How to Progressive Overload In Weight Training

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

All too often I witness people who go to the gym almost every day of the week and do the same exercises, the same reps, and use the same weight time after time after time. These people never seem to make any gains in size or strength, and after a while they become disheartened and decide to stop workout out altogether. This kind of training is simply malarkey, and it does nothing more than waste your time.

Step 2

The real kind of training for anybody hoping to increase strength, size, and athletic ability, is progressive overload training. This kind of training, believe or not, was developed for soldiers being rehabilitated after world war two. That being said, those who were lifting weights were involved with progressive overload training before it had a special name.

Step 3

The concept for progressive overload training is really quite simple. It spans from individual exercises to entire workouts, and it is a guaranteed way of getting bigger and stronger. If you plan on taking weightlifting even a little bit seriously (which you should, because otherwise you're stepping into the gym for no other reason than to touch weights and always look the exact same) then listen up, and apply progressive overload training to your next workout and all the workouts afterwards.

Step 4

For the individual exercise, progressive overload training goes like this: start the exercise with a weight that you can get 10-12 reps out of. This first set will warm your muscles up, and get your body in tune with the movement of that particular exercise. For the next set, raise the weight to a resistance that allows you to get 8-10 reps. This weight will challenge your strength, and begin pushing your muscles to get stronger. For the third set, up the weight so that you can get 6-8 reps out. This set will really test your strength limit, and will overload your muscles. Do this for every exercise in your routine (aside from exercises that are specifically designed for 15 reps, such as front/side/post raises)

Step 5

Moving from individual exercises to entire workouts, progressive overload training works like this: you want to strive to increase the amount of weight every week. So, if you did a set of 10-12 reps with 155 on the bench press during the week before, attempt to do the same amount of reps with a slightly higher weight this week. Similarly, raise the weight on the set of 8-10, and the set of 6-8. This way, you are not only progressively overloading within the workout, but between workouts week to week.

Step 6

This is the way to do progressive overload training. By overloading your muscles within workouts, and between workouts, you are striving to increase strength, size, and athletic ability. All of weightlifting, be it powerlifting, bodybuilding, crossfit training, or anything else, is designed around progressive overload training. This kind of training functions as a guarantee towards bettering yourself and your fitness.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

Doing progressive overload training is only difficult because it requires you to constantly challenge yourself to get better. It's all too easy to get complacent in the weight room, and while that can be nice for not straining too hard, it won't bring you any gains in strength, size, or athleticism. So always work towards pushing your muscles a little more; set by set, week by week, forever and ever...and ever

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Funny or interesting story about this topic...

There was a guy in my gym who, if the average person observed, would fit the bill for a very dedicated weight lifter. He woke up and got to the gym at 6:30 every morning, and he worked out diligently and without socializing the entire time. However, if you observed this guy week by week, as I was able to (as I went to the gym around the same time every morning during high school) you would notice that he never lifted heavier week by week. He would load up a weight that he could easily do, and he would do that weight for the same amount of reps and sets every single time on every single exercise. After 2 years, he looked exactly the same, and everyone else in the gym was getting bigger and bigger. It just goes to show that without progressive overload training, you're really just wasting time with your hands on iron.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

I've been doing progressive overload training since the first week I stepped into the gym. Luckily enough for me, my dad was into weight lifting for years, and was able to mentor me towards methods and techniques that gave me a proper workout experience. I've rarely stagnated, and when I did stagnate, I applied different shock techniques in order to break through plateaus. You can check out the article for shock techniques on this website whenever you feel the need to. But until then, get to some progressive overloading and watch the gains flow.
Happy lifting,

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