Welcome to another fortnightly Mass Aesthetics Blog. This week we are going into what Progressive Overload is and why its a necessity for hypertrophy (muscle gain)
So what is progressive overload?
It is a gradual increase in stress placed on the body. In order to grow muscle, increase strength and performance you must force your body to adapt to stresses that is above and beyond what your body is normally accustomed to. This is done gradually over time by increasing volume of work load. Volume = set + reps. To incorporate progressive overload efficiently its vital you write your workouts down and log each set, rep, weight and even rest periods.
Without logging this information, how do you know you are doing more each workout?
People seem to forget to time rest periods in between sets. This is just as important as logging your volume. Without timing your rest period, you can easily get side tracked, maybe talking to your gym buddy our getting an extra workout in with your thumbs on the phone. This will lead to excessive rest and can result in you pushing more weight than usual. Yes of course you'd think this is a good thing right? But wait till your next session where your rest period is a lot shorter, and you are not able to lift as much weight/reps. This will no doubt be disheartening and thats the last thing you want to feel in the gym.
So its all about being consistent with every variable and keeping track of your lifts, trying to push even 1 more rep each exercise. As long as the numbers are going up, your on the right track for gaining muscle. This of course has to be fuelled by a well balanced diet ensuring the calories are high enough to allow for hypertrophy.
Lets make an example of how this will work. Lets say its chest day, you have your workouts set and your prescribed rep range for your flat bench is 8-12 reps.
You are lifting 60kg for 3 sets of 9 reps. Week by week you add a rep to one or all of your working sets. Eventually you get to repping 12 at 60kg. You are now at the limit of your prescribed rep range. Therefor you up the weight to say 65kg, this will take you back to repping within the lower end of the 8-12 rep range. Repeat the process. If you get stuck you may want to add a pause rep or a dropset to add that extra volume.
If after 8-10 weeks you hit a barrier and can no longer progress, its always good to have a deload week. Back off the weight and cruise to around 60% max intensity to give your muscles and central nervous system a good rest. Maybe also switch your workouts and change some exercises around and then go again.
So if you're not gaining like you want to be, ask yourself...I am tracking all variables and making sure I beat myself each week? If not then thats the reason you are not reaching you're potential.
Thanks again for taking the time to read this Blog. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think, or even comment what you'd like us to cover in our next blog :)
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