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The Biggest Mistake You Make When Starting To Workout!

Everything You Need To Know About Progressive Overload!

Posted by djamelb - July 23rd, 2013

Meet Joe.

Joe has been working out in the gym for months and hasn’t seen any significant results. He has tried everything to build muscle. High reps, low reps, high volume, low volume, low intensity, high intensity, strength, growth…the list goes on.

He spends his time surfing the internet looking for the best workout routine. Every week he finds the hottest new workout and decides to give it a try. He goes to the gym and does a different workout routine every 2 weeks. Then, months later, he wonders why he hasn’t seen any results.

Sound familiar?

Your body grows and changes due to muscular adaptation. If you consistently push your body towards its strength threshold, then your body will adapt to grow stronger. If you consistently push your body towards its speed threshold, then your body will adapt to grow faster.

What most guys don’t realize is that this adaptation does not happen after a single workout, it happens over time and over multiple workouts.  

The biggest mistake a lot of guys make when starting to workout is changing their workout routine too frequently. Your body hasn’t even had the chance to adapt from the last workout and you’re already “changing it up”. “Muscle confusion bro! I don’t wanna plateau.” Now, don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a time and place to modify your workouts. However, most guys “change up” their workouts prematurely.

Change happens little by little each week and you may not even notice it. However, the cumulative effect of the small improvements and adaptations over time are very noticeable. Someone that sticks with a progressive training program for 2 - 3 months, as opposed to 2 - 3 weeks, wakes up one day and looks in the mirror to see a pleasant surprise.

The true key to dramatic muscle gains is consistent progressive overload. Put simply, progressive overload is following a workout routine consistently and incrementally increasing the workload. The best way to do this is by increasing the weight used in each workout by 5 - 10% every time you repeat a workout.


  • Week 1: Bench – 10 Reps at 100lbs
  • Week 2: Bench Press – 10 Reps 105lbs
  • Week 3: Bench Press – 10 Reps 110lbs
  • Week 4: Bench Press – 10 Reps 115lbs

This progression for most guys seems slow and insignificant, and that’s why it’s so hard for them to follow. However, it is very effective.

A guy that follows this consistent incremental progression will increase their bench press by 30 - 50% over the course of 3 months. How much has your bench press increased these past 3 months?

Additionally, this increase in strength will be coupled with dramatic visually noticeable physical change. Your body will have to adapt by adding lean muscle to your frame in order to generate this increased amount of strength.

Instead of putting their egos aside and making incremental progress as shown above, a lot guys lift light, then heavy, then light again, then change their rep range every week. This way, they end up with the illusion of progress instead of actually accomplishing anything.

Do not be the guy that makes this mistake. Do not be the guy that goes to the gym for months on end and looks exactly the same as he did 6 months ago when he joined.

Stick to one workout program for at least 2 - 3 months. Just the fact that you are here at shows you are serious about changing your body. Pick one of the workout routines on this site and slowly increase your workload by 5 - 10% every week and you will see results.

If you’re looking for a full 3 month body transformation program, checkout There you’ll find an excellent resource on everything you need to know to sculpt the body of a Greek God.

Lastly, what are you going to do today to create your legacy?

Take care.

If this article helped you and you'd like to learn more ways to maximize your results, SIGN-UP for the Platinum Membership today!

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Nice article I can admit I am a bit like that switching it up way to often even though I always do the big three every week. But now I have made a rather easy program divided into push , shoulders , legs, calves , pull mon-friday. Will try and stick to this for 10 weeks and see what happens. Also I for once planned in deloads every 5 weeks which include more cardio less lifting. 

Brolle81  Edit  Delete  Close

@scott_herman . Will the challenge be archived so that I can see the program even after the expiration of the actual challenge is done? If so I could always do it after this 10 week program of mine that I just started. 

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

No problem at all @brollee81.  We are looking for people who change their life and body.  You can totally start now!

