Progressive overload seems to be the strength-training topic of the day, but why?
Put simply, the use of resistance or cardiovascular training to challenge your body will cause it to adapt and overcome the challenge. The training acts as a stimulus that, once overcome, can be continually increased to ‘progressively overload’.
Sounds simple. Lift a little more every session. Run a bit faster each race.
If you’re training with a purpose (sprint speed, bodybuilding, underwater swimming), you can target your activities and workouts in the direction you need. If you’re working with a trainer, they will be able to create a programme that overloads your body in the most effective ways to reach your goals.
If you’re building your own workout programme and you’ve identified your activities, you can build progressive overload into your training in several ways. The different overload styles will give various benefits, and again, should be used depending on your specific goals.
Take head though!
It’s called progressive overload because the overload needs to progress as your body adapts. It can be tempting to change those incremental steps into jumps, trying to speed up your muscle growth. However, this is a speedy way to injure yourself and set your training back while you recover.
Progressive overload keeps your body developing against set challenges. You can also challenge your body by changing these challenges entirely but that is an article for another day.