The most important tip I can give someone who wants to continue to make progress in the gym is to focus on progressive overload.
The actual definition – to increase stress placed on the body during exercise.
In simpler terms, you always want to improve, or push harder whenever you are working out. If you do the same exact thing day in and day out in the gym, will you ever make progress? No. That is why you always hear “switch it up” at the gym. You can’t expect to do the same thing all the time and improve.
Especially for building lean muscle, if you kept lifting 5 lb dumbbells for 15 reps for every exercise, every day, do you think you will change? No, because eventually that 5 lb dumbbells will feel very light, you won’t even break a sweat, and you will be stuck in limbo.
You want to step into the gym with the intention of growing as much as you can. Lifting heavier, pushing harder, etc.
Of course, everything should be done with proper form! Don’t try to lift super heavy and compromise your form, or that’s where injuries will come in to play.
Achieving Progressive Overload
- Increase volume – the number of repetitions you complete with a certain resistance. (Ex: if you are doing 30 pound dumbbell overhead shoulder press for 7-8 reps, try and push to do 9-10 reps with that same weight).
- Increase intensity – this means give it all you’ve got and then some during every exercise session.
- Increase number of sets – if you normally do 3 sets of x amount of reps every time you’re in the gym, try 4 sets next time, or even 5 sets.
- Increase frequency – everyone has what I like to call a “lagging body part”. A body part that just develops slower than the rest. Try working that body part twice a week instead of just once. Or, increase the number of exercises you do for that body part.
- Focus on density – this means decrease resting time between sets. If you normally rest for 1-2 minutes, try 30-45 seconds of rest instead.
- Increase the load – aka lift heavy ass weights. Always try to increase the amount of weight you use!
- Change up the tempo – focus on that mind-muscle connection and instead of just going through the motions, slow the speed down and really focus on contracting the muscle.
- Include different types of training methods – examples are adding in drop sets, pausing at a certain point (such as in squats pause at the bottom for 5 seconds), etc.
Have you ever heard of progressive overload?
What’s one of the best exercise tips you have received?