Progressive overload: The Prioritization Principle PART 3

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Well, everyone, it’s time to talk about prioritization, stuff that will push your body to another level. In our previous articles, we’ve talked about progressive overload principle overall and some crucial elements in order to keep yourself safe in order to put maximum effort for maximum hypertrophy.

We’re gonna talk about all these various ways to progressively overload your workouts.

How can you overload your workouts?

The definition of progressive overload is that you gradually increase the amount of stress placed on your body during exercise training.

You can do that in numerous ways and you’re might even doing that already because of your body growing stronger.

Yea, that’s right! You’ve probably gone from doing 40-50kg bench press to 60kg in few weeks or from 8 reps per set to 10-12 reps. These two principles of progression are two most common amongst people.


But there’s a catch.

Progressive overload is not only limited to weight and rep increase and people don’t realize that there are few other ways to overload muscles and make them grow. Now, we’re gonna explain them, including these two above:


  • Weight increase principle

As we already mentioned this principle is most common amongst trainees, especially plain beginners, as they tend to progress very, very fast in the first few months of weighted training. But, there are many advanced and experienced people that are using this technique to stimulate their muscles harder.


For example:

If you are doing  50kg bench press for 10 reps in each set in the first week and in the second week you do 52.5kg bench press for also 10 reps in each set, that would be progressively overloading in the weight.

If you tend to use the  progressive overload principle the best way to improve yourself is if you do this:

Let’s say you are doing 80kg bench press and you wanna do let’s say 85kg. If you do 80kgs for 4 sets of 10 reps and you complete 10 reps in each set, next week you put 82.5kgs and try to do exactly the same amount of sets and reps. If you fail and do 10/10/10/8 reps per set or even less, you will do that next week and every week until you get 4 sets of 10 reps completed. Then you will move on 85kgs and try to do this all over again before you put more and more weight.

This principle will push your body harder but we wouldn’t recommend doing this routine for every exercise in your workout, pick a few of them where you really want to progress, and we recommend doing this at the start of your gym session where your body is fresh and stronger than in the middle or at the end of your workout.


  • Increased reps principle

The second most used principle of progressive overload where you increase your reps for each set in order to overload muscles.

If you are doing certain exercise with a certain amount of weight for 10 reps in the first week and you do that same exercise with the same weight for 11-12 reps in the second week, that’s progressively overloading in reps. Simple as that. Now you don’t need to increase weight but you could add another set the next week. And the week after that you could increase the reps again to 12-15.


  • The principle of efficiency

We’ve explained this principle before and what it means is that you put your muscles to more stress by lowering your resting periods between sets.

You can do that by doing the same amount of weight for the same amount of sets and reps but instead of doing 1.5 min of pause, you rest between 45-60 seconds through your entire workout.

Trust us when we say that after few exercises or even few sets you will feel your muscles burning faster.

This method might be ideal if you wanna build more muscle endurance.


  • The principle of exertion

One way of doing this is by slowing down the tempo of the movement. You wanna apply this to your negatives. For example, if you do bench press with 50kgs for 4 sets of 10 reps in the first week and in the second week you’re doing same weight but this time you slow down your negative part of the movement from let’s say 1 second to 1.5 to 2 seconds.

You might not be able to precisely measure that closely and you don’t even need to but you can overload your form or lifting tempo in this way.


Why does this matter?

Well, let’s be honest and say that as long as some overload stimulus is placed, you got the main thing covered.

So, the prioritization is the very important thing that a lot of beginners, and not only them, don’t realize.

Basically what we are saying is that you need to prioritize according to what your goals are. If you wanna increase your squat, you need to put your focus in your training on improving your squat. This may sound stupid and oversimplified but that is the only way.

You can prioritize your whole body, we’re not saying that you can’t, but at some point, you will stand in front of the mirror and say: „Damn, I wanna get bigger arms!“ or „God, my upper chest really suck…“ etc.

Depending on what your goal is, you will dictate what to do but in order to achieve that goal you will need to be very specific, and in practice, one way to do this is by prioritizing what it is that you’re trying to develop.

If you wanna constantly progress and build your muscles the best way is to prioritize one method of progressive overload at a time.

Of course, this is all assuming you’re interested in building muscles which means staying in the 8-12 rep range, which is optimal for hypertrophy. But, as we already mentioned, it’s up to you and where do you wanna progress the most.


And we can’t emphasize this enough:

Progressive overload doesn’t make sense if your workout routine will be the same every week for months and years. Even if you’re a hardcore gym addict you will get bored of it after some time, especially after you stop progressing because of it.

This is where most people fail. Man, woman, young, old, fat, skinny…they are all doing nothing to increase the demands being placed on their body. So, naturally they body has no choice but to remain the same.

How do you progressively overload if your workout never changes?

Well, in theory, you can’t always increase the volume, because it will get to a point where your volume is too high and your workouts last for 2 hours or your weight is too heavy that you can’t properly lift it and after some time your muscles will overtrain and your body will plateau.

So basically what we’re trying to explain is that you can’t constantly improve by increasing one variable, in this case, volume, for the same exercises over and over again.


That’s not enough and what you need to do is introduce your body to another way of training, another set of exercises, another variable that will change the way you stimulate your muscles.

Progressive overload principle is the most important principle in building quality muscle.

The human body will not change unless it’s forced to!


The conclusion of this whole story…

Well in case you’re really lazy and you scrolled all the way down to see how big this article is, here’s a quick message for you…

If you want to get any positive result from your workouts, progressive overload principle is the absolute number 1 key!

No matter who you are, or what your main goal is. If you want your body to change the way you desire, you must focus on progressive overload!

If you don’t, and you remain to do the same thing for months and years, you are guaranteed to fail.

Simple as that.





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