Next Stop, Jacked: The Benefits of Progressive Overload Training

Young, fit woman performing squats on a machine in a gym

Our bodies just love them some comfort. And we’re not just talking about how good it feels to curl up on a lazyboy, tootsies in a footbath, cheese puffs in one hand, remote in the other — no, we’re talking about something a bit more scientific. The human body is built to avoid stressors of any kind, always following the path of least resistance. This is why it’s so dang difficult to get into a solid fitness routine when you’ve been out of the game for awhile. It’s also the reason that if you are in a solid fitness routine, your gains will suddenly start diminishing, and diminishing, until you’ve hit the dreaded PLATEAU. Spend a bit too much time on that mundane and bang! You’ve lost your stride, your hope, and your oomph, and you’re back on the lazyboy again. 

So how to break out of this irritating inertia? With something called progressive overload strength training! A not-so-hidden secret by much of the personal trainer and bodybuilding communities, this technique is a proven way to get yourself out of that muck and mire, and jumpstart your progress. 

What Is Progressive Overload Training?

But what, pray tell, is this mystical muscle-building mantra? Simply put, it involves progressively increasing the weight, frequency, or repetitions you’re doing during your normal strength routine. It’s also applicable for revving up your cardio, but for the sake of this article, we’re sticking with the swole science — seeing those muscle gains.

And with all of the countless rewards you get with progressive overload strength training, you’d be a fit-flailing-fool not to give it a go. So put those cheese puffs down (we see you, we always see you) and get ready to dive into the benefits of pushing your body out of its comfort zone. 

Young, fit man doing a bicep curl on a machine

The Benefits of Progressive Overload Strength Training

Stressing Your Muscles, in a Good Way

Now we’re all in on the mantra that stress is mostly a bad thing. But in some cases, and especially when it comes to our precious bodies, a little stress can go a long way. When you stress your muscles by moving more weight, it’ll adapt to these new found demands you’re putting on it. This results in an increased capacity for muscle contraction, which is a fancy way of saying you’ll be getting stronger! 

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Don’t Believe the Hype, But Trust in Hypertrophy

Hypertrophy is the physical growth of muscle tissue in our bodies. There are two kinds: sarcoplasmic (when your muscles grow in size but not necessarily strength) and myofibrillar (when the actual fibers in your muscles grow, which means size and strength). The hypertrophy we see in progressive overload training is of the second variety, and occurs when you increase sets and reps during your workouts. 

Mind on Your Muscle, Muscle on Your Mind

Next we’re going to shoot right upstairs to your brain, specifically your central nervous system, to a fascinating concept called the mind-muscle connection. This phenomenon occurs when our minds focus on a particular muscle we are using, which teaches our brains how to better accommodate these movements, resulting in faster growth. Progressive overload training pushes us out of a comfy, cozy place, and into a hyper focused space, which builds this mind-muscle connection perfectly. 

Keep It Interesting

Do you ever find yourself drifting off into la-la land while you’re doing a lat-pulldown, or floating away in space when working your quadriceps? Yeah, progressive overload training doesn’t allow for much ruminating, contemplating, or calculating. When you push yourself to the limit during your strength training, you never get bored. In fact, it’ll probably jolt those of you who’ve been losing your muscle-mojo right out of that funk, back to caring about what you’re doing. Keep your workouts interesting, and we guarantee you’ll be seeing those results in no time at all. 

When We Lift, We Grow

We hope you’ve enjoyed our little jaunt into the benefits of progressive overload training. We hope it inspires you to try it out and see for yourself. And if you are interested, we’ve got just the thing…

We Lift is our brand new progressive overload training program, involving six simple workouts steadily increasing in intensity through four levels of four rounds, and using minimal equipment! These training sessions can be done anywhere, and feature Studio SWEAT onDemand’s passionate crew of expert trainers, pushing you to reach those gains you’ve been hankering for. The program lasts between 18 and 27 weeks, depending on the frequency of your sessions, and is sure to get you out of any pesky plateaus, and into a better YOU. 

And if you like what you see, sign up for our 7-Day Free Trial and experience our huge library of virtual strength training classes, along with Indoor Cycling, TRX, HIIT, Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, Barre, Bootcamp, and oh so much more. Sign up today, and let’s get jacked!

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