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  1. #1
    Registered User Samskihero's Avatar
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    Question How do you enforce Progressive overload when doing your isolations?

    Let's say your Target reps for a given isolation exercise is 12 reps.
    When going through it, do you decide to drop the weight and stay close to the 12 reps? Or stay at the weight you chose, All are trained very close to failure (3 RIR)

    Which do you often do?

    A: Stay at your target weight even if it drops below your target reps by a lot, Goal is to get stronger AT that given weight (Perhaps Drop the weight if you fall too far)
    Set 1: 22.5 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 2: 22.5 x 9 (3 RIR)
    Set 3: 22.5 x 6 (3 RIR)
    Set 4: 22.5 x 5 (3 RIR)
    Total Volume 697kg

    B: Drop the weight if you know you're not going to be close to your target reps, You try and remain Close to the target reps even if that means dropping the weight.
    Set 1: 22.5 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 2: 20 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 3: 20 x 9 (3 RIR)
    Set 4: 20 x 7 (3 RIR)
    Total Volume 787kg

    C: Stay at your target weight but do a quick drop set to make up the volume and fatigue.
    Set 1: 22.5 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 2: 22.5 x 9 (3 RIR)
    Dropset: 17.5 x 5 (3 RIR)
    Set 3: 22.5 x 6 (3 RIR)
    Dropset: 17.5 x 4 (3 RIR)
    Set 4: 22.5 x 5 (3 RIR)
    Dropset: 15 x 5 (3 RIR)


    D: Drop the weight if you know you're not going to be close to your target reps and just add a set to make up for lost volume (You remain Closer to the target reps and keep the volume up)
    Set 1: 22.5 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 2: 20 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 3: 20 x 9 (3 RIR)
    Set 4: 20 x 7 (3 RIR)
    Add Set 5: 20 x 6 (3 RIR)
    Total Volume 907kg

    E: Other
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  2. #2
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Didn't read your examples, but assuming you're doing a sensible overall program, you don't need to "enforce" progressive overload on isolations exercises. Regardless, you can pick whichever of your examples work for you.
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    Add reps
    Add weight monthly
    Don’t overthink the little things
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    I've got this lady that wears black leather lingerie. She hits me a with a horse whip to get out extra reps.
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  5. #5
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Enforce... progressive overload.... okay.
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  6. #6
    based on actual events jtaylor2010's Avatar
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    With plates I usually keep the weight the same and in a range where I can hit or get close to 10 reps on all my sets. When that becomes too easy I bump the weight up.

    For machines I often stick with strategy above, but will sometimes do drop sets with a structure of - hit 10 heavy reps, drop weight to where I can hit 10 more without resting, drop again and hit 10 more without resting and count that as “one” set.
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  7. #7
    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    It comes naturally..
    When it does.
    Then you do more.
    Its that simple

    Forcing anything is just asking to over reach and stall.

    Progressive overload is the DISPLAY of progress, not what 'enforces' it.. Its organic and comes when you have done the work for it.
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  8. #8
    Registered User coachcalande's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Samskihero View Post
    Let's say your Target reps for a given isolation exercise is 12 reps.
    When going through it, do you decide to drop the weight and stay close to the 12 reps? Or stay at the weight you chose, All are trained very close to failure (3 RIR)

    Which do you often do?

    A: Stay at your target weight even if it drops below your target reps by a lot, Goal is to get stronger AT that given weight (Perhaps Drop the weight if you fall too far)
    Set 1: 22.5 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 2: 22.5 x 9 (3 RIR)
    Set 3: 22.5 x 6 (3 RIR)
    Set 4: 22.5 x 5 (3 RIR)
    Total Volume 697kg

    B: Drop the weight if you know you're not going to be close to your target reps, You try and remain Close to the target reps even if that means dropping the weight.
    Set 1: 22.5 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 2: 20 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 3: 20 x 9 (3 RIR)
    Set 4: 20 x 7 (3 RIR)
    Total Volume 787kg

    C: Stay at your target weight but do a quick drop set to make up the volume and fatigue.
    Set 1: 22.5 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 2: 22.5 x 9 (3 RIR)
    Dropset: 17.5 x 5 (3 RIR)
    Set 3: 22.5 x 6 (3 RIR)
    Dropset: 17.5 x 4 (3 RIR)
    Set 4: 22.5 x 5 (3 RIR)
    Dropset: 15 x 5 (3 RIR)


