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Progressive Overload

Bodybuilding Progressive Overload Workout

Progressive overload means increasing the demands that you put on your musculoskeletal system to increase muscle size, strength and your endurance. You need to continually lift more weight to make your muscles work a little harder than they worked the last time you trained that body-part.

If the demands that you put on your muscles are not maintained, your muscles will become weaker and smaller. Progressive overload is the foundation upon which all resistance training is built.

Progressive overload also increases your bone and your connective tissue strength plus it also improves your cardiovascular fitness and all the associated physiological changes which happen from doing any progressive cardiovascular exercise routine.

If you can lift 20 pounds for 8 reps using good form and the next week you find that you can do it a little easier than last week, it means your body has adapted to the demands, the stress you placed on that muscle group. They do not need to get larger, the adaptation is complete.

To increase the size of the targeted muscle you either need to increase the weight that is being lifted or the amount of reps you're lifting. This is called progressive resistance without which you will never continue to increase lean body mass on a sustainable basis.

Below is a list of 7 things you can change to ensure that progressive resistance is maintained when you train. The first 6 points are ways that you can use to increase training volume, increasing the total volume your muscles perform. The last point is to do the same work-load in less time, with the same result.

1 - Increase Resistance

As soon as you are able to lift more reps than you targeted then it's time to increase the weight that you lift. Like doing 3 X 10, if you can do 11 reps then you need to increase the weight.

2 - Increase Sets

Adding more sets increases the volume so that you can really fatigue the muscles to the maximum.

3 - Increase Repetitions

Even if you use a spotter to help you squeeze out another rep, it will make a difference, as long as good from is maintained. If you can add another rep without help, then you need to increase the weight.

4 - Increase Frequency

Increase the number of times a week that you target a specific body-part is a good way to concentrate on any lagging body-parts that you might have. For some people training a body-part only once a can be slowing progress. You need to learn how to listen to your body so you always keep your muscles guessing.

5 - Increase Exercises

Increasing the number of the exercises that you perform on any targeted muscle group can often shock your muscles into growth. For example, one could add a triceps movement to isolate the long head of your triceps to create a full, stronger triceps muscle.

6 - Increase Intensity

The intensity you train with is a vitally important factor for progressive overload. If you increase the intensity or effort that you lift the weight, you will be able to push your muscles beyond what they are used to. A good training partner will ensure that you are putting everything into each rep you do.

7 - Decrease Rest Time

If you can reduce the rest time between sets, you will be able to force your body to perform all the metabolic adaptations, removing toxins caused by anaerobic exercise a little faster and a bit more efficiently than last time. This will result in you being able to lift more weight in less time, progressive overload.

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