Please stop wasting your money on shitty supplements.
Supplements. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry. Pills and powders fly off of shelves, and supplement companies and their marketing masterminds get richer by the day.
You want the cold, hard truth? Most supplements are just very expensive lies. You should be very cautious about claims plastered on supplement labels.
Some supplements do have a place as part of a healthy diet and fitness routine. Supplements also have a place when nutrient deficiencies are present. They can help fill gaps in your diet and — gasp — supplement your health and performance.
Supplements are no replacement for real food, however, and some of them are flat-out ineffective (and potentially dangerous). In this article, learn about three common fitness supplements that don’t work at all — and three that do.
2/7/2021 0 Comments
Apply the basics of progressive overload for best results, even with minimal equipment
Progressive overload is one of the most important laws of strength training if you’re in it for results. Simply put, overloading means that you are increasing the amount of work you are doing and recovering from over time. You can do this in many ways, but for the most part, fitness enthusiasts limit overload to the practice of adding weight to the bar each week or adding a couple of reps over time.
It’s common — and not wrong — to assess your progress and overload your workouts by increasing weights each week or at least each training cycle.
While it’s all well and good to add weight as a way of overloading, what happens when you’re suddenly faced with a lack of equipment? (Like what happened to all of us gym-goers in 2020)?
If your only overloading tactic is adding weight, you’ll soon face plateaus and frustration. You may battle sinking levels of interest and commitment to your training.
Before you give up because you still don’t have access to a barbell and shelves of dumbbells, you should know that there are four textbook ways to overload your training: increasing intensity, volume, frequency, or tension. You should only increase one of these factors at a time, and, unpopular opinion, before you increase intensity (amount of weight) it’s important to increase volume.
Heavy weights are overhyped, anyway. By the time you finish this article you’ll have five proven ways to overload your workouts without heavier weights.
1. Alter the tempo
Time under tension (TUT) is a common bodybuilding tactic. In bodybuilding, lifters typically increase the amount of time they spend in the eccentric (lowering) phase of their lifts. However, you can increase TUT by adding time to the concentric (lifting) phase and end (static) ranges as well.
By increasing your TUT, you effectively create a much higher demand on your muscles without adding weight. In fact, depending on the tempo, you may even have to decrease the weight.
You’re probably wondering how this helps if your goal is to lift heavier. Well, increasing tempo while maintaining proper form will help you gain control of your movement and increase muscle mass and strength overtime. Read more on the research behind tempo training and its effectiveness here.
2. Shorten the rest interval
Shorter rest intervals mean shorter recovery periods. This requires you to recover from each set faster and/or do your next set fatigued.
This overload technique is common in German Body Composition Training, a method of training used to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. This could mean transitioning from 90-second rest periods down to 30-second rest periods or less (over time, of course, as decreasing your usual rest period too abruptly could result in intense delayed-onset muscle soreness [DOMS]).
As the rest period goes down, you will accomplish the same amount of work in less time.
3. Increase overall volume
Volume is described as your total weight lifted, which is found by multiplying sets by reps by weight. For example, if you perform three sets of 10 squats at 100 pounds, your total volume for that exercise on that day is 3,000 pounds.
You can increase volume by increasing your overall reps, sets, or amount of exercises within a training session. Like with any form of progressive overload, when you increase volume, you are simply increasing the amount of work done.
Increasing overall volume should come before increasing intensity (weight). One way to increase volume is to add reps to your sets week after week. For example, if you squatted 100 pounds for 10 reps this week, try squatting 100 pounds for 12 reps next week.You could also add an extra set of 10 or add in another quad-focused leg exercise, such as split squats.
4. Vary your grip and stance
This isn’t technically a textbook law of progressive overload, but changing your grip and stance will change up the muscle recruitment pattern you’re using and can help keep you interested and engaged in your training. (Interest and engagement are two very important factors in your training).
Doing the same exercises week after week will certainly produce results, but we believe it’s important to explore different grips, stances, and movement patterns to keep your training fun and challenging. In fact, research points to complexity (variation) as a novel component in progressive overload.
You see a lot of these switch-ups week to week in Functional Bodybuilding plans, and it is a variance Ashley uses in individualized coaching. A couple examples of this are changing your grip from neutral, to supinated, to wide, or changing your kettlebell Romanian deadlift to staggered stance Romanian deadlifts.
5. Deepen your range of motion
For beginners, the number-one focus should be establishing full range of motion and proper form. This will have the most profound impact on your mind-muscle connection, which is necessary for progressive overload. Becoming more attuned with your body and which muscles you are using will help you actively move the weight rather than passively go through repetitions.
For more experienced lifters, deepening your range of motion can help you recruit more muscle fibers than ever before. However, before you increase ROM, remember that form and ownership of the form are more important. We don’t recommend attempting to increase the ROM on a movement you don’t feel confident in at your current ROM.
Smarter Sweat takeaways
We can’t preach it enough: You can still progress your workouts without having access to equipment! If you find that you’re bored with your workouts, not seeing results, or still don’t have access to a gym, following these rules of progressive overload can help you push past plateaus and stay interested in your training.
We’ve designed two, done for you 12-week programs that follow these principles of progressive overload. Our programs purposefully require minimal equipment so that you can get results and explore new movements with just a couple of dumbbells, bands, or kettlebells.
We’d love to know how you’ve been challenging yourself through fitness over the last year.
By Ashley Pfantz
Ashley is the cofounder of Smarter Sweat, certified personal trainer and professional health and fitness coach. She also owns Smarter Sweat I.D., an individualized fitness, nourishment, and lifestyle coaching business where she coaches all of her clients remotely.
About Smarter Sweat
Smarter Sweat is a fitness company built from the ground up by fitness experts Amanda Capritto and Ashley Phantz. Amanda and Ashley are both dead-set on cutting through the clutter of the fitness industry and providing raw, real, utterly honest information about fitness and wellness.