movement becomes natural. It's simple really. The more often you perform a movement, the more familiar your muscle memory becomes in performing that movement.

Better motor learning will yield better long-term progress because you'll be able to move more weight, improve muscle fiber recruitment, and create more mechanical tension directly in your muscles.

Increase your protein synthesis

The more often you train a muscle the more protein synthesis you'll trigger. Protein synthesis is the fundamental biological process by which cells build their specific proteins – and your muscles grow through this process.

High movement frequency is the key that unlocks the protein synthesis process for days on end. Studies have shown that protein synthesis responds to resistance training and lasts about 24-48 hours afterward.

That's one of the main reasons why training a muscle group frequently (verses once a week or so on "chest day") is a crucial aspect of making strength and size gains – because it keeps protein synthesis at its peak. The more often you train the muscle the more consistent protein synthesis will be.

Also, protein synthesis keeps you in an anabolic (muscle building) state and keeps your testosterone levels elevated. As a result, you can expect to make consistent gains in size and strength.

Need a sample program? Check out Natural Gains: The Proven Training Strategies.

Eric Bach is a highly sought-after strength and conditioning coach, located in Colorado. Eric specializes in helping athletes and online clients achieve optimal performance in the gym and on the playing field. Follow Eric Bach on Facebook