What is Progressive Overload?
The principle of progressive overload involves steadily increasing the demands on the musculoskeletal system to continually make improvements in muscle size, strength, and endurance over time.
To put it simply, to get bigger, stronger, and faster, you must progressively make your muscles work harder than to what they are accustomed. Often this means increasing the resistance of the exercise. But there are many ways you can progress exercises to increase performance.
The concept of progressive overload is simple to understand but often difficult to apply. All too often we fall victim to performing the same routine with the same loads out of comfort. Not only does this become boring, but it will often lead to suboptimal results of suffering performance and low adherence.
Here are ways to utilize progressive overload principles in your program to help meet your fitness goals.
Ways to change your workout routine to harness the power of progressive overload:
- Increase the resistance – If 40 pounds is easy, bump it up to 50!
- Decrease rest between sets – Instead of taking 30 seconds of rest between sets, try 15 seconds.
- Increase the repetitions – If performing sets of 6-8 reps is easy, try going 12-15.
- Increase the volume of work – Volume is simply sets multiplied by reps. Instead of performing 3 sets of 6 reps (3 x 6 =18), try 5 sets of 5 reps (5 x 5 = 25).
- Alter exercise tempo – Instead of flying through your set of squats, try slowing down the descent. Next time try taking 5 seconds to descend into your squat with every repetition.
If you are having difficulty organizing and executing a sports performance program, let us know at Positive Energy Physical Therapy | Sports Performance. We can help guide you towards your fitness goals.