Health and Fitness


How to build muscle using progressive overload workout



The perfect way to build muscle strength and weight in your lifts can be summarized in two words i.e. progressive overload. In this article, you will know different ways you can raise the difficulty and strength in your workouts to get maximum gains.

First of all, it’s necessary to determine your specific goals. Don’t just mix up the strength and mass together, they’re separate. Building muscle mass can lead us to several paths. We can add light weights, and do them for much longer reps and still gain muscle mass, but it won’t change our strength level.

How to build muscle using progressive overload workout
© The Muscle Principle

If you’re searching to develop your overall appearance, the main cause you may be failing is most possible because you don’t want to leave your comfort zone and you are afraid to try new challenges. Your muscle develops bigger and stronger in response to the training incentive, but for more gains, you need to extend making bigger requirements on it. If you don’t progressive overload your muscles by pushing them to do more workout than they’re habitual to, they have no motivation to make more changes.

The human body will not grow unless it’s forced to. That’s why you can never be satisfied with your workout programs. Once you get into your comfort zone and the workouts or exercises are no more difficult, then your progress will become flat.


What does Progressive Overload mean?

What does Progressive Overload mean?
© PopSugar

This progressive overload training generally includes constantly increasing the requirements on the musculoskeletal system to continuously develop gains in muscle size, power, and endurance. Simply set, to become bigger and stronger, you must regularly train your muscles to work harder than they’re used to. Most frequently, that involves increasing the resistance, but as you’ll discover below, there are different ways of increasing the progressive overload.

Conversely, if the requirements on the target muscle groups are not at least maintained or are reduced, your muscles will start losing size, power, and endurance. Progressive overload principle is a very easy but important concept, setting the grounds upon which strong resistance workout is developed.

The progressive overload principle doesn’t practice just to lift heavy weights to develop muscle mass and strength. It can also be implemented to cardiovascular-fitness programs, forming physiological changes that change aerobic metabolism and the cardiorespiratory practice.

Why Progressive Overload Is So Powerful

Why Progressive Overload Is So Powerful
© TRAIN Magazine

Now let’s assume that when you move to the gym, you are working to build more extra muscle and get more powerful. If this is not your intention, and you are just going there to do exercise and stay fit. In this case, progressive overload will not be as necessary for you.

This is because you are not deciding to progress. Instead, you are satisfied just staying the same – in terms of your size/power. There is nothing wrong with that! If this is you, I would advise that you stop browsing this article.

But if the above example isn’t you. You want to become bigger, stronger, and more muscular. Then this is why a progressive overload program is necessary.

The method of building muscle mass is known as hypertrophy. There are three main techniques to stimulate hypertrophy, which are:

  • Progressive Overload Hypertrophy
  • Muscle Damage/Loss
  • Celular Tiredness

Now we’ve already discussed what is the progressive overload training program? So to get it in a larger connection let’s immediately take a glimpse at the other two different methods to reach hypertrophy.

Muscle damage or Loss is the injury that you are making to your muscles when weightlifting, as opposed to progressive overload which suggests to the pressure you are giving them below.

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When you lift heavy weights at the gym, placing your muscles beneath stress creates a level of damage to the original muscle fibers. When you afterward allow them to recover from the damage. Also hoping that you are taking sufficient nutrition – they will repair themselves with more powerful fibers than earlier.

Cellular Fatigue, on the opposite side, is produced by forcing your muscles to their metabolic limits, thereby making muscle failure.

This is generally obtained by doing a more number of repetitions in every set. All of these methods can be achieved by gym exercise. Overall, progressive overload is the most powerful at producing hypertrophy muscle growth.

This is why people who only focus on performing more reps of lightweight usually don’t get very great outcomes, in terms of their physical improvement. The equivalent is right for people who focus greatly on supersets, drop sets, or different unusual exercises. They are many more expected to cause cellular fatigue to fibers than progressive overloading.

Progressive Overloading In Progress

Let’s imagine you complete a set of the barbell biceps curl with your 8 reps, which appears to be 75 pounds. As time passes, you’ll get more powerful, and your biceps will be a little larger as a consequence. Performing eight repetitions is no longer very difficult.

As your biceps have adjusted to the first overload you started, where do you want to work now? Do you wish to stay performing the equivalent load for the same amount of repetitions, or are there variations you should reconsider doing?

If you remain doing that particular set of 75 pounds for 8 repetitions, don’t anticipate any more gains. There’s no more extra cause for your biceps to become larger or stronger. They’re now able of managing the overload. Still, your biceps will grow bigger and stronger if you put even bigger weights on them.

Here are some best methods to increase progressive overload

1.  Increase The Resistance And Weight

Increase The Resistance And Weight
© Verywell Fit

The most simple way to increase progressive overload routine is by increasing the resistance and weight on your muscles. If 75 pounds is too light when curling, try adding 5 pounds more on both sides of the bar. That should be more difficult for you to curl. Learn, there’s an inverse relationship between weight and reps. So when you increase the load, your reps are declining to fall to some extent. That’s completely OK because shortly, you’ll get more powerful with that resistance and be able to repeat the sequence.

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Weight training

The easiest way to produce progressive overload weight training is to add weight to the workouts you’re doing in the gym. Increasing the weight is going to improve the strength of your muscle. Also, increasing weights on a compound exercise like a deadlift will produce an impact on strength. This isn’t equal as doing a single-rep maximum on your deadlift, but slightly progressively raising the weight at which you can do a definite number of repetitions.


2. Increase The Repetitions And Pace

Increase The Repetitions And Pace
© Built With Science

You don’t certainly have to add more weight; alternatively, as you get more powerful, you can only do more repetitions, which is viewed as different means of progressing the overload. Never stop reps when you reach an absolute rep count. Continue performing till you can’t perform any more on your own with good form.