JakeL  Edit  Delete  Close

Hey @brolle81, it's only been a week since we started, you would not be far behind at all! I would totally recommend it to you, as @scott_herman said, it's KILLER!! Even if you don't get to do pictures and everything for the prizes, you should at least do it for the benefit you get out of the workouts, that makes it completely worth it!! I can tell you, after a week of doing it, I feel better than ever!!


Awesome read right here brother. I'm going to take this knowledge to the gym with me. Thanks!


Wait! I was told that you should change your workout every 6 weeks and this article says stick with one programme for 2-3 months? Can you please shed some light here


Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

Great point @wilkinson207@gov, it is all about tracking your progress with your exercises... IE weight and reps.Keep in mind you can "switch-up" your routine by adding more weight to your lifts, and changing the order of the exercises

wilkinson207  Edit  Delete  Close

varies from person to person depending on their own personal abilities, i personally stick to a workout plan anywhere from 4-8 months at a time, its all about how long it takes to defeat your neurological system, so basically keep going till you hit a brick wall, once you've gotten through that wall in your training then you start making realy stubstancial gains but only for so long, after that you change out to a new routine, make sense? some people hit a brick wall in week 3-4 and only spend 2 more weeks on their routine, i personally hit the wall anywhere from 2 months upto 4-5 months into a routine, after that i start leaning out getting stronger and putting on mass quicker than usually.


This is a great article.  I actually plan on making a video on progression overload soon.  It's more than just adding weight each set.  "OVERLOAD" can be drop sets, burn sets, less rest.. anything that overloads the muscle tissue during a lift.


This what I am trying to do since then, and now I am having great results... :D

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

Nice @chem715! Keep us posted on your progress brotha!


Well said! Good article.

jonahsaller  Edit  Delete  Close

Funny how something seemingly so simple can be so hugely overlooked. This article covers a lot of important stuff that a lot of people (including myself till recently) just don't know. Dude, I'm loving this site! :)


Informative article. My one question is, how do you know what weight to start off with per exercise? Say bench for instance, how do you know if it's the correct amount of weight you should lift in order for you to grow.

Whisper  Edit  Delete  Close

Trial and error. It shouldnt take you more than 5 minutes to figure out the needed weight.


Really great article. Very informative. Thanks... 

Hi Scott, I have noticed that my strength has increased but my size not at all, I don't seem to have gotten any bigger? Would this be a diet issue?
Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

@adawg38 it's ok to ramble!I do better with only doing one muscle group a week too.. and I work one group twice a week that I feel needs more work, like traps or calves.

Adawg38  Edit  Delete  Close

I got to say the last 4 years 4-6 weeks was my motto, mainly because most places out there suggest either 4-6 weeks or 4-8 weeks. I always worked the same muscle groups, I would just change up my exercises and reps. I won't lie but I did make great gains in size and strength but I feel like I could of done better. I always stuck with once a week except for chest was twice a week lifting 4 days a week but usually by week 3 or 4 I'd hit my wall. I recently changed up to 5 days a week twice a week each muscle group and 3 days for chest. I've finished my 4th week and am still adding weight each week and have never felt better. I am seeing crazy gains already in bf(IF is helping) and filling out areas where they just wouldn't fill out. I am going to keep going because if I can keep loading every week(which wasnt always the case prior) I want to see where it will take me. I am doing 3x12 and responding better than 3x8. I am sure my routine change up has a lot to do with things probably because I would recovey way before I hit certain muscles again slowing or stalling my progression. Point being if I would add weight the 2nd week and after the 3rd and 4th I couldn't or even adding each week for the first 3 weeks and by the 4th stall or have to drop a little I'd change up. I am still unsure of this whole when to change a routine up but if I am recovery well and progressing each week without stalling I am going to keep going. I know I am rambling and jumping around alot but hopefully you guys get what I am saying

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

@snej768 and @ralfisman can you both please post for us your curent daily macros and routine in the forums? We will take a look!