    D: Drop the weight if you know you're not going to be close to your target reps and just add a set to make up for lost volume (You remain Closer to the target reps and keep the volume up)
    Set 1: 22.5 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 2: 20 x 11 (3 RIR)
    Set 3: 20 x 9 (3 RIR)
    Set 4: 20 x 7 (3 RIR)
    Add Set 5: 20 x 6 (3 RIR)
    Total Volume 907kg

    E: Other
    0 RIR, work as hard as possible each set, adjust weight as needed to hit REp RANGE desired. 8-12 for example.
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  9. #9
    Registered User jaxqen's Avatar
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    How can one maintain to 3RIR and use progressive overload? {serious question}
    Or 2RIR.... or 1RIR... whatever
    I like to learn from the mistakes of the people who take my advice.
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  10. #10
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    The general goal of resistance training is overload. You need a certain amount of weight, reps and sets to achieve this. As your body adapts, that amount becomes insufficient and you need to increase one or more of those parameters to achieve the same level off overload. That's progressive overload.
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jaxqen View Post
    How can one maintain to 3RIR and use progressive overload? {serious question}
    Or 2RIR.... or 1RIR... whatever
    You can't - unless you progress from high to low RIR over time.

    Or, as mentioned, you get stronger as a result of training - so the overload is the effect not the cause.
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    Registered User jaxqen's Avatar
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    Getting stronger = more weight or more reps or more sets
    {Leaving aside better form, faster concentric, slower eccentric.}
    All three imply getting to another RIR
    100x10 > 105x10 so RIR2>RIR1
    100x8 > 100x9 so RIR2>RIR1

    "The effect not the cause" - you mean repeating a movement for a longer time without changing anything and hoping that RIR3 will become RIR4 and then basically a warmup set?
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    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jaxqen View Post
    Getting stronger = more weight or more reps or more sets
    {Leaving aside better form, faster concentric, slower eccentric.}
    All three imply getting to another RIR
    100x10 > 105x10 so RIR2>RIR1
    100x8 > 100x9 so RIR2>RIR1

    "The effect not the cause" - you mean repeating a movement for a longer time without changing anything and hoping that RIR3 will become RIR4 and then basically a warmup set?
    That is essentially a the effect of 'doing the right dose of training' indeed. You added muscle and got stronger.

    Or its daily fluctuations

    Doesn't mean you can't change variables of course.
    Some times you have to to line the dose up with your capability - which in essence is exactly what we are aiming for.

    Adding weigh or reps and it been harder isn't actually progressive overload, that is not akin to arbitrary progression of load. That's periodisation to try to illicit the right dose for the adaptations.

    Tldr.
    Adding weight/reps doesn't cause adaptations
    Adaptations let you increase load/reps
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    Originally Posted by coachcalande View Post
    0 RIR, work as hard as possible each set, adjust weight as needed to hit REp RANGE desired. 8-12 for example.
    This is what I do - or try to. Keep in mind that for most people, what they perceive of as going to failure is really a couple reps shy. We aren't as strong mentally as we are physically, in most cases.
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  15. #15
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    Just want to point out the obvious - progressive overload isn't necessarily something that can or should be measured based upon 1 exercise.

    The weight and reps you're performing can stay the same on a specific exercise (or even drop) and you still may be making progress. How? It may be as simple as that the exercise/s performed earlier in the workout required more effort than they had previously. There are many other factors as well.

    Now to answer the question in the OP - I've done all of these. My personal opinion is that it makes very little difference which approach is taken.
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    Originally Posted by CW47 View Post
    Just want to point out the obvious - progressive overload isn't necessarily something that can or should be measured based upon 1 exercise.

    The weight and reps you're performing can stay the same on a specific exercise (or even drop) and you still may be making progress. How? It may be as simple as that the exercise/s performed earlier in the workout required more effort than they had previously. There are many other factors as well.

    Now to answer the question in the OP - I've done all of these. My personal opinion is that it makes very little difference which approach is taken.
    This.

    I have to question why you're leaving 3 RIR for isolation exercises? I always take them to 0 RIR and sometimes true failure and save leaving reps in reserve for the heavy compound exercises.
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  17. #17
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    Originally Posted by CW47 View Post
    Just want to point out the obvious - progressive overload isn't necessarily something that can or should be measured based upon 1 exercise.

    The weight and reps you're performing can stay the same on a specific exercise (or even drop) and you still may be making progress. How? It may be as simple as that the exercise/s performed earlier in the workout required more effort than they had previously. There are many other factors as well.

