Progressive Overload in the Gym
Progressively overloading is the most important factor to ensuring that you progress consistently with your training and are constantly becoming better. Progressive overload is a training principle at the base of all programming that is achieved by manipulating the stimulus in a variety of ways. Some methods of doing so include increasing the weight each week (this can be difficult as there will be a sticking point), increasing the number of reps completed on an exercise, moving up in the number of total sets you complete, controlling the tempo at which you move the weight and paused reps... just to name a few.
A basic example of this is performing the Bench Press. Let’s say that in week 1 you Bench 40kgs for 10 reps, to ensure progress you would then look to add another 2.5kgs (or what you think is achievable) to the bar in the second week of the program and aim for 10 reps again. As mentioned earlier, increasing weight on the bar each week can be difficult so looking for other methods such as an extra rep or two or adding another set is a great way to progress. However, if you think that adding weight is achievable whilst MAINTAINING strong form, then go for it!
It is VERY important to make sure you track the weights that you use on each exercise in each session. This can be done in the last column of the ‘MY WORKOUT’ daily training session planner. Accurately tracking your efforts in the gym will allow you to revisit how hard you worked on a specific movement the week before, and aim to work that little bit harder that next week.
The purpose of progressively overloading is exactly that. We are looking to better ourselves each week to ensure that the targeted areas that are being used are exposed to a new/harder stimulus than the week before, thus causing them to adapt and become better.
Use The Key to your Fitness Journal to log your workouts each day to ensure you are progressively overloading in the gym.
This is vital. Proper form is going to allow you to focus specifically on the areas you are trying to target and will help prevent you from any potential injury. You want to teach your body to move and perform as profitiently as possible as early on as you can. This means you will execute your movements in a safe manner, reduce the need to reset neural pathways down the track (which takes time) and will lead to further progression.