Not Seeing Results in the Weight Room?

One observation I have noticed over and over in weight rooms is people doing the same workouts for too long. It’s usually guys lifting the same weight on the bench press and women doing the same dumbbell exercises with the same five and ten pound dumbbells. If you workout on a regular basis and have been doing the same routine for awhile chances are you are no longer seeing results. One reason may be you aren’t following the principle of progressive overload. Progressive overload is increasing the training stress or intensity beyond what you are used to.

Your body is smart and will adapt to stresses placed upon it. For instance the first time you leg pressed 300 pounds your body got sore, because it wasn’t used to it. Your body adapted to that stress and made itself stronger. The problem is when you get comfortable lifting that same 300 pounds. Once you stop increasing the stress or intensity of your workout your body will stop responding, and results will also stop.

Lifting more weight is one way to overload the body. Other ways include doing more sets or reps with the same weight, or doing the same weight sets and reps, with shorter breaks in between.

Putting it to work for you
Look at the example of progressive overload below. In the first week do your regular workout. In week 2 add reps, in week 3 add sets, and week 4 add weight. Now look at the total volume (sets x reps x weight) of the exercise. In four workouts the volume has increased from 7200 to 11,160.

Week 1 – regular; 3 sets x 8 reps 300 pounds total volume = 7200
Week 2 – add reps; 3 sets x 9 reps 300 pounds total volume = 8100
Week 3 – add sets; 4 sets x 9 reps 300 pounds total volume = 10,800
Week 4 – add weight; 4 sets x 9 reps 310 pounds total volume = 11,160

By challenging your body to work harder, it will respond by getting stronger. Remember it is progressive overload, so add a little at a time and your body will respond.

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