Overloading your Program

Posted by & filed under .

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I always find it funny when you see a definite number of weights that someone owns. It might be small 3 lb weights, a set of 10lbs, or maybe a set of 30 for the strongmen out there.

The number of stores where you can buy single or sets of dumbbells and kettlebells is also growing.

I always wonder what these people do with one set of weights or a single kettlebell. If anyone can give me some insight it would be much appreciated.

**Side note: My grandfather has been lifting some 10 pound weights in his basement but he can do whatever he wants. He is 83 and is more active than most people. He gets a pass **

Now I am all for people trying to get active and at least doing something. The problem with your one set of weights is that you cannot progress or overload your exercise. What do you do when you can bang out all of your exercises with ease? Buying more weights is only helpful if you have a home gym.

Overload is increasing the demand of the body from exercise (completely not scientific definition).

If you use 30lb dumbbells for a flat chest press, you could go to alternating or single arm but that will only last so long. Your body adapts to imposed demands and not increasing the weight stunts progress. You must ask the muscles to do more if you want them to change.

Each time you work out, it should be harder than the last time. This can be achieved by adding weight, sets, changing reps, or making the exercise harder.

Take the standing dumbbell shoulder press for example. On day 1 you did 30 pounds for 3 sets of 10 reps. There are tons of options to explore to ensure overload during the next week, including:

  • Use 35 pounds next time
  • Perform 4 sets
  • Do single arm presses

And I could probably think of another 10+ ways to make the shoulder press harder. It becomes more technical when we discuss training objectives and individualization, blah, blah, blah.

The point is to not do the same thing every time you train.

If you keep your exercises the same from week to week, make sure you they are harder each week.

Those that want to get stronger but have never lifted more than 10 pound dumbbells are not going to get stronger. This might mean dumping some weights or getting 8 reps instead of 10, but you need to find out which weight is appropriate.

Decreasing stability can be used to make an exercise harder by using different postures and body positions.

This is why one set of dumbbells is not going to get anyone anywhere. You can only vary the exercises so much and there is going to be a point where it stops.

I think we all really know that the at home dumbbells are mostly glorified dust collectors, usually because of boredom with the program or lack of progress.

You cannot limit your exercises and still meet your training goals. Training without overload is not going to produce any changes. The body is stubborn; it will not change unless it has to.

Force your body to work harder to adapt to the changes that you strive for.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *