As humans we’ve evolved pretty well.
I say preeeeetty well – I have my gripes.
But for the most part we have adapted and evolved to meet the demands of daily living and survival.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Did it listen? Did it succumb to your demands? Nope. Btw I forgot to tell you –
YOUR BODY DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT.
Your body doesn’t care about your goals, the only thing it cares about are It's goal.
And that goal is keeping you alive and functioning.
Luckily our bodies are pretty good at this and have built-in mechanisms to adapt so that they maintain their goal. To change your body you need to FREAK IT OUT.
To create physical change in your body you need to trick it into thinking those changes are necessary or you will DIE. When your body experiences a stress above what it’s used to, it will adapt to meet the new level of stress.
This is how we get all the goodies that come from working out; weight loss, muscle gain, increase strength, endurance, tone – they are all biological adaptions that you have to FORCE your body into, by freaking it out in the right way.
This essential workout principle is called Progressive Overload.
So if we raise the level of stress we are used to, our body adapts. This means that to keep our body adapting and improving, the demands we place on our body need to increase as well. Without progressive overload, your workouts are being wasted. If you are not giving your body reason to change, it won’t.
Of course overall program design is important, but even with the perfect training program, unless you are increasing the stress, you won’t see any changes. This doesn’t mean that you up the stress ever single workout, that would be crazy, but every few weeks you should be making the program harder in someway.
The simplest way of doing this is by slowly increasing the weight, however depending on your specific body type, situation and goals this may not be the mostt optimal strategy. Progressive overload can also be achieved by adding exercises, increasing reps, shorting rest periods, increasing workout volume, or simply changing the leverage of exercises to more biomechanically inferior angles.
Track your workouts!
You should be increasing A very very basic strategy would be to re-evaluate the relative strength and intensity of your workouts every month and adjust accordingly. If at the beginning of the month you struggled to complete 3 sets of 8 on the bench press, but now can bust out those sets no problem, whilst keeping proper form – up the wait 5-10lbs each side.
Always look to be doing more over time. Whether that's more reps, more sets, more weight, less rest, slower reps etc...
If you aren't consistently making the relative exercise difficulty harder, your muscles will not grow - because they don't need to.
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