Firstly, even the most retarded gym rat should understand this fundamental principle. If you're not using more weight/doing more reps/using harder exercises/doing less rest between sets/doing more sets etc. then you will not see any difference in your strength and how you look. Tattoo these words on your forehead to remind you this anytime you want to change something and get weaker instead of getting stronger. Fuck, you can do 2-3 exercises all your life and keep getting stronger in them and you will be a powerhouse in 5-10 years. Keep getting progressively stronger in your training and you're on the right track. Rethink your training today, make progressiveness your number one priority (not some stupidity, brand new gadget or fancy exercise) and you'll get results finally.
Secondly, through experience I came to conclusion that resistance is resistance. It doesn't matter where it comes from. Barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, bodyweight, sandbag - all the same. Either has it's own pluses and minuses (which I discussed here). But do you really think that it matters to your body what you use in your training? The right answer is no, it doesn't matter. You think you can't gain mass with bodyweight training? Make it progressive and work up to hardest exercises FOR REPS (of course, you need to get your diet and rest right which I will discuss later) and tell me how you look. You will look big, athletic and awesome (with a bonus of being able to insanely control your body). The same is true for kettlebell or sandbag master. Pick up the resistance you like, make it progressive and you'll be amazed with results. You know why barbells are considered the king in gaining strength and size? Because it's extremely easy to make their resistance progressive with all those plates in the widest weight range possible. If it becomes easy to press given weight just add a couple of kilograms (or just one, or a half) and be happy. No need to overthink. With bodyweight strength training everything is WAY more complicated. Everytime you move to harder exercise it could be a HUGE jump in resistance. For example, handstand push-ups became easy and you decide to move to diamond handstand pushups. Well, to your big surprise you might not be able to do even a single. Then you try 1/2 diamond handstand push-up (or even 1/4). The same with kettlebells. 16 kg then 24 kg. Wow, it's fucking 8 kgs! That's why so many people fail to get results with unconventional strength training tools.
Take-home point: pick resistance you like, make it progressive and train to success.
Protein is crucial for building muscle. Any average gym rat should know that. But I rarely find people who want to build muscle AND consume adequate amounts of protein daily. 1 g per 1 lb of bodyweight? 2 g per kg? Well, this will work for some people. I mean, genetic freaks and people who just started training. But for the majority it's really low number. If your training is ok (it means that you're getting stronger on a regular basis) and you consume enough calories (it means more than you burn throughout the day) but still your muscles don't grow then you might be not getting enough protein.
What is enough? 1.5 g per 1 lbs of bodyweight (3.5 g per 1 kilogram) is a good starting point. Some people will need more than that. For example, 2 g per 1 lbs of bodyweight (4.5 g per 1 kilogram). That's pretty big numbers but that might be the most important diet change you need to make to start growing.
Some people can argue that you don't need so much protein but highly likely that they have pretty good genetics or are fat bastards that think that they're muscular. These numbers are not got from air. These are real-world numbers that work for majority of trainees. I learned them from Wesley Silveira a.k.a. Iron Addict and Charles Poliquin, as well as from some other authors who I trust. Then I checked them and was amazed with results. Don't be fooled. You need ultra-high protein doses to grow. Period. And muscle growth is not the only positive effect of high-protein consumption. Improved fat loss is what I've noticed while experimenting. It's really insane. Up your protein intake and see for yourself.
I don't recommend high-protein diet if you have any kidney disease. Consult your doctor on this topic first.
Side note: there are some cases when you can get away with less protein. And I mean intermittent fasting and Warrior Diet. But that's the theme for another post in future. If you follow basic eat-whole-day approach then the numbers are accurate.
Patience is the third crucial factor of training (as well as any) success. How pity that nowadays less and less people understand this important principle. To achieve something worthwhile you need time. I mean TIME. And lots of it. No great strength and physique were built in 4 weeks. So why do you think that you can rebuild yours in that time frame There are tons of hype out there. You need to separate truth from myth. Yes, you can gain some decent amount of muscle in short period of time. I've seen it, I've done it. But it is possible in two situations:
1. You're just started training and eating right.
2. You wasn't training and eating properly for awhile and regained what you previously had due to muscle memory.
Don't search quick fixes. They won't last long. Make training, eating and rest your habit, your new lifestyle. And only then you'll be able to get the results you want. Give your goals time. Muscle gain of 10 lbs per year of consistent training is pretty good solid result for average natural trainee. Some will be able to gain more (especially in first year), some will gain less due to crappy genetics. But anyway, with such speed you'll end up 30 lbs (15 kg) bigger in 3 years. 80 kg trainee will be 95 kg and will look TOTALLY different. Well, he won't remind Dorian Yates but he'll definitely be a powerhouse.
Just think about it. You don't expect just planted seed to grow in 3 hours, right? So don't expect your strength and muscles to grow that fast. It's a daily routine. The only method to speed up results is to find what works for you and stick to it for as many days per year as possible.
Patience always pays off.
Strength and physique building is not a rocket science. Yes, it involves thinking but everything's plain simple (not easy, though). I hope this article taught you something new. Follow these principles and get results you've deserved. Thanks for reading. Spead the knowledge.