I’m going to shift directions. I went a little too far into the weeds explaining why I’m a fan of barbell and bodyweight training.
I left my previous thought(s) on a confusing note, but that’s just how it’s going to be.
I want to talk about progressive overload.
The basic barbell and bodyweight exercises tend to (a) oppose gravity itself, (b) be closed kinetic chain exercises, (c) move in a straight line to reduce torque. These three things enable max load.
squat. chin-up. could be bench press. could be handstand push-up. or just the push-up.
the initial thought process and hurdle:
Have you mastered and trained an exercise without a lot of (if any) added load?
Because it’s common to hear that barbell training is good and useful and jump right into weighted barbell squats without having done one single non-weighted bodyweight squat.
At least, that’s what I did. And I like to think I’m not alone. Before you add a lot of load to an exercise, you have to make sure you’re prepared to add a lot of load.
Part of preparation is having decent technique (and the mobility needed to express decent technique). You need to work on / discover these things in a less high stakes (safer) environment.
Once you’re cleared from a technical-mobility standpoint, you have to train underneath your threshold in order to build a base.
But I’m going to loop back to preparation on the whole because I think it’ll make more sense after I go over progressive overload.
Progressive overload is the need to continually challenge your body.
To keep the analogy used moons ago, say you have three mafia men roaming your house. And the same exact “threat” goes down on a daily basis — it’s a threat your mafia can neutralize without strain.
You aren’t going to hire more mafia men if what you have is getting the job done. In order to convince your body that upgrading its defense system is a necessity, you have to increase the threat.
This threat increase = progressive overload.
For a long time, I misunderstood progressive overload.
There are many ways to accomplish progressive overload, but for “basic” barbell and bodyweight strength purposes, I focus on three.
The first two are well known.
The third isn’t.