Progression overload, Know how to grow.
Today we are going to dig into progressive overload. Progressive overload is the key principal to making gains, it is the need to repetitively increase the stress placed on the body with strict form in order for it to grow.
Without progressive overload your body does not need to adapt and therefore will never get bigger or stronger beyond a certain point.
Previously we went into detail about repetitions, now that you know all about rep ranges. We can go into a little more detail on how to progress through the reps to grow or get stronger.
The main principle behind this idea is to progress through each rep range over time to stimulate the body into growth. Let’s take hypertrophy reps for example (8-12 reps) to progress you should aim to work through the rep range with a set weight e.g. 10kg dumbbell for shoulder press. Once your able to hit 12 reps you would start at 8 reps again with a heavier load and so on. Some times you will find that you can’t complete full reps towards the end of a set but you can do a couple half reps or you can’t quite lift the next weight up for 8 reps so what do you do? When in this situation there are two things you can do the first is assisted reps. This involves your training partner supporting you (spotting) at the point of struggle usually on the concentric phase. This however, for the spotter does NOT mean lifting the entire weight for the poor soul who has just busted their ass for 4 sets and is sweating profusely from every bodily pore.
Let’s go back to a shoulder press the point of struggle which needs spotting is usually just as the dumbbell is passing the top of the head and that’s it (start and end point of spotting) unless it is pretty clear they are struggling.
The second thing you can do when training solo is rest pause reps, this would be where you would perform as many full reps as you can then rest for 3 seconds (human seconds) then continue on with your reps, this is only one set. Back to the shoulder press if you could perform 6 full reps you would rest after these 6 reps for 3 seconds then continue on with two more reps giving you a total of 8 reps in one set. Occasionally after a long gruelling session of boulder lifting you may find that you have to use rest pause reps more than once, don’t fret you’ve just exhausted your muscles more than usual. Muscle exhaustion should be the objective of each session, each exercise; If you want to grow that is.
We’ve got to progressively push our body further each time we go to the gym to lift heavier, lift for more reps/sets or lift with different exercises if you want your body to grow. Train the same, remain the same (pure cheese). You can vary the reps, sets, volume, training frequency, exercises, rest time and resistance to progressively overload your body. Now with rest pauses and assisted reps adaptations remain at bay letting your body do exactly what you want it to do, grow!
Remember it’s not every week you will be able to increase the weight so why not try one of the other variables. Progressive overload is just doing more over time in any form.