I've read somewhere that they get gains without applying progressive overload. That would mean one could get bigger muscles without getting stronger, because he doesn't add reps/weight each workout.

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    If you start training, that's already progressive overload. Your body will adapt until you are at your new equilibrium
    – Raditz_35
    Nov 3, 2019 at 1:32
  • test @Raditz_35
    – Stjema
    Nov 3, 2019 at 10:23
  • 1
    I don't get what you are saying. It seems to me like you are basically posting this: "I'm training suboptimally without applying progressive overload and I've noticed that I don't have much success". Well, start training right with progressive overload. I don't think that's interesting, I think that's obvious. Also, please note that those things take time. It's most likely not your body but your impatience and lack of thought put into it and it sounds like you are missing a good program. You will need to train 1-2 years naturally (depending on how old you are) until you can tell
    – Raditz_35
    Nov 3, 2019 at 12:30
  • Usually men don't need to train 1-2 years to see results. @Raditz_35 Probably not even women?
    – Stjema
    Nov 4, 2019 at 0:57
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    So you either are not "average" in some way, don't know what average is, don't eat right, don't train right or a combination. Please post your workout and diet. Btw, don't train to failure on every set, mistake #1
    – Raditz_35
    Nov 5, 2019 at 5:43

2 Answers 2


no.. progressive overload isnt absolutely necessary for a newbie. although youll stop gaining after a 3 to 4 weeks and it is highly inefficient.

As a beginner, you'll make gains quickly in both strength and muscle with little effort because your body is suddenly going from couch potato with fatty diet to using your muscles everyday and eating clean.. essentially getting in natural shape. Technically this is progressive overload because your going from doing no exercise, to doing exercise such as bicep curls no weights.. or eve doing exercises with weights such as bicep curls but with 5 lb dumbbells. To answer your question, no. progressive overload is not needed. although your gains will be slower and much less significant and your body will likely stall within a few weeks due to not needing to add muscle or strength to lift the same weights. thats the definition of progressive overload because your body does not need to enhance itself to lift the same weights unless your lifting them for more reps or lifting more weight.

if you do this you will likely not get in shape and gain maybe 2 to 5 lbs at best of muscle.

After 6 months to a year the newbie phase ends and youll have to change your diet and workout. Athough if youre not using progressive overload, your gains will probably stop within a few weeks. I dnt understand why you wouldnt want to increase the weight or add reps unless youre trying to be as lazy as possible with a workout


That would mean one could get bigger muscles without getting stronger

I think you've got this backwards.

There are two ways in which you get stronger: add more muscle fibres, or, increase your muscle fibre recruitment (i.e. how efficiently you use your muscles).

When you workout without a progressive overload and without eating in a surplus you are increasing your body's ability to recruit muscle fibres. This is the opposite of your statement: you'll get stronger without getting bigger muscles.

You said that you trained to failure every day. What did your reps start at, and what did they end at? If you started at 10 and ended at 20 that is, by definition, progress.

  • i started with negative chin ups 5 sec down 7x7x7, and after 6 months of a full body workout it was: 8 sec down 5x5x5
    – Stjema
    Nov 4, 2019 at 20:25
  • @Stjema: (7+7+7)*5 = 105 seconds total hang time. (5+5+5)*8 = 120 seconds total hang time. It looks like progress to me.
    – C. Lange
    Nov 4, 2019 at 20:27
  • 6 months.... 6 months. @C. Lange Do you know how much 6 months are? 15 seconds progress... have that in mind... The avg guy makes 3x12 chin ups after 6 months.
    – Stjema
    Nov 4, 2019 at 20:34
  • @Stjema Where do you have this nonsense information from? 3x12 is quite impressive depending on your weight, age and biophysical properties
    – Raditz_35
    Nov 5, 2019 at 5:46

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