What is the principle of progressive overload?

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The principle of progressive overload involves placing demands on the body which must be increased progressively over time, and must be of a magnitude great enough to cause significant physiological adaptations. In regards to a training program, our muscles need to be repeatedly taxed beyond their accustomed loads if we are to continue seeing improvements.

There are many ways to manipulate a training program for overload to occur such as: increasing the amount of resistance used, increasing the number of repetitions performed, increasing or decreasing the speed of an exercise, increasing or decreasing the rest periods between sets, increasing total training volume, or a combination of all of the above.
The principle of progressive overload involves the gradual increase of stress placed on the body during exercise training that is beyond its current capabilities.  This gradual increase in stress forces the body to continually try to adapt to the training program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.