Exercise psychology shows that to maximize your muscle-building efforts, the limit at which you complete your set should be in the 8 to 12 repetitions range. So you wouldn’t need to continually keep continuing reps as you get stronger. It’s because those extra gains at some limit would increase muscle endurance rather than muscle mass. When you reach 12 repetitions or so, you should perform resistance training rather than just trying to do more reps. With resistance training, your reps will come down, but it’ll hold you in that perfect range for hypertrophy.

Always Try To Maintain The Pace

It often seems easier to finish out fast repetition of a workout than to hold a position for certain amount to seconds. It’s because in the last you’re building pressure. It’s important to include a pause into any exercise. Pausing in between of a dumbbell curl, at the hardest part of the motion, makes it more challenging. That is going to raise the time that we are considering that pressure on every single repetition, producing more overload than we just did it in a regular up-down method.

3. Increase The Volume

Increase The Volume
© Antti Lehikoinen

This is another way to maximize your gains with the help of progressive overload. Volume is just is a combination of sets, reps, and resistance( sets x reps x resistance). By combining more sets i.e. either by performing more workouts or adding extra set for your present exercises. You’re obtaining progressively larger stress on your muscle tissue. Learn that because your reps are completely limited to the 8 to 12 range and the weights you use don’t increase quickly to stay in that range, raising your total sets is the most reliable way to improve total exercise volume.

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That may suggest that performing 3 sets rather than 2 for all the workouts in your routine or adding a different angle to target another area of the muscle.

4. Experiment With Training Frequency

Experiment With Training Frequency
© Pinterest

Similar to volume, increasing or experimenting with the frequency with which you exercise a muscle group can raise the overload. And, similar to volume, you can make too many of a good thing. This method works especially well when targeting a weak body part. The common way to training a muscle group is one during the training split, but exercising it more often may help bring it up, particularly when worked as a short-term approach.

5. Reduce Rest Time Between Sets

Reduce Rest Time Between Sets
© Onnit

There’s another way to increase the overload: decreasing your rest time between sets, finally letting you do an equal amount of work in a shorter time. This mechanism needs your body to enhance more metabolically active about anaerobic exercise i.e. weightlifting.

Take Proper Rest After Performing Your Exercise

Reducing the rest time between the sets is the perfect way to increase overload. But, after completing one full exercise with all sets. Take proper rest to get ready for another exercise. It’s because you need the energy to perform another exercise. This can only be achieved by taking rest after completing your whole exercise. Your rest period in between different exercises can also influence your capacity to grow strength and size. Reducing inter set rest time indicates you’re delivering the same output, but in less time, building an increased demand on the muscle group you’re working.

6. Maximize The Effort And Range of Movement

Maximize The Effort And Range of Movement
© Metabolic Fitness Studios

Doing a workout to the full range of motion likely possible. It implies that the weight moving a long distance, and more extra work done. It suggests there is a perfect opportunity for progressive overload strength training. When it comes to different exercises, the fitness trainer suggests a variation in that workout.

For example: to use the variation on a deadlift, the fitness trainer advises standing on something to generate more distance between you and the bar. Even though the weight remains the same, the range of motion is longer, hence the work performs in a variation of the deadlift is more.

A different way to obtain the most of that range of movement without joining weight is to growing pressure. For example, on an exercise like a dumbbell curl, the training is most challenging in the middle of the movement, while on a banded curl, it’s toughest at the top. Mixing the two exercises and doing a banded dumbbell curl can improve the effectiveness completely more of the range of motion.

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Making the Progressive Overload Workout Program

Making the Progressive Overload Workout Program
© Medium

So far, we’ve only been understanding in theory above. So let’s summarize it, and how you can efficiently implement progressive overload bodybuilding into your workouts.

Let’s break progressive overload into five easy steps:

  1. Keep a constant repetition range for each of your workouts. Fitness expert would suggest sticking within the 4 to 6 range or sometimes the 6 to 8 range, depending on the workout. If you’re searching to maximize hypertrophy. Still, if you favor going to a different range like 8 to 10 or 10 to 12, that is completely fine.
  2. For each workout, learn the amount of weight that you can raise within that repetition range. Like, for a rep range between 6 to 8 try to lift heavy weights because it can be done easily. And for the rep range between 10 to 12, include moderate weight and slowly increase weight as you get use to it.
  3. Every time you go to the gym, decide to increase either the number of repetitions or the weight for every workout you do. We would recommend you to talk to a fitness expert. Go with a weight where you can just do 4 reps initially keeping proper form.
  4. Once you can perform 6 repetitions of that weight, you would raise the weight by 5 to 10 pounds. This should give you capable to do around 4 reps.
  5. You would then only work up with the increased weight, every week shifting for another rep till you can make 6 reps. Then add 5 to 10 pounds more weight. As this method needs consistency to be successful, you must be determined by your exercises.


Conclusion of Progressive Overload

You can include any of those techniques in your workout, but it’s important to concentrate on just one at a time. As change happens, and it will, it’s great to know you have some alternatives available, particularly if just putting more weight on the bar just doesn’t appear to work anymore.

This article provides you an essential plan into beginning to include the principle of progressive overload in fitness but I won’t assume that it provides you the full roadmap here.

It is just one part of the puzzle. You’ll however need to think out a practical workout program, frequency, rep-range, etc.

Also, there are various circumstances to consider. For example, if you aren’t consuming enough calories, and taking the proper balance of macronutrients. You aren’t going to get as much progress getting consistent strength gains as you would be if you had your nourishment in perfect form.

We hope this article helped you to know about How to build muscle using progressive overload workout. You may also want to see our guide on How To Use Menstrual Cups Without Leakage and How To Overcome Or Get Rid Of Procrastination.

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