How to Progressive Overload

Let's Talk Progressive Overload



Building muscle isn’t all bro tanks and protein shakes. Building muscle is built (no pun intended) on the concept of progressive overload. It may sound like a rather aggressive term, but it’s really just a foundation to help get you to where you want to be. Progressive overload is the process of creating additional stress to your body in a progressive and strategic manner. It’s all about consistently challenging your muscles by making them do more than they are used to. Let’s just cut to the chase. Our bodies won’t change unless we give it a reason to. So, if you want to increase endurance, strength, and muscle size, you need to continually increase the demands on your body. 


There’s a science to it – Just like you a learn a combo in a boxing class or a specific flow in a yoga class


1.Increase Resistance: Increasing weight or resistance with your exercises will continuously challenge muscles. 


2.Increase sets and reps: You don’t always need to add weight in order to challenge your muscles. There’s an easy fix: add another set or another 2 reps each time. 


3.Increase the amount you train: This doesn’t mean you need to add the number of times per week you train, rather it is a suggestion to add more exercises to each training session. Increase that volume!


4.Decrease rest time: You probably didn’t think you’d see the word decrease in this article. Well.. we like to prove people wrong. You can increase progressive overload by decreasing the amount of rest in between each set. It requires your body to get more acclimated to working that hard without a lot of rest time to recoup. 


The best part of progressive overload is that it is strategic – the whole point of it is to be strategic. It is recommended to pick one of the strategies for progressive overload and stick to that for a while. It is critical to figure out what works for you vs. your training partner. It is also important to note that increasing weight every time is the way to go, but after a while, you are going to have to make sure that the increased weight is going according to your body and goals (sorry, five pounds each time won’t cut it). Always remember that if the heavier weight comes at the cost of proper form, it is OKAY to taper back. You’ll thank yourself later. 


Deload: Another word you probably didn’t think you’d see in this article. Some people who focus on progressive overload use deload. It starts with a process of adding about 5% weight each week and then when it gets to reach that overload phase, decrease by 10% to let your muscles shock and grow. 


Isolation lifts: Compound movements are great and will definitely take you far. You want to make it to that next level? Combine isolation lifts with compound movements for the ULTIMATE workout and progress. 


We’re talking about progressive overload here, but remember not to overload about progress. Put in the work, listen to your body, continue to learn, and the progress will come. 



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