Hey Angels and Alphas,
Strength training is an important part of any fitness program and progressive overload is a key part of that. It’s the idea of gradually increasing the amount of weight or reps you do over time to make sure you are continuously challenging yourself.
While this is essential for making progress, it can be difficult to know when enough is enough. In this blog post, we’ll be exploring the concept of progressive overload and answering the question: how much is too much?
What is progressive overload?
Progressive overload is a technique that is used in strength training and other forms of exercise to help build muscle, strength, and endurance.
It involves gradually increasing the amount of stress you place on your muscles over time by gradually increasing the amount of weight you lift or the amount of repetitions you do. This method of training challenges the body to adapt and grow stronger.
The idea behind progressive overload is to challenge your body and muscles with a little bit more than it is used to every time you train. You do this by increasing the amount of weight or reps you are doing slightly each time you train. This overload forces your body to respond by building muscle, strength, and endurance.
However, as with any form of exercise, it’s important to make sure that you’re not overdoing it. Too much progressive overload can lead to overtraining, which can be detrimental to your health.
Why is it important to avoid overtraining?
Overtraining can lead to many serious problems that can hinder your progress and even set you back in the long run. When you consistently do too much too soon, your body won’t have enough time to rest and recover, leading to injury and fatigue. This can also cause a decrease in your performance as your body is too exhausted to perform at its best.
It’s important to understand your body’s limits and when it’s time to back off or scale back your training plan. Training should be gradual and progressive, allowing your body to adapt and grow stronger. If you push too hard too soon, your progress will suffer and you could end up injuring yourself or overworking your muscles.
Additionally, overtraining can cause psychological issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression. A consistent and healthy training regimen is essential for overall wellbeing and health. Listening to your body and responding to it with proper rest is key to avoiding overtraining and staying healthy.
What weight increments should you be adding to progress safely?
When doing progressive overload, it’s important to start with smaller weight increments and gradually increase them. How much you increase will depend on the intensity of the exercise and your individual goals. A good starting point is 5-10% increases in weight each week. If you’re lifting heavy weights, a 2.5% increase may be more appropriate.
Progressive overload should focus on increasing the difficulty of the exercise, not necessarily the weight. You can do this by adding more sets or reps, using rest pause techniques, or using different tempos for the exercise.
It’s also important to give your body time to recover between workouts. This is especially true if you’re lifting heavy weights or doing high-intensity exercises. If you don’t give your body enough time to recover, you won’t be able to make further progress and may even risk injury.
If you find that you’re hitting plateaus or feeling overwhelmed with how much weight you’re lifting, it’s best to take a step back and reassess your progress. Take some time off, reduce the weight and focus on form, or adjust your routine to focus more on volume than intensity. Remember: progress is made over time and consistency is key!
How can you prevent overtraining?
The best way to prevent overtraining is to be aware of how your body is responding to the progressive overload. You should be mindful of any fatigue or discomfort that you’re feeling, as these could be signs that you’ve pushed too far. When you start to feel any kind of fatigue or physical pain, it’s important to take a break and scale back your workouts.
Proper rest and recovery are also essential to avoiding overtraining.
After each workout, give yourself enough time to properly recover before engaging in the next session. This means taking at least one full day off each week to rest and allowing 48-72 hours of recovery between workouts that target the same muscle groups. Additionally, make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of quality sleep each night and managing stress levels through mindfulness or meditation.
You should also focus on incremental progress when doing progressive overload. If you add too much weight too quickly, you may run into issues with overtraining. To progress safely, increase the load by no more than 5% each week and focus on good form and technique instead of just lifting heavier weights. Additionally, it’s important to mix up your routine so that you’re targeting different muscles throughout the week and giving them ample time to recover.