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What does "Progressive Overload" mean?

You will see many phrases being thrown around the internet such as Doms, HIIT and Progressive Overload.

So let's take a little look at what progressive overload means.


If you enjoy running and you are trying to decrease your 5k times (as an example), you will need to work on carrying a little more speed every time you go out running. There are ways that you can do this by not just running but by working on the smaller aspects, such as lung capacity, leg strength and explosiveness and even muscle fatigue.

Every time we can increase performance we are progressively overloading ourselves.

Weight training

Now in weight training we can also progressively overload ourselves. Below are a few examples on just how to do this.

1. Increase weight

Probably the most common known way to overload is by increasing the weight.


If you are to increase the weight it is vitally important that you know that the exercise being performed is with good form and is not likely to cause you injury.

So many times you will see the "ego lifters" in the gym thinking that just because they have put more weight on means that they will become some sort of alpha.

Only increase the weight if you can perform the exercise with good form while still pushing the boundaries of your strength.

2. Increase Volume

This means a mix of increasing weight and increasing reps of the exercise.

Let's take squats as an example.

If you were to perform 10 squats @ 50 kg for 3 sets your total weight lifted would be...


Now if you then decided to perfomr 12 squats @ 45kg for 4 sets your total weight would be...


It is basically taking your workout as a whole and increasing the total volume wekk after week.

3. Decreasing time of rest

Decreasing the time you rest will mean that the next set that you perform will be under a much more fatigued muscle. This type of overload is not normally found in strength training but for those competing in a higher intensity workout program.

Over ways of increasing your intensity of your workout by progressively overloading can be

- Increased Range of Motion

- Increased time under tension

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