Microloading. For the experienced lifter it's an effective way to push past a plateau and increase strength in your muscles. For the beginner lifter it's an easy to understand, approachable, and track-able way to increase how much weight your muscles can handle overtime. Microloading is also an safe and effective way of weight training in that it only requires increasing weights in small amounts (rather than huge quantities all at once) and allows muscles to steadily make adjustments without being severely punished within one training session.
Here is a basic model for using microloading in a workout:
1) Always warm-up the muscles you are about to lift with.
2) Perform sets of an exercise at a given weight.
3) If you can perform the sets with perfect form, the next time you perform the exercise, increase your weight by about only 2.5 pounds.
4) After increasing the weight, repeat steps 2 and 3.
2.5 pounds may not seem like a lot of weight, but it adds up, trust me!
Obviously there are ways you can expand upon this basic model of microloading. For example, I like to use this method with some of my clients:
Set 1: 15 reps at starting weight.
Set 2: 10 reps with an increase of 2.5 lbs.
Set 3: 8 reps with an increase of 2.5 lbs.
Set 4: Drop back to the starting weight and do as many reps until muscles are exhausted or lose form.
The next time I use the workout with a client, the starting weight will increase 2.5 pounds from the original workout, and so on and so on.
I have seen this model do great things for clients. It is simple to explain and apply to one's own training, which makes my clients more comfortable and feeling more in control of their bodies. The improvements and accomplishments of the clients are also quantifiable overtime, which helps improve confidence, especially for those clients who tend to rely on sometimes difficult to measure physical changes as markers of success.
Happy Weight Training!