Do you need to progressively overload?

What is progressive overload? 

Progressive overload is a gym term which often gets thrown about, but what does it actually mean? Even if you do know the meaning, it doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to properly incorporate it into your gym routine. Here is the complete run down on progressive overload, what it is and how to involve it in your regime.  

What is it? 

Progressive overload is the gradual process of increasing the volume, intensity, or frequency of a workout. Challenging your body will in turn make it become stronger. The key is to do this ‘progressively’. Forcing drastic adjustments on your body will only lead to injury, whereas if you slowly build up these changes, you will notice steady progression.  

Why is it important? 

This is crucial to your workout as it makes sure you don’t get trapped in a comfort zone, if you can lift a certain weight and don’t increase it, then your body isn’t going to develop. Making sure you are always slightly adjusting your workouts, making them that little bit harder every session/week/month forces your body to continually work instead of get used to the intensity. 

Ways to progressively overload: 


Especially for weight training, the best way to use progressive overload is to increase the weight/resistance. For example, if you can bench press 30kg, make sure you don’t keep on lifting this weight, something like adding an extra 4kg every month would be a way to eventually improve your strength. 


Making sure the intensity of your sessions is slowly improving is crucial for progressive overload. Decreasing rest time and making sure you workout at a higher tempo are both ways to increase intensity. 


Finally, a great way to overload your body is to increase the number of reps you complete. For example, you may find doing 15 push ups very easy, but now try and do 20 and keep doing 20 until it becomes as easy as 15 was.  

Using progressive overload is vital for anyone’s workout regime, whether you want to increase muscle mass, lose weight or any other goal you may have. Just make sure you do this safely by going at a steady pace and not rushing into anything which could cause too much stress on the body.  

Jacob Manborde

Jacob Manborde

Writer and expert