What is progressive overload?
Progressive overload is the process of gradually increasing training workload and the stress put on the body over a period of time. This can be achieved by increasing the intensity and the volume as well as using tempo. Progressive overload allows for improvements in strength, fitness, muscle growth and avoids a plateau in training.
How to implement progressive overload into your training
Increase the Intensity
To stimulate muscle growth, we must place enough stress on the muscle with the right amount of resistance and work close to failure on each set. Failure means that you could not possibly lift the weight one more time. Therefore, the weight you lift for less reps or less time should be heavier than the weight you lift for more reps or more time. By increasing the weight or amount of reps performed, this would achieve progressive overload.
Each body part requires 12-20 sets per week to achieve muscle growth. Ideally you need to train three to five times each week to achieve this. See the blog post below for more information on why training three to five times a week is ideal.
Tempo refers to controlling the speed that a weight is lifted (the concentric phase) and lowered (the eccentric phase). Tempo increases the time the muscle is under tension which leads to muscle growth.