The second factor for success is progressive overload, which is deemed to be the most important principle in strength training.

As I mentioned in the previous post, to make your body change you have to force it to change.

No matter what type of exercise regime you are undertaking, your body will eventually adapt to that. This means that continuing in the same manner using the same stimulus will not elicit further improvement or adaptation.

This means to progress in your training you need to change the stimulus to create further adaptation and change.

Essentially, progressive overload is simply doing more over time. However, this can be achieved in a number of ways:

  • Lifting heavier weights on each exercise
  • Lifting the same load for more reps
  • Reducing rest time between sets and/or exercises
  • Increasing the range of motion on an exercise
  • Doing more sets of an exercise
  • Increasing the number of your sessions
  • Doing more work in the same amount of time or doing the same amount of work in less time
  • Increasing the speed of the exercise (only for those with already good form)
  • Using methods like forced reps, negatives, drop sets, static holds, rest pause sets, cluster sets etc., but these should be reserved for more experienced lifters.

Progressive overload is a must if you to want to keep improving your strength and fitness. However, it should be noted that progressive overload is not a linear process unless you are a novice lifter, but is something that you should constantly be striving for. 

Published by Neil Elbourne