    Now to answer the question in the OP - I've done all of these. My personal opinion is that it makes very little difference which approach is taken.
    That is true, especially since accessories are usually done on the same day and after main compounds - so fatigue plays a big factor. It's way more influenced by how hard you hit the earlier exercises than by a progression over time. If you do them on a different day then maybe performance would indicate something useful.
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    Originally Posted by RapidFail View Post
    This.

    I have to question why you're leaving 3 RIR for isolation exercises? I always take them to 0 RIR and sometimes true failure and save leaving reps in reserve for the heavy compound exercises.
    I rarely leave reps on isos...
    Probably actually fail on my last set.

    Systemic Fatigue is minimal and unless im killing my self doing way to much. Rarely interfered.
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    Registered User Samskihero's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    You can't - unless you progress from high to low RIR over time.

    Or, as mentioned, you get stronger as a result of training - so the overload is the effect not the cause.
    "The overload is the effect, not the cause"
    I don't think I've ever heard it explained that way and it pretty much answered everything.
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    Honestly 'overload' in the name is very deceiving for what happens.

    Id argue that in its self causes more problems than it solves.
    You arent really overloading anything, your just working within your current abilities. Overload implies you are doing more than you are capable of.
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    Registered User asrl78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    Honestly 'overload' in the name is very deceiving for what happens.

    Id argue that in its self causes more problems than it solves.
    You arent really overloading anything, your just working within your current abilities. Overload implies you are doing more than you are capable of.
    Surely it means doing more than your body is accustomed too or has done before.

    For example, if I squat 85 kg for 3x10, then next week I manage 90 kg for 3x10, that is overload because it is more than my body has done before, and AIUI that overload is what stimulates adaptation in the form of increased muscle mass. Alternatively I could keep the weight the same and increase the number of sets or reps which is another form of overload.
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by asrl78 View Post
    Surely it means doing more than your body is accustomed too or has done before.
    In a word, no.
    Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
    Galatians 4:16

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    Originally Posted by radrd View Post
    This is what I do - or try to. Keep in mind that for most people, what they perceive of as going to failure is really a couple reps shy. We aren't as strong mentally as we are physically, in most cases.
    I can relate to this. When I was trying Steve Shaw's rep goal method of progressive overload, I would squat on each set until I slowed right down around the sticking point, and I thought that failure was imminent. At one point I got to that stage and for curiosity tried one more rep and I managed it ok, and sometimes have managed another one as well. I now know when I start to slow significantly I can crank one or two more out without reaching true failure or form going downhill.
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    In a word, no.
    Well that is what it means in the context of training.
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by asrl78 View Post
    Well that is what it means in the context of training.
    For a novice, perhaps. Adaptation occurs very quickly at that stage. For intermediates and above, the answer is no.

    Being capable of something and being accustomed to itare two very different things.
    Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
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    To reiterate the point that was made by several people earlier, which I think is spot on, progressive overload is something that manifests as a result of getting stronger.
    It's not that you force yourself to do more than you were able to do previously, and THAT makes you stronger.

    You can always only do what you're capable of doing, and you can never do more than that.
    If you really think about it, that wouldn't even make sense.
    Progressive overload is a RESULT of getting stronger, not a cause.

    The phrase is poorly used most of the time, which is what causes a lot of this confusion.
    We're often told to apply progressive overload.
    What we should be told is to add weight/reps/sets as our capability of doing so increases.
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    So when I give it 110% every workout I'm enforcing progressive overload, right bros?
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    I have to deal with this guy at the gym. That's a .44 magnum. The world's most powerful handgun. Do you feel lucky?

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    Originally Posted by paulinkansas View Post
    I have to deal with this guy at the gym. That's a .44 magnum. The world's most powerful handgun. Do you feel lucky?

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    Originally Posted by asrl78 View Post
    Surely it means doing more than your body is accustomed too or has done before.

    For example, if I squat 85 kg for 3x10, then next week I manage 90 kg for 3x10, that is overload because it is more than my body has done before, and AIUI that overload is what stimulates adaptation in the form of increased muscle mass. Alternatively I could keep the weight the same and increase the number of sets or reps which is another form of overload.
    And this is why it's a deceiving phrase...
    It makes people think this.

    Got that backwards still.
    Doing more to 'overload' the body doesn't create the adaptations... Being able to do more is the result of doing the appropriate dose of training

    - which very frequently is NOT more than you did before.
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