How to use Progressive Resistance Overload Principle to Build Muscles Fast

Overload or Progressive Muscular Resistance is the most fundamental principle of muscle building. It is the key to fast muscle growth. Use my 5% strength solution to overload muscles and make them bigger and stronger faster.

Would you like to know the muscle building foundation principle used by EVERY single muscle builder and without which no ounce of muscle gain is possible?

And what if this principle help you lift more weight every workout and help you gain more mass?

You would be interested right? I thought so.

It’s called, "The Overload Principle”, and is the foundation of all forms of weight training, be it bodybuilding or Olympic Weightlifting.

But very few people know it. They get it all wrong. Big mistake.

Don’t make the mistake I made

Not knowing the overload and progression concept might cost me a good year of muscle building time. Let's begin...

Inside This Article:

History of The Overload Principle 

"To get the muscle to grow you, must subject it to unaccustomed stress" 
Vince Delmonte Secret

The Legend that started it all

The word Overload was coined by an army physician Dr. Thomas Delorme who was working on physical rehabilitation of soldier in 1940s. But the concept was not new. It has been practised before him and has been tremendously improved on after him.

You might have heard the Milo of Croton story. Legend has it that Milo, a wrestler, started carrying a young calf on his shoulder and walk long distances, even doing multiple rounds of a large stadium.

Milo didn't stop at the young calf

As the animal grew, Milo’s muscles got bigger and stronger. Finally he was able to carry a full grown bull. 

This could be a myth as a full grown bull weighs close to 1000 pounds and even the strongest guys in the world today haven’t achieved this feat.

And the concept has its own limitations, genetic and otherwise. Bulls today, then what? Cars, trucks, planes tomorrow? Impossible. Overload has its limitations but it is all we need to build sexy, lean muscles.

Regardless, the example best illustrates the principle of progressive resistance to build bigger and stronger muscles.

What is Overload or Progressive Muscular Resistance Principle

You might have heard, lift big or go home. 

This partly explains the overload concept. But there is more to it.

Overload is a planned, systematic and progressive increase in training to improve your muscle building performance.

And as we learned in muscle homeostasis article, Improved performance = increased muscle gain

In simpler words: Force your muscles to lift at an intensity they are not used to. And your muscle adapt by getting bigger and stronger.

In order to build muscles, you need to load the muscles:

  • Over and above their current capacity/threshold
  • progressively more from workout to workout and
  • using high threshold muscle building exercises

In other words, You should plan every workout keeping progression in mind. 

How does the Progressive Resistance Overload Principle Build Muscle Mass

Add Weights on the Bar Every Week for consistent muscle gains

Every workout your body adapts to the heavier loads and begins a series of biochemical changes to make your muscles bigger and stronger than before. If you train with sufficient intensity and progress from week to week, your muscles are forced to adapt.

Result? You get big and strong! That’s muscle building at its simplest form.

I cover How muscles Grow in a separate article, but suffice it is to say that this all started when you progressively and incrementally/gradually overloaded the system with high intensity, high threshold muscle building exercises.

Remember even the best nutrition and supplementation programs won’t work unless your muscles are properly stimulated in the first place.

Note: Linear and Non-linear Periodisation

Although progression is the key to get big and strong, often you need to cut back on training volume and intensity and plan phases of low volume workouts too. 

The above progress model is called linear periodisation. Often overused, its great to build muscle mass. But as you become more advanced muscle builder, apply non-linear periodisation methods to overcome plateaus, build absolute strength and continue to grow. I cover it in a later article.

Use Progressive Overload every workout

One simple question can help you decide if you are working in line with this fundamental principle,

Are you adding more weights to the bar today than you did last workout?

Without going into details of periodization concept wherein you plan for 1-2 weeks rest before beginning a new program, you should be adding weights to the bar every workout or forget muscle gains.

Use My 5% Strength Solution or 1-rep method for Immediate results

So how to plan incremental or gradual progression?

Just use my 5% solution. 

Every workout add 5% weights to the bar.

For example if you used 100 lbs for bench press in the last workout, use 105 lbs this workout. If you used 50 lbs for biceps curls last workout, use 52.5 lbs {round off to 52 0r 53 lbs} this week.

My results exploded once I understood incremental progression. Muscle gains were a reality.

The secret was out: Progressively and incrementally improve gym performance and muscle mass will follow. 

But try too much too fast and you fail or worse get injured. 

Another method is to keep the weight constant and do more reps {1-2{ the next workout. This is an excellent way for muscle hypertrophy and very simple to follow, provided you maintain a workout journal. Just work those reps and get bigger.

Notebar: What if your 5% is only 1 pound increase over last workout? You can use small weights called fractional weights like Platemate micro-loads to incrementally improve performance. Read more about micro-loads here.

Your Muscle Overload Options

Your have many Weight Training Options

You can provide resistance to muscles in many forms.

You can use bodyweight training, free weights like barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, or even use resistance bands and unconventional training methods like lifting tyres, moving heavy objects, pushing cars/trucks and so on.

But the best and fastest way to train is Weight Training with Free Weights. I discuss various weight training options in another article. Choose the best overload option for you.

The No Nonsense Program is the Most Complete Muscle Building Program for hardgainers to pack on muscle mass.

I have reviewed it and found it way ahead of other programs. I highly recommend it if you are serious about fast muscle building.

Discover how Vince Delmonte gained 41 pounds of muscle mass in 24 short weeks in this free video.

Summary and Action Steps

Progressive muscular overload is the most fundamental principle of bodybuilding. Without applying it no muscle or strength gains are possible.

Plan progression every workout. Either load or reps. Your choice.

Many muscle builders train with same weights they were using 2 years ago and wonder why they can’t gain weight. Horrible blunder!

But you don’t make the same mistake. If you are not adding weight on the bar or more repetitions, your body weight scale won’t move either.

Make incremental improvements to the weight bar, add quality nutrition and supplements, and fast muscle gain will be a reality. It has been for me and many other like me.

Its your turn now. Make it happen.

Bottom Line: Progressively and incrementally overload the muscles to build them or GO HOME without any hope.

What's Next?

Overload training is useless if its not hypertrophy specific. Many guys train like marathoners with 2 hours low intensity workouts and want to look like a bodybuilder. You might run with hours on end it doesn't build muscles.

To gain mass you need hypertrophy specific training. Every rep, set and workout should be geared towards building muscles. How?

Discover the amazing Specificity principle or Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands {SAID} strategy to build maximum muscle in minimum time. Train like a muscle builder to look like one!

› Progressive Overload Principle

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