"You can use the same load and perform the same amount of reps, but with more efficiency, meaning that you’re lifting the same load but with better form, more control, and with better activation of the target muscle," he says. "The target muscle will still experience an increase in tension comparable to if you were to add more weight to the movement.
"If we can go from performing a dumbbell shoulder press for 10 reps at a certain weight with 3 minutes of rest in between sets, to now performing the same reps and weight but with just 2 minutes of rest, we’ll stimulate more growth due to the added metabolic stress," he says.
"You can effectively increase both the stretch and the time under tension your muscle experiences during each rep, and as a result stimulate more growth without having to add any additional load," says Ethier.
And this goes for lifting lighter weights with a higher rep range, which builds comparable muscle growth as heavier weights with a lower rep range as you’re pushing to or close to failure.
"I would recommend always starting with efficiency before moving onto the other methods," says Ethier. "So for example let’s say you can perform 3 sets of 15 reps of a weighted push-up and are now ready to overload it to stimulate some more growth. To do so, you should first start by aiming to perform those 3 sets of 15 reps with better form and with better activation of your chest. And only once you nail that down should you then move onto the various other methods I discussed to make the movement even more difficult."