All You Need to Know About Progressive Overload Training - Health is Fitness
Most people tend to follow a similar workout pattern for years together. They are extremely happy of the fact that they have been visiting the gym regularly, for such a long duration, and have a routine that is flawless.
However, most of these people forget a basic thing that can make or break the workout. While it is important to have a routine and follow it religiously, it is also important to understand the principle of progressive overload.
It can add real value to your exercise and give you the toned muscles that you’ve always wanted. It is the most important key to getting the desired results from your workout.
Progressive Overload Definition
By definition, progressive overload means to gradually increase the stress placed on your body while exercising or training.
This concept has been developed by Thomas Delorme, M.D. during the time when he rehabilitated the soldiers from World War II. This is considered as a fundamental principle for different kinds of exercise and training programs.
Your body is designed to efficiently carry out functions that have been assigned to it on a regular basis. If you want to push it to new limits, you need to force your body to increase its strength and durability.
Therefore, if you want to build muscles, you have to create an environment that sends a signal to your body that it needs to make a change or an improvement. Even if your workout routine is perfect, your muscles will not build or strengthen and stamina will not increase, unless you convey it to your body that these things are a must to carry on.
Your body must be forced to adapt to a new tension that it has not experienced before so that you can increase the performance of your body.
Progressive Overload Training for Beginners
As compared to advanced trainers, the method of progressive overload training is different for beginners. It is also different for men and women.
Before focusing on load, it is important to get the trainees to adjust to the lifting and squats. You can start with partial range lifts like rack pulls or bodyweight squats and include progressive distance training in your routine. In this method, the range of motion is slightly increased every week.
If you squat with your body weight and eventually manage to descend an inch lower, you are doing progressive overload. Once you can manage this well, you are ready to start with weights.
Progressive Overload for Aerobic Training
Aerobic exercises improve your blood flow and positively impact your heart and lungs. Different kinds of exercises can be a part of your aerobics training like walking, cycling or swimming.
The principle of progressive overload training is quite simple to apply here as well. If you are walking for two days in a week initially, increase that to three after four weeks. Then four days a week followed by five after a few weeks.
This will help increase your stamina and efficiency. You can also increase your speed while participating in aerobic exercises like swimming or walking.
Progressive Overload for Resistance Training
Resistance training has gained immense popularity in the last decade and many body builders are now looking at this form of training with a lot of hope and aspirations.
In resistance training, the muscles are caused to contract with the help of an external resistance with an expectation to increase endurance, strength and mass while toning the muscles.
If you want to follow the principle of progressive overload for resistance training, you need to record the weight you lift on each muscle group. This needs to be eventually increased as per your comfort levels to gain exceptional results.
Deciding between Progressive Overload and Muscle Confusion
Recently, many fitness enthusiasts have been talking about the difference between muscle confusion and progressive overload.
Sometimes, trainers constantly change movements and training stimuli on a daily or weekly basis. This causes the muscles to become confused and display quick results like fat loss, rapid muscle growth and overall athleticism in a superior form.
On the contrary, some trainers like the old school method where a similar training is continued for a longer duration, but the load and volume is increased, to push the body’s capability and create a more powerful and muscular system.
Progressive overload is a much better form of exercise to build muscles as it trains your body gradually to improve and does not involve drastic steps. Athletes do prefer the muscle confusion method if they want certain results in a short span of time.
However, if you have a regular physique and want to build muscles, it is recommended to opt for progressive overload training.
Progressive Overload vs. Time Under Tension
The term, Time Under Tension (TUT), basically refers to the amount of time your muscles are under a particular tension like per exercise, per set, per workout or per rep. You can measure your TUT every day and keep a note of it to see how well you are performing.
However, many trainers are often comparing progressive overload with TUT. You can increase the time under tension for your muscles gradually and that will very well react as progressive overload.
Although you can’t increase this time after a particular limit, you can certainly increase the weights gradually. So, it is always recommended to opt for progressive overload if you have a choice.
Progressive Overload vs. Drop Sets
If you ask trainers to help you build muscles, they will tell you to do the same things, but use new and innovative words that may sound very impressive, but not give you the desired results.
However, if you really want to intensify your work-outs, drop sets are a great way to build muscles. You need to follow this form after a good warm-up session.
In fact, instead of choosing between progressive overload and drop sets, you can find a balance between the two in order to gain remarkable benefits.
Progressive overload training may seem like a tough and complicated term, but in reality it is quite simple to follow and provides extraordinary benefits if you are disciplined and regular with your workout routine.