Progressive Overload Steve Hill, CSCS
You are a lean-mean-fat-burning-muscle-building machine. You’ve been killing it using the Sworkit app for a while; you made incredible gains in fat loss, muscle building, and overall strength and conditioning. You’ve reached a point where the workouts are easy—maybe a little too easy? You’ve also noticed that your strength and abilities have pretty much leveled off, or plateaued.
What’s the next step?
You’re living a healthy, fit lifestyle, and you’re eating healthier than before! Plus, you work out consistently throughout the week. What’s the next plan? How do you continue to progress?
Our bodies like to adapt and then hold. This is called homeostasis. It’s a point where your body does not like to change beyond what it has to. It’s a balance, and the equilibrium that your body reaches after being introduced to a new stimulus or challenge. It likes to find the path of least resistance and then coast. Just like how you started out in the beginning, you saw incredible change quickly that slowly began to diminish overtime. Your body adapted to the new stimulus (working out and eating better) and then decided that it had reached a point where it didn’t need to change anymore to keep up with your new lifestyle.
So here’s the next step: progressive overload.
In order to keep your body adapting, you have to provide a new stimulus with progressive overload.
This can come in many forms:
- Increase the exercise interval length
- Decrease the rest interval length.
- Increase the speed of the exercise (perform reps faster)
- Increase the weight used
- Increase the length of time on an isometric hold
- Increase the repetition range of motion
- Perform exercise to failure
- Try a more advanced version of the same exercise (i.e., knee pushups to regular pushups)
In all cases, perfect form should always be executed when performing these exercises. There is never a case where imperfect form is acceptable, even when attempting to reach progressive overload.
Try one of these techniques in your next workout! There is no need to try multiple techniques at once. Stick with one and try it for a couple weeks, and then see how your body adapts and reacts! Continue to push yourself, and you’ll reach new limits and achieve more with your body!