Progressive Overload and How to Build Muscle

Progressive Overload and How to Build Muscle

Progressive overload involves increasing demand on the body over time to build muscle, increase strength, or get fitter. You must continually make your body work harder than it’s used to to keep getting results.

Let’s look at how it works with some examples.

Say when you start out at the gym you can bench press 40kg for 10 reps and it’s tough. Initially you will start to see gains in strength and size but over time as your body adapts to the exercise, it will become comfortable. 

When your body is comfortable, it has no reason to change and if you continue benching 40kg x 10 reps you will not see any further change. 

Here are some ways you can progress the load on your muscle and see further gains;

  • Increase the weight

Let's say you increase the weight by 2.5kg. This may not seem like a lot but 2.5kg over 10 reps it’s an extra 25kg. If you do that over 3 sets it’s an extra 75kg in volume in 1 exercise alone. 

  • Increase the reps

Let’s say you do 12 reps instead of 10. An extra 2 reps is an extra 40kg in volume. Do that over 3 sets and you have lifted an extra 120kg.

  • Do an extra set

Adding 1 more of 10 reps at 40kg is an extra 400kg worth of volume. 

There are lots of ways to implement progressive overload with fitness goals like running too. Such as increasing distance, speed or time. Try and stick to changing one variable at a time but the key is: if you want to see continuous results, keep progressively overloading your body. 

Every session, think how can I make this slightly harder than last time?

Happy Training

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