In my last Instagram post I talked about the importance of progressive overload and that’s what I have chosen this post to be about since it is such a widely misunderstood concept. I can’t just leave it to a short paragraphed post; it wouldn’t do it justice.
Before we go any further though I want you all to know that I fell privy to the same exact mistakes as just about everyone else has when it comes to weight lifting and I still have so much to learn.
My beliefs of achieving a head-turning physique were based off of those seen in every fitness magazine around the world and just about every body-builders workout routine. They were the beliefs that I had to be in the gym for two or more hours a day and that high-rep “pump” training so to speak is what built the muscles seen on the coveted fitness models body. On top of that I came into the beliefs that I had to abandon everything that interfered with my training including: My life, and my relationships, and if I so much as even thought of eating a slice of pizza or a scoop of ice cream all my progress would be lost.
THIS IS WRONG! These beliefs could not be any further from the truth than they already are. The real secret to building a great physique and to breaking past those seemingly impossible PR’s is…Lifting heavy weights! Simple, right? Lifting progressively heavy weights over a period of time otherwise known as progressive overload, has withstood the test of time. I speak from recent experience as well. Over the span of two years of lifting light weights and doing a lot of pump training I saw little to no results, however, since switching it up and moving to progressive overload I have seen more strength and muscle gains in the past two months compared to two years.
Ok so now that we’ve established what progressive overload is, now we will take a look into how to implement it into your workout routines.
A good rule of thumb to remember is once you can easily do 10-12 reps with a certain weight it is time to restart the cycle and go back to the 4-6 rep range with an increase in weight. Each phase in the cycle consists of about 1-3 weeks, give or take a week, depending on how well your body is responding.
-3 sets of 8-10 reps
-3 to 4 sets of 6-8 reps
-3 sets of 4-6 reps
-try a 4×6 (4 sets for 6 reps) OR a 5×5 (5 sets for 5 reps)
Once the weights become lighter and you start to make progress restart the cycle and see how far you’ve come!
In two months I have brought up my incline bench press from 80 pounds for 8 reps to 115 pounds for 6 reps as well as my overhead press from barely being able to lift 65 pounds for 8 reps to lifting 95 pounds for 5 reps!
A huge factor that will play into whether you succeed or fail is tracking your workouts and the weights, reps, and sets used for each exercise. How can you tell if you are making progress and implementing progressive overload if you can’t even remember the weight you used the last workout. In guessing you are just setting yourself up for failure. Track, Track, and Track some more! Also focusing mainly on the compound lifts such as: Bench, Deadlifts, Overhead Press, and Squats. These movements are what is going to get your body going and will build muscle all around. However, you can work in some isolation movements like bicep curls on arm day or lateral raises on shoulder day.
So if you don’t remember anything else from this post remember the importance of progressive overload! Save yourself some time and put your focus on heavy weightlifting and the compound movements and you will start to see GAINZ in the mirror and on the bar!