What is progressive overload?

by Bexi Wood in Training

personal training | griffin fit | leicester

Progressive overload involves continually increasing the demands on the musculoskeletal system to continually make gains in muscle size, strength and endurance.

As silly as it sounds, it is so common for people to go to the gym do the same workout with the same weights, the same amount of reps and the same amount of sets; and these people will do this for years and wonder why their body isn’t changing. If you continue to do the same few exercises in the same way your body will adapt to what you are doing as your body will find what you’re doing easy. In order to see a change in your body, you must adapt your routine and mix things up.

• Increase the resistance– when increasing the weight, you may have to decrease the amount of reps you perform, this is okay as your body is adapting to the new weight.
• Increase the reps– add more reps on if you can
• Increase the sets– play around with how many sets you’re doing, rather than sticking to the same amount, push for at least one more set.
• Increase training frequency– don’t let all of your workouts be whole body, split your muscle groups up to get more out your session and train that muscle group more than once.
• Decrease rest time between sets– push yourself so you have more time to fit more sets in.

You can include any of these methods in your training, but its best to try one thing at a time to slowing introduce yourself to a progressive overload in order to help see a change in your physique.

In our group PT classes here at Griffin Fit we see a lot of people using the same weights every session, because they feel comfortable and are possibly scared to try a heavier weight and push themselves a bit further. If one of your goals is to build strength, then always try to lift the next weight up than what you’d normally use. This helps push your muscles and also can sometimes make you realise what your actually capable of. If you can’t quite get through the whole amount of time using the heavier weight, then you can drop back down to the lighter weight, or take more rest time. To build strength and muscles, we work on low reps, heavier weight. If you want to increase your endurance, then work on low weights, more reps.

Don’t be scared to lift heavier weights, especially women. Weights wont make you look ‘manly’, instead then will help with overall toning, reduce any imbalances and improve your strength. Goals are reached outside of your comfort zone, so sometimes we have to step out of out comfort zone to achieve our goals.