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What is Progressive Overload and How it Effects Your Muscle Gains




Have you trained for a long time already and no muscle gains are seen? Are you disappointed with it and plan to quit the gym? Well, is not the case to rush things as the main cause for this could be a problem that many newbie bodybuilders overlook. It is about progressive overload, which means putting a continued stress on your body to make it grow. No progressive overload means that your body doesn't need to adapt to something new,  thus no gains in strength and muscle mass are achieved, and you just keep the muscles you have.

Progressive overload lays on the basis of strength training and is not less important than diet, rest time or exercise program you decided to follow for building the appearance you dream of. Experienced bodybuilders have passed already through the progressive increase of demand put on muscle because they manage to pack on a great amount of muscle mass and now more worried about how to keep it.

Controversially to this, newbies often think that taking some weights and training as much as possible is the right path to follow toward big muscles. This is the moment when getting knowledge about progressive overload help you lot and leads you directly to your goals. Our body has the ability to adapt to everything we give it.

For example, if you take some drugs for a long time, at some point they begin to be less effective on you since your body get accustomed to it. The same happens when it comes to muscle stress. You have to strive to increase the level of stress periodically in order to force your body to respond to new demands.

Let’s assume you use to do 1 set of bench presses for 30 pounds at 7 reps. Right from the start, it may seem difficult for you to perform, but with time you notice that it becomes easier and easier to do them. There were some muscle gains but at this moment you get stacked into a plateau and you just keep the muscle you have.

The main explanation for this is that body adapted to demand you put on it and it doesn’t feel the need to grow further. It is already a developed muscle and the level of stress you put on it is too low. Following the same training will give you no results and soon comes a time when you get frustrated about it.

To make you muscle get bigger and bigger with every week you have to increase the demand. This is a long-term process and lasts until you reach your natural potential. Have to be said, that beginners do much better with progressive overloading.

Must Read: Top 5 Keys to Build Muscle and Strength

First few weeks or months are the most productive for each bodybuilder, as the time goes on it becomes harder and harder to keep muscle grow at the same speed you do it initially. That’s why experienced bodybuilders have a much careful approach to how to progressive overload, while beginners go great on just changing the weights with every week.

So, progressive overloading is about doing more than you do last time in the gym. Going beyond the limits you set last on you last training is the key to a successful muscle building process. But, how progressive overload can be diversified?

This is a good question because most of the people think that the only variable that can be changed is the weight they work with. Things are much more than this. Generally, progressive overloading includes any change you can bring to your training session in order to increase the stress you put on muscles.

Here are some ways to diversify your training:


-Do more reps. When training with bigger weights is not a viable solution for you, you can try to do some extra reps for some exercises. Do them alone if you feel confident, or resort to a spotter help. Try to push your limits and do exercises until failure. Such a combination has a bomb effect on muscles.

- Do more sets. Go for more sets every time you are able to reach your target number with modest efforts. This means that your body is ready for more and you just have to give it.

-Exercise more frequently. Usually, a muscle group is trained once or twice a week.  For smaller muscle, this could not be enough to make them grow continuously. In such situations increasing the number of training sessions per week can be a good idea. But make sure you give them enough time for recovery between sessions, otherwise, you risk to get overtrained or even injured.

-Do more exercises. There are so many exercises to try that promise great results for a different group of muscles. As a beginner, your training program will consist of basic exercises, which are most productive and fit your level. With time, you can add to your training program new exercises and thus put a new level of stress on your muscles.

Progressively overload works sometimes in his own way. It is the case when you are disparately implementing one by one manipulation mentioned above but you still get stuck in plateaus and no gains are seen. Surprisingly, there are cases when you are not following any rules and continue to train randomly but gains are quite visible.

I’m sure you face such situation too and there is no scientific explanation for this. These are the moment when our bodies work an unpredictable way and despite it is quite strange, it happens. You will not be a lucky person for a long time. Bad habits always have negative results on your health. So, stay on the track and just time to time enjoy such escapes.

The dream of each bodybuilder is to keep muscle growing at the high rate for a long time. Great to want it, but it is quite hard to achieve it especially when you are not a beginner already. Using progressive overload techniques are perfect for making your muscle growth, but you have to be careful do not get overtrained. Make sure they fit your fitness level, as to be able to enjoy the results you get.


Building muscle mass is what I like to talk about. If your aim is to build a solid body, then my posts would be very beneficial to you. I always want to know your opinion, so don't hesitate to drop a line below or contact me.

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