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The High Performance Journal

The Top 12 Ways To Use Progressive Overload

Aug 01, 2022

When I first started to workout in the gym I thought all you needed to do was lift more weight.

So I'd go into the gym and stack on as much weight as I could but all I got was a lack of muscle and a lot of injuries.

It wasn't until I stumbled upon an article from Bret Contreras that changed the way I looked at workouts forever.

It was called the 12 rules of progressive overload and in it he revealed to me the top 12 ways to use it in the gym.

What is progressive overload?

Progressive overload is the act of doing more in the gym.

It's the reason you've seen people in your gym look wildly different due to the gains in muscle.

It's also the reason why you see people go to the gym for years and make no changes to their body.

If you want to gain muscle you need to challenge yourself. The body won't change unless you force it to. If you don't force a muscle to do more than it's used to then it has no reason to grow.

This is why it's a core philosophy to what we do in our Lean Body 90 program. It's not enough to do a workout you must get stronger while doing it.

Progressive overload is not only a philosophy for the gym it's also a philosophy for life.

If you don't do more or set bigger goals you don't turn into a better person. You get comfortable, stagnate and then make excuses about having kids or getting older.

BULL****. That's not you. Living a life of quiet despair is not what you're meant for.

You're meant to grow.

And when it comes to the gym here are 12 best ways to force your body to new levels of growth.

Now before reading this list understand that all of these are applied using GOOD FORM in the gym.

I can't stress this enough. If you don't use good form especially over the age of 35 you're asking for a world of hurt.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest....

Here's the list. Print it. Memorize it.


The Top 12 Best Ways To Build Muscle in the Gym

1) Lift more weight.
2) Lift more volume.
3) Do the same weight with increased range of motion.
4) Lift the same weight and volume with less rest time between sets.
5) Lift the same weight with more speed and acceleration while maintaining good form.
6) Lift the same weight with better form, more control, and less effort.
7) Doing more work in the same amount of time.
8) Doing the same amount of work in less time.
9) Doing more sets with the same weight and reps.
10) Doing the same workouts with more frequency throughout the week.
11) Doing the same work while losing weight.
12) Lifting the same load & volume and then extending the set past technical failure (ie. forced reps, drop sets, rest pause training etc..)

Now the way you want to do this is to track your workouts. What you measure is what you manage.

You now have 12 ways to crush gains in the gym but do not let yourself this only relates to the gym.

This list relates to life as well. You can use this list for increasing focus, productivity to having better sex.

Progressive overload is not just a gym philosophy. It's a philosophy for life.

Looking to get lean and build muscle?

We use these same principles in our Lean Body 90 course, which is designed to help you get lean and build muscle in only 90 minutes a week. Click the link here to start getting in shape!

If not, use these 12 rules in your next workout and let me know how they went.

- Dan

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