Of all the concepts and practices that are involved in the exercise and fitness arena, progressive overload is one of the most important, yet often the most misused or misunderstood.
The reason its important is a very simple one. Without it, your body does not adapt and will never get bigger or stronger beyond a certain point.
Think about it this way. If you went to the gym and did the same exercise for the same length of time, using the same weight, or running for the same length of time without any changes, what would happen? Probably nothing at all. Your body wont learn to push itself and it certainly wouldnt adapt to the stresses and strains youd place upon it.
If youre simply wanting to maintain the physique youve got now, then carry on, but thats not what were here for is it!
Progressive overload means that you are continually increasing the demands on your muscles in order to make gains in their strength, size and endurance. The harder you work them, the stronger you become. It sounds obvious I know, but for many people, its easy to lose sight of it.
There may be a weight you struggle to lift at first. After a week or two, you manage to lift it. Fantastic. With progressive overload, it doesnt stop there. Add more weight to push your muscles even more, to lift bigger weights. Its this simple concept that resistance training is built upon.
Progressive overload doesnt just apply to muscle growth, but helps bone and connective tissue strength as well as cardiovascular fitness. You can see why its so important to this plan.
To keep progressive overload in the forefront of your exercise mindset; keep these 7 steps in mind when youre training.
1. Increase Resistance
2. Increase Sets
3. Increase Repetitions
4. Increase Frequency
5. Increase Exercises
6. Increase Intensity
7. Decrease Rest Time