Progressive overloading is basically a fancy word for saying : doing more.
Were you ever told you had to ‘confuse your body’ and do different workouts every time you went to the gym? Same. But you don’t have to. Your body doesn’t care if it gets confused and will actually delay your results.
Muscle is built by creating little microtears within the muscle when there is resistance against it whether it’s from a weight or just you lifting your bodyweight. If there is resistance, your body doesn’t like that.
Our bodies are SO smart. They try to be as efficient as possible so we can expend the least amount of force/calories to help us survive longer. When our body is met with resistance, it hates it and wants to change it. Which is where those microtears come into play. When our body makes these tears, in order to not feel the resistance as much next time, our body builds itself back stronger.
That is how muscle is built.
However, if we aren’t adding any new resistance for our body to adapt to, we will stay the same. You know those people..the ones you’ve seen in the gym for last 2 years but they have looked the same the entire time? Ya. Don’t be that person.
Progressive overloading takes what your body is used to and challenges it.
There are a lot of ways it can do this. The most obvious is through adding more weight but that’s not the only way.
You can use a different tempo (which I’ll need for a whole different post) but essentially you’re changing how fast/slow parts of your lift are. For example, when doing a bicep curl if you can’t go up to the next weight, maybe you curl up and then on the way down it takes you 3 seconds instead of one. That would be adding MORE tension to the muscle than it had before and will require it to change.
You can also change your sets and reps. How many total repetitions of the exercise you’re dong. Maybe for the last 8 weeks you’ve been doing 3 sets of 10, to make it more challenging you could do 4 sets of 10 or 3 sets of 12. Anything big or small will force your body to grow.
Something even as simple as having better form would be a way to progressively overload. By hitting the movements better you will achieve more mind/muscle connection and you’ll target the area better than you were before.
There are so many ways to influence how you can grow inside the gym these are just the top 4 I would say.
How to use it to program workouts?
Every single week you should be doing the same workouts and exercises. Yes it is repetitive but if you want your body to grow that’s what it will take. Create or get a split and do it for 4-8 weeks.
Each week when you go to the gym, you should be aiming to change one of those things inside each exercise. You’ll start to notice from week 1 to 4 you will be able to push a lot more weight than you were before and probably realize how easy you were making your workouts.
I program for my individual clients and my subscription girls this way and this is the way to do it if you’re looking to make physique changes, lose your body fat, and gain some muscle!
If you don’t know where to even start with making your own workout programs, check out this link here to see how I can help you!