What's the Meaning of Muscle Overload?

A muscle overload injury is one of the most common types of injuries for athletes. In the next article, we'll talk about everything you need to know to prevent them. We'll also give you some treatment guidelines in case you're already suffering from one.
What's the Meaning of Muscle Overload?

Last update: 04 July, 2019

Muscle overload is caused by a prolonged repetition of movements that results in exhaustion of the muscles involved. As a matter of fact, the main cause of overload injuries is excessive training.

In any case, this type of injury is very common among athletes, which is why we want to use this article to tell you everything you need to know about this subject. Take note and keep reading to learn more about muscle overload!

In a nutshell, overloading your muscles means that you’re working out at a higher level than you’re used to. You should visit a specialist whenever you experience a muscle overload injury to prevent it from turning into a much more serious problem.

Muscle overload can cause issues with your joints and a lack of mobility. It can also cause pain and a heavy feeling in the affected muscles.

It’s very important to respect the appropriate rest times to eliminate muscle tension and avoid over-training. Not doing so can lead to a muscle overload injury.

You can only resume your regular training routine after a muscle overload injury when all the pain has disappeared. Your muscle strength and mobility in the affected area should also be back to normal before you start working out again.

Muscle overload is a guarantee for gains

Muscle overload may sound like a bad thing because it highlights the fact that you’re training too much. However, what it really means is that the intensity of the workout is high enough (higher than normal) to cause a physiological adaptation.

In fact, that overload strengthens the muscle fibers and sometimes it even makes them grow. This allows your muscles to lift a heavier weight with more ease. If you want to get results when lifting weights, you must lift more than your muscles can handle.

A safe and effective overload is important to develop your muscles and improve your physical condition. However, the risk of injury is quite apparent, which is why you must look for the advice of an experienced and certified personal trainer before planning or changing any aspect of your routine.

In this sense, periodically adjusting your routine to include some muscle overload exercises can help you to avoid becoming bored with performing the same routine over and over again. With proper planning, this can be a great way to challenge your body any time you hit a fitness plateau.

A woman sweating after her muscle overload routine

Cardiovascular exercises and muscle overload

The type of exercise you do will cause your body to make adjustments and improve its ability for that specific activity. This means that it’s possible to achieve muscle overload with both cardiovascular exercises and resistance training. You can do it by increasing different variables.

For example, cardiovascular overload can happen when you increase the duration, intensity or frequency of your aerobic training sessions. By duration we mean the time you dedicate to each session. You can start by adding on five minutes at a time.

You can also alter the intensity of the session by going faster or uphill; this will help to make the workout harder. As for the frequency of the sessions, all you have to do is increase the number of times that you work out during the week.

Weight lifting and overload

You can achieve muscle overload with weight lifting by increasing the amount of time that you spend on this activity. It’s also possible to get there by increasing the number of repetitions or sets per exercise. Another way to do it is by reducing the rest time in between each set.

Increasing the frequency of this type of exercise is not something you should do carelessly. Resistance training usually requires a recovery period of 24 to 48 hours between each session.

Girl lifting heavy weights to achive muscle overload

In summary, effective muscle overload with progressive exercises helps to improve your physical condition. Once your body adapts to the new workload, you can start to make additional adjustments.

Finally, don’t forget that it’s important to follow a progressive training program and complete a good warm up to avoid an overload injury. Follow these tips and boost the results of your training!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.