Almost everyone who trains at any level, unknowingly practice the art of Progressive Overload.
I was inspired to write about this subject after reading ”The Worlds Fittest Book” by Ross Edgley. A fantastic read if you’re looking for your next fix.
What is Progressive Overload?
If you have a particular goal, then you have to put your body through enough stress and stimuli to achieve that goal.
For example bench press:
Week one you bench 100kg to failure. The week after you add an extra 5kg, week after the same.
Now the above example may be possible for the newbie lifter, however, an experienced lifter would be lucky to get a progressive overload of 1%, but progress is progress.
This concept governs all gains of any kind. If you hit the road to improve your running, week one you may manage 1 mile, week two would be 2 miles and so on.
Expecting someone to go from a couch potato to running a marathon, would be foolhardy and dangerous; that is why the art of progressive overload is employed. Small, steady and achievable goals.
Now, there are many factors and variables to consider; but that is it in a nutshell.
Progress can’t always be increased weekly either. But, as long as you’re programming toward a progression, then you’re on the right track.
Your body very quickly and effectively adapts to this- termed as a general adaptation- and that is why you need to consistently overload the body with stress and stimuli for your body to develop.
So, where do you go from here?
Do you often train to a comfortable level? And wonder why you’ve not changed lately.
Keeping this close to home and using our classes as an example- how can you use Progressive Overload?
In our advanced Barbell program, members knowingly or unknowingly are in a constant state of Progressive Overload, as we always throw different kinds of stress and stimuli at them. Whether its different tempo’s, rep ranges, movements, angles or energy systems. That’s of course in conjunction with their weight ranges for specific exercises.
In our beginner/ intermediate Team Training program; Progressive overload maybe as simple as being able to perform a full squat; turning half press-ups into full ones, or merely increasing increments on kettlebells.
Whether small or large, we should all be training towards some form of progressive overload.