Progressive Overload: What It Is and Why It’s Important

What do we need to become better over time? Progressive overload!

Let’s talk WHAT it is and WHY it’s so important.

Muscle mass is very energy expensive, hence why the body doesn’t want it. It burns more energy at rest which the body thinks is inefficient. Your body wants to become as efficient as possible, so if you don’t create an environment that requires your body to make adaptations, your body won’t change and your strength will plateau.

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So, what is progressive overload in fitness training?

Progressive overload is increasing the stimulus or, in gym talk, the workload during training. Its about putting your body under increased stress to force your body to change. If you don’t keep on challenging your muscles by increasing the workload over time and forcing your muscles to do more, you wont increase in strength and size. Hence why it is called progressive overload as you are progressively increasing the loading over time. This is one of the key foundations to increasing muscle and strength.

How do you use progressive overload?

Don’t mistake progressive overload with just lifting heavier weight. This will work up to a point, but there more approaches than just adding weight to the bar. Other ways to incorporate progressive overload include: increasing the number of reps, increasing the volume (sets x reps x weight), decreasing the rest time between sets and increasing how often you train. Just think about doing more overall to increase your work capacity.

Recovery, sleep and nutrition also all play a role in achieving your results but they come after progressive overload. This could arguably be the biggest indicator to getting results. Your one rep max and your physique is built on the foundation you lay down.

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Do you need to use progressive overload in your training, and is it important?

Yes!!! You need progressive overload to create a new training stimuli in order to stimulate the body to get bigger and stronger. So next time you see that guy in the gym with 10 years of training, but no results. Send him a link to this article and hopefully a few things will start to make sense!

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