Have you ever experienced a time when you have been working hard on improving your strength and endurance, being consistent and giving your workout the time it requires, yet you're progress just seems to peter out? As though you have reached a wall when it comes to improvement?
This is a common occurrence when you are not incorporating progressive overload into your workout plan.
What is progressive overload you might ask?
Well progressive overload it when you slowly start to adapt your workout, as your body adapts to each exercise. In other words, your workout gets harder as you get stronger and fitter!
This is a really important part of exercising, because if you don't increase the challenge, your body will adapt and you will notice that what was once difficult has become easier. You may find that the amount of reps you did weeks ago, no longer cause you to break a sweat, or the distance you used to run no longer makes you out of breath. This might seem good (and it is good, because you have become fitter!), however you are not going to continue to improve unless you continue to challenge yourself.
So here are are some ways in which you can make sure that you are using progressive overload, and that you are continuing to challenge your body and see the results you are after!
Mix it up - Working out with the same routine day after day, is going to see your body adjusting very quickly, however you are both risking over working specific muscles and also potentially neglecting others! Try to keep your workouts varied.
Add something new - Try adding new exercises into your routine so that you are not just focusing on the same muscles each time. Challenge yourself!
Cut the time - If you are doing the same workout, see if you can cut the time down each time. If you did it in 30 minutes last week, why not try for 25 this week?
Add more resistance - If you are lifting weights and you have found they are getting easier, then pump it up! Gradually add some more resistance to help strengthen and tone those muscles!
Go further - If your cardio workout involves jogging, running, swimming or cycling, aim for further distances. Keep working on that endurance by pushing yourself further!
Add volume - Try increasing EITHER the number of reps you are doing OR increase the amount of sets you are doing, to continue to challenge yourself
Add another - 4 workout seshes a week not cutting it anymore? Try adding another day, and then maybe another!
- Less rest - Reduce the amount of rest you get between each set to give yourself that extra challenge.