Progressive Overload To Gain Muscle: A Beginners Guide

Progressive overload is a training method that involves gradually increasing the stress exerted on your muscles over time. 

Ishaan Arora
Written by: Ishaan AroraUpdated at: May 20, 2023 14:00 IST
Progressive Overload To Gain Muscle: A Beginners Guide

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In today's fitness-centric world, sculpted muscles have become the new normal, with countless individuals aspiring to achieve the perfect physique. Whether it's for enhanced performance, increased strength, or simply aesthetic appeal, gaining muscle has become a widespread dream. 

Muscle building is a slow process that requires dedication, discipline, and a systematic approach. One of the most fundamental principles in muscle development is progressive overload. So, if you're new to working out or looking for strategies to grow muscle, let's start by learning about what exactly power training is, how to include it into your routine, and effective tips to maximise its benefits.

What Is Progressive Overload?

According to certified personal trainer Saurav Kamboj based in Dubai, progressive overload is the practice of continuously challenging your muscles by increasing the intensity, volume, or frequency of your workouts. In layman's terms, progressive overload is shocking your muscles every time you train by doing more reps or sets. This principle applies to any form of resistance training, whether you prefer lifting weights, using resistance bands, or even using your body weight.

Incorporating Progressive Overload Into Your Routine

Gradually Increase The Number

Kamboj said, "Begin with a weight or resistance level that challenges you but allows you to maintain proper form." He explained that as your muscles adapt, gradually increase the intensity to maximise muscle gain. This can be done by adding weight to your lifts or increasing the time under tension, by increasing the no of sets. 

Also Read: Functional Training For Weight Loss: What Is It And How To Incorporate It In Your Workout?

Alter Your Reps And Sets

Adjust the number of reps and sets you perform to keep your muscles guessing. "Start with three sets and 15 reps a week and progressively increase them over time. This variation keeps your muscles engaged and prevents plateauing," Kamboj added. 

Short Rest Periods

Shortening your rest periods between sets can increase the intensity of your workout. Kamboj explained, "By minimising rest time, you keep your muscles under tension for a longer duration, promoting muscular hypertrophy."

Incorporate Different Exercises

Regularly introduce new exercises into your routine to challenge your muscles in different ways. "The best way is to start your workout with a different exercise every time you perform," Kamboj stated. If you trained biceps with dumbbells the first time; next time, prefer a barbell or a machine.

Effective Tips To Maximise Progressive Overload

Track Your Progress

Maintain a workout journal or use a fitness app to track the intensity of your exercises, sets, repetitions, and weights. Tracking your progress allows you to monitor your improvements and ensure consistent progression.

Prioritise Recovery

Kamboj said, "It is during rest and on off days when the human body grows." He advised to allow your muscles enough rest between sessions to repair and rejuvenate to avoid overtraining and injuries.

Also Read: Cardio Or Weight Training: Which One Should Come First?

Focus On Nutrition

Fuel your body with a balanced diet rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats to provide the necessary nutrients for muscle growth. Focus on hydration to flush away the toxins from the body. 

Consistency Is Key

"Stick to your workout routine and gradually increase the demands on your muscles over time to achieve sustained progress," Kamboj recommended. He cautioned against sticking to the same fitness routine for more than three months. 

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