Progressive Overload is the most important principle in strength training. In short, it means that in order to get bigger and/or stronger, you’ve got to make your muscles work harder over time.
Progressive overload in the gym often means gradually increasing the weight you’re lifting. But you’re at home, and you’ve got a small arsenal to work with, so that’s not an option. What now?
There are many different ways to progressively overload, but let’s focus on 3 today: Volume, Density, and Frequency.
It’s really as straight forward as it sounds. The tricky part is to not do too much too soon. An overuse injury is the last thing you need… especially now.
So, let’s say you have a pair of 15# dumbbells… and that’s it.
- WEEK 1: 3 SETS (DB OH Press 10 reps + DB Bent Over Row 12 reps)
- WEEK 2: 4 SETS (DB OH Press 10 reps + DB Bent Over Row 12 reps)
- WEEK 3: 3 SETS (DB OH Press 12 reps + DB Bent Over Row 15 reps)
- WEEK 4: 4 SETS (DB OH Press 12 reps + DB Bent Over Row 15 reps)
- WEEK 5: DELOAD (Repeat Week 3)
- WEEK 6: 3 SETS (DB OH Press 15 reps + DB Bent Over Row 18 reps)
- WEEK 7: 4 SETS (DB OH Press 15 reps + DB Bent Over Row 18 reps)
- WEEK 8: 3 SETS (DB OH Press 18 reps + DB Bent Over Row 20 reps)
- WEEK 9: 4 SETS (DB OH Press 18 reps + DB Bent Over Row 20 reps)
There are 2 really easy ways to increase density:
Doing MORE REPS in THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME
- Increase the number of reps in each set
- Rest period remains the same
Doing THE SAME NUMBER OF REPS in LESS TIME
- The number of reps remains the same
- Decrease the rest period
If you’re currently lifting weights on Mondays and Thursdays, ADD A DAY: start lifting on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Keep the Monday and Thursday workouts the same - don’t decrease the volume or lower the weight on these days.
Saturday can be completely new exercises, or simply a repeat of M or TH.
- Week 1: MThW
- Week 2: ThMTh
- Week 3: MThM
- Week 4: ThMTh
Regardless of which method you implement, make sure that every rep is technically sound and performed with the same range of motion, tempo, etc. You want the 12th rep to look exactly like the 1st rep!