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The cornerstone of developing a toned, muscular body is progressive overload, a term I'm sure you've heard many times, and may even feel you understand it sufficiently enough to put the concept to good and effective use.

But to make sure we're all talking the same language, in the context of weight training, progressive overload simply means that you place more stress on the muscle at this workout than you did in your previous workout, and that you place more stress still at your next workout.

Now if we place a moderate level of stress on our body, it reacts by adapting. It adapts to protect itself against this stress, and so long as the training stress is the right kind we adapt by building muscle tissue. Once we recover, we train a little harder, again placing a stress on the body, and we adapt yet again by building still more muscle tissue.

Read More Achieving Progressive Overload



I'm addressing this article to the men and women who exercise for the primary purpose of changing their body shape, be it improving body tone or building muscle mass. If your main reason for training is fitness, endurance, strength, or sporting ability, then this article is probably not for you.

In fact the paragraph above highlights one of the main stumbling blocks we face when we take up exercise. We either start our training with no clear goal, or we fail to select the right type of training to meet that goal.

If we are fortunate enough to choose the right style of training, we face our next hurdle. When progress slows down, or stops, we decide to make changes. For most of us, the changes we make are completely wrong. We change the factors which don't contribute to us achieving our goal.

Finally, we reach the point that we feel we need to completely change our workout routine, maybe even switch exercise style or quit training altogether. Essentially we're bored, disappointed or simply de-motivated. Unfortunately at this point the changes we make are almost certainly inappropriate and often set our progress back or even regressing.

Read More Totally Effective Training Principles

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