3 Critical Progressive Overload Tips for Bulking

Bodybuilder on Cable Machine

Progressive overload is something every weightlifter should know about, but what is progressive overload? How do you benefit from utilizing progressive overload in your weightlifting routine? If you want to grow and wow people with your physique, you’d do well to implement this training technique.

MUTANT is here to give you the full progressive overload breakdown. With these three tips, you’ll know the basics of progressive overload and become a beast with unparalleled PRs.

It’s time to dominate in the gym with the most essential workout principle at your disposal – progressive overload.

Progressive Overload Meaning 

Progressive overload is adding load or volume consistently over time. This could mean a lot of different increases in volume, including:
  • Reps
  • Sets
  • Weight
  • Shorter rest times
  • Number of exercises
  • Training frequency per week
Bodybuilder racking a plate

3 Progressive Overload Tips 

1.Consistently Progress
  • The key behind progressive overload is doing it every training session. The main ways to increase volume are reps and weight. For example, if you want to overload in bench press progressively, you can start with 70 percent of your one-rep max for eight reps. Then, you work up to 10 or 12 reps at the same weight. Once you can do all your sets at the top of that range (say, three sets of 12 reps), increase the weight by five pounds and return to eight reps. Work your way up the rep range again until you can hit all sets for 12 reps. This increase in sets and then weight leads to a slow, methodical uptick in overall volume, translating to more hypertrophy or muscle growth. By consistently, week over week, adding volume, growth will happen no matter what. Strength and gains will improve. So long as you go to the gym twice or thrice weekly, the muscle adaptations will appear a few months into the process. Slow and steady wins the gains race.

2. Have a Plan

  • Mapping out your training is helpful for your brain and body to know what to expect with every workout. The cool thing about progressive overload is that it’s effortless and straightforward to plan out. Get an app or use your notes app to record where you are in your weightlifting journey. A typical track for something like squats would look like this:
    • Day 1: 250 pounds, 3 sets of 10, 10, 10 reps
    • Day 4: 250 pounds, 3 sets of 12, 12, 10 reps
    • Day 7: 250 pounds, 3 sets of 12, 12, 12 reps (up weight)
    • Day 10: 255 pounds, 3 sets of 10, 10, 10 reps
    • Day 13: 255 pounds, 3 sets of 12, 11, 10 reps
  • While it won’t be 100 percent linear, there should be some improvement per workout. You can write them out the day before based on what you lifted the last time. With the reps and weight in mind, you can mentally steel yourself for the workout ahead of the session.

3. When In Doubt, Deload

  • If you’re hitting a plateau, progressive overload is easy to deload and quickly gets you back on the gain train. Simply drop the weight by 15%, change the rep range to a higher one, and climb back up the weight ladder. If three sets of 8-12 reps get too heavy for a lat pulldown, bring the weight down 20-30 pounds and go for a 14-16 rep range. This will allow you to continue making gains without stalling out.

Armed with these three tips, you’re set to dominate your sets and become the muscular behemoth you’ve always wanted to be.

Article by Terry Ramos