Types of Progressive Overload Workouts

When people ask me the key to a good bodybuilding program, my answer is always the same: Look for programs that integrate progressive overload. Originally developed by Thomas Delorme, M.D. to rehabilitate World War II soldiers, this technique stimulates muscle hypertrophy (that means more muscle mass) and the development of stronger bones by increasing your workload over time–whether that’s by increasing repetitions, volume or adding more weight to your workouts. Most science-based personal trainers favor this method, often because the evidence suggests it works.

So which workout routines help you maximize progressive overload? Check these two programs out for a good muscle burn:

Hypertrophy-Specific Training
Designed by Bryan Haycock, a physiologist and writer, hypertrophy-specific training, or HST, uses the principle of progressive overload in an all-body routine that encompasses both compound and isolation movements to build muscle and strength. Compound exercises are favored to maximize muscle load during each session, according to HST. Repetitions are also changed routinely as well to increase muscle load.

The good: If you like variation, then this program provides the right amount to keep you engaged from week to week. It also favors real, hardworking bodybuilding exercises such as squats and bench presses.

The bad: Because the repetitions change from week to week, and there are a lot of exercises to do, it can be hard to learn initially. This program also assumes you have a basic knowledge of bodybuilding and weightlifting, so it isn’t designed for complete beginners.

JCDF Beginner’s Routine
Created by J.C. Deen, a strength coach and fitness writer, this program is specifically designed to help beginners master progressive overload through some old-school, compound workouts. Unlike HST, there aren’t a ton of exercises to learn–there are five key exercises in total–and the main goal is to increase the repetitions or weight with each session. This makes it easy to follow, as there aren’t any difficult repetition or exercise schemes set up that you have to follow.

The good: Because it’s designed for beginners, literally anyone can follow this program. This program emphasizes hard work over complication.

The bad: It may not contain enough variation for those with exercise A.D.D., who need a lot of variation to stay interested in the program. Nevertheless, it’s a good basic program.

As a reminder, remember to always check with your physician before beginning any workout program, especially if you have a pre-existing physical condition, such as diabetes or a heart irregularity.

“HST Methods,” hypertrophy-specific.com

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