Go into 'Overload'

Overloading, whilst weight training is a sure way to pack on muscle size and strength very quickly. However, most do not pay much attention to the concept of overloading their muscles whilst training, or do it wrong.

To overload a muscle or muscle group means to force it perform a movement using a weight it hasn’t had to lift or move before. The problem when the majority of people apply this, they do it wrong. Their form goes out of the window, they try and break world records and they are not progressive. By doing this they are seriously limiting their progress as a bodybuilder and are wasting a lot of their time and energy. In order to utilise the idea of overloading correctly you must follow a few rules.

When overloading you must make it a gradual process. For example, if you normally bench press 100kg for 10 reps, completing 3 sets, add 5kg

Per set. In order to get the most out of this, have a partner on stand by ready to spot you at failure, in order to get at least 2 forced reps. Making the last set of each exercise a little heavier, without sacrificing form will shock your muscles and force them to grow in order to cope with the added stress. By also adding a couple of forced reps with a training partner, this will further enforce the effect of overload on your muscle groups. This is what you need to be looking to do when using overload, but why should you?

When overloading your muscle groups two things are going to happen. Firstly, an increased amount of hypertrophy will occur in order to be able to lift the weight you have just forced yourself to lift. This is because the human body naturally adapts to the environment it is exposed to. This in turn will lead to effect number 2, added strength. This occurs due to this very principal of adaptation. Therefore by increasing your strength levels you are able to apply more ‘’overload’’ to your training and in turn force your muscles to grow even bigger. It is a very effective way of adding muscle size to your frame, relatively quickly. This is because your body is continually being surprised and doesn’t become used to the demands. It adapts to the weight, then next week when it is slightly heavier it has to adapt again and so on.

There is a brief insight to the principles of overloading the muscle in order to force growth. As mentioned be sure to build the weight up very slowly adding small amounts each week, don’t sacrifice your form and be sure to get some forced reps on your last set of each exercise. Finally, don’t do this for weeks on end, because the stress it can cause isn’t good for your joints. Instead aim to do this once or twice a month per body part!  Enjoy the growth of overload.

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  • Nicolle Sportsman

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