How to Build Muscle: Progressive Overload Explained

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If you are wanting to learn about how to build muscle, you need to understand the concept of progressive overload. While it may sound like a scary thing – this is an essential concept for muscular growth. Progressive overload, or often called muscle overload, is when you create additional stress to your body in a progressive and strategic manner – resulting in muscle growth.

If you do not consistently challenge your muscles by making them do more than they are used to, your muscles have no reason to get bigger (which means you need to step out of your comfort zone to increase that booty size 🍑 )! Our bodies are not going to change unless we give them a reason. So to increase your muscle size, strength, and endurance – you need to continually increase the demands on your body.

So how do you actually apply the concept of progressive overload? There are several different methods you can use for progressive overload, but to put it simply, you need to increase the difficulty of your workouts over a specific time period!


1. Increasing the resistance

By adding more weight or resistance to your exercises, you can easily increase your progressive overload. Challenging your muscles with more weight = GAINS!

2. Increasing your sets and reps

Sometimes adding more weight isn’t always an option – especially when you are first starting out, or if the exercises don’t involve weight. So a way to increase your progressive overload in this situation is to increase your sets and or reps.

3.Increasing your training volume

Rather than just increasing the reps or the weight, you can also increase your volume. You can do this by adding more exercises to your training sessions.

4. Decreasing rest time between sets

You can increase your progressive overload by doing the same amount of work, but in less time. Decreasing your rest time in between sets requires your body to become more efficient with weightlifting.


While there are many different ways of increasing your progressive overload, you should generally try and stick with one strategy at a time. For example, when you increase the weight – you are not also going to be able to increase the reps of the exercise without potentially hurting yourself. It’s good to use a variety of different strategies, just not at the same time. Knowing these different strategies allows you to have other options when simply adding more weight no longer seems to be working.

Progressive overload is also different from person to person. Some strategies will work better for some people, but not for everyone. You should try different strategies and look at your training goals to see what works best for you.

It’s also important to know that progressive overload is also not a steady linear concept. For example, increasing your weight by 5 pounds every time might work for you when you aren’t lifting a whole lot of weight, but that number is going have to change eventually.

I know, progressive overload can be a bit of a confusing concept, especially if you are new to the world of weightlifting. This is a concept that you need to understand if you want to make sure you have amazing gains! Progressive overload isn’t the only important concept in terms of muscle growth. Check out my other helpful blogs on Muscle Adaptation and How to Take Your Training to the Next Level!

If you want to learn more about progressive overload, muscle training and just being the best that you can be – check out my Jessie’s Girls Training Programs. In each one of my programs I outline progressive overload sets, reps, exercises, supplements and much more! No longer will you need to research how to build progressive overload into your training – I take care of that for you! From muscle building and bikini body workouts to home and prenatal workouts, I give you everything you need to get in killer shape, and love yourself while you’re doing it. For more information on all six of my Jessie’s Girls Training Programs, click on the link below!


2020-01-28T13:53:07-08:00Jessie’s Blog, Training|0 Comments

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