What is progressive overload and why is it important?

If you’ve been in the fitness space for a bit, you may have heard it before, but what really is it? 👇

Progressive overload is the concept of increasing the demand on your muscles over time to continue to build strength as you get stronger.

So, if you start doing 10 bodyweight squats you’re going to want to increase reps, change the tempo, or add weight to make it harder to continue to build strength. This essentially is progressive overload.

There are multiple ways you can make an exercise harder – some examples being:

  1. Progressing the exercise itself – for example progressing a deadlift to a staggered stance or single leg deadlift
  2. Adding weight or resistance of some kind (e.g. band, dumbbell, machine, etc.)
  3. Change the tempo – slowing the exercise down or adding a pause increases the amount of time the muscle has to work. This is also called increasing the time under tension.
  4. Adding reps or sets – this is another way to increase the time under tension of the muscles being worked.

As a newbie, you may be able to progress your workouts more frequently, but as you advance more in your training, your progress will slow down. So, you may not be able to increase weight, progress the exercise every single session, or advance each week; but over time, you should be able to make headway in some way if your goal is to increase strength. All in all, don’t get frustrated if every single session you’re not able to make some changes – that’s normal! ❤️

If you want guidance in your training, feel free to check out my individualized workout programs here to work with me 1:1. Or if you just want a program to follow and feel confident you can progress yourself, check out my programs here!

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Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here. 

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