What is Progressive Overload?

Have you ever heard of “progressive overload”? It's an extremely important term in the fitness world and one that you should know about if you are working out to improve or make changes in your body...

Have you ever heard of “progressive overload”? It's an extremely important term in the fitness world and one that you should know about if you are working out to improve or make changes in your body. 


Perhaps you've heard the saying challenge brings change? Well, that's exactly what we want to talk to you about today in relation to progressive overload. 


What is Progressive Overload? 


Progressive overload is about making small but steady adjustments to your training programme to ensure that you are continuing to challenge your body. 


Most specifically in strength training but important in all aspects of training, the goal must be to work harder if you wish to make/see changes in muscle size, strength and endurance. 


How To Achieve Progressive Overload 


Whenever you perform an exercise, rate it on a scale of 1-10 in terms of how difficult it was. If, after you've completed all your reps it felt quite easy, maybe you'll give it a 2 or a 3. If you felt like you couldn't perform another rep, it may be more like a 9 or a 10. 


We always tell our clients here at MHR Fitness that they should be aiming for around an 8 on that scale. This is the point where you feel like you could maybe do 1 or 2 more reps but nothing more. 


Gradually, as you get stronger and more confident, that same exercise that was once an 8 on your scale is going to start feeling a little easier. That means it'll start heading down your scale and become a 6 or 7. 


And this is the most important part…. 


It's at this point, we want you to do something to make that exercise harder! This is the part where you need to challenge yourself. We see so many people in the gym that just add more weight to an exercise. That's all good and well but, what if we told you there's another way? (or multiple other ways!!) 


Perhaps you keep the weight the same but add more reps to an exercise. Or decrease your rest time. You could even slow the rep down to keep that muscle under tension for longer. 


There are quite a few ways that you can achieve progressive overload without increasing the weight just to mix it up a little! 


Why is Progressive Overload Important? 

If you're exercising to get fitter or stronger or to get more toned and lean, progressive overload is the key. 


If you keep doing the same thing over and over, your body will get used to it and just maintain its current fitness levels. It won't adapt. Because it has no reason to. It can already cope and manage the exercise you are doing, there is no reason for it to change. 


This is why as soon as the body becomes accustomed to an exercise, we want to adapt one of the variables to make sure we are continuously challenging ourselves. 


Remember what we said at the start… challenge brings change. That is what will help you keep making progress and stay on track to meet your goals. Come in and see us here at MHR Fitness to see how we can help you achieve them!

What is Progressive Overload?


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Established in 2016, the MHR coaches have over 15 years of combined experience in the world of personal training and professional sport.

MHR Fitness is built on our coaches’ passion for improving the lives of people through functional fitness and sensible nutrition.

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