What is Progressive Overload?

Progressive overload is something that we practice and preach here at the Booty Lab studio! By definition, progressive overload is when you gradually increase weight, repetitions, or frequency in your fitness routine. Progressive overload or (PO) is the key to your success in increasing muscle and strength, which results in body composition changes! 

What is Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is essentially increasing the demand for your muscles. Have you ever felt like a workout was easy or an exercise you have been doing for a while no longer challenges you? PO is how you can increase the intensity and challenge your workout routine without modifying your current program. According to The Principle of Progression, increases in weight, reps, or frequency should stay within 10% to avoid injury. In other words, you don’t want to drastically change your weights when you aren’t ready because that could result in injury. So while it might take a while to start seeing progress, it is the safest way to perform strength training. 

Why it is Important

By slowly adding to your fitness routine, your muscles will adapt to the changes and grow with them over time. PO, in my opinion, is best when following a program because tracking your