In order to see any results with your physique, you should always remember to do better in every workout than you did the last. Whether your goal is to build muscle or lose fat, you won’t progress if you don’t make any improvements in your workouts. This is what they call the “law” of progressive overload. Failing to do so will result in a plateau.
What Is Progressive Overload?
To simplify it for you, the “law” of progressive overload simply means that you must increase the weight you’re lifting or number of reps every workout to stimulate muscle growth. So for example, if you bench pressed 225 pounds last week for 6 reps, you should aim to do 8 reps this week or add on 10 pounds of weight equalling to 235 pounds. Other than boosting muscle growth, progressive overload also stimulates the development of stronger and denser bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
When you’re increasing the weights, you don’t necessarily have to do it for every single set of every single exercise. Just make sure that you’re progressing on the working sets (which is usually the last set/sets of an exercise). I don’t recommend that you increase the weights though unless you can normally do 8 reps of a certain weight. If you’re benching 225 pounds for only 6 reps, don’t increase the weight until you can bench 225 for 8 reps. If you can do that on a regular basis, that’s when you start to put more weight.
Meanwhile, increasing reps is also another way to apply progressive overload. If you can lift a weight without much effort, then aim to do more reps every week. And if you can do 100 reps of an exercise, maybe you should stop lifting sissy weights and lift like a big boy.
Does Progressive Overload Really Work?
Consistent overloading of your muscles is the most well-known tip in the fitness/bodybuilding world. A lot of people know they should lift heavier weights each and every week, but not a lot of people do because 1) they don’t keep a log of their workouts so they forget and 2) they don’t really care much to improve. When people go the gym, they’re satisfied with just stepping in the gym and doing something instead of sitting at home. Setting goals is the way to go.
My gains and results have accelerated ever since I applied progressive overload. Our bodies, especially our muscles, adapt to everything we do. If you’re seeking to improve your physique, you must not let your body adapt. You should consistently improve your workouts in some way every week to stimulate the muscle fibers to grow.
Notice those people in your gym that still look the same after months and even years of working out? It could only be one of two reasons: they don’t eat enough, or they don’t lift enough. It’s as simple as that.
Don’t be one of those guys in the gym. Eat big. Lift big.
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