Progressive overload refers to the process of gradually overloading the body with either volume, intensity, frequency, or time to reach a specific goal.

In other words, by teaching your body to do more work, you force new adaptations to become efficient at the demands you place on your system.

Skeletal muscle grows bigger and stronger in response to the training stimulus, but for further“gains”, you need to continue making greater demands on it.

If you don’t progressively overload the muscles by forcing them to do more than they’re accustomed to, they have no reason to make further adaptations.

Load: By increasing the weight lifted, you are asking your body to create an adaptation (muscle size and strength) to cope with the new stimulus / demand (load).

Remember, there’s an inverse relationship between load and reps, so when you increase the weight, your reps are going to fall to some degree. That’s OK, because soon enough, you’ll get stronger with that resistance and be able to repeat the cycle over again.

However, there are limitations to continually trying to increase the weight you can lift. Mainly, an increased risk to injury & loss of lifting technique & muscular tension.

Reps: As your strength increases, you may reach a plateau. To force new adaptations & progressively overload, you can increase the number of repetitions performed at your maximum weight. This is still an “overload” and is often very underrated.

By doing this, you will also achieve increased time under tension; which is another technique used to progressively overload.

Time & Tempo: Increasing the length of time and the speed at which you lift your maximum weight. Again, often underrated, slowing your repetitions down & extending the amount of time you are working for can force new adaptations. This is an efficient technique to use to help overcome a strength plateau.

Sets: Increase the number of sets you can perform on your maximum weight. This extra volume, at your maximum load, will cause a large extra demand upon your muscles.

Conclusion: Building muscle can be difficult, and a lengthy progress. In order to build muscle safely & efficiently, changing how you progressively overload is essential. Once you reach a strength plateau, try implementing some of the techniques above to keep progressing.

Have a brilliant training week ahead. Whatever you are training, kill it.

Big Love,

The Fitness Fraternity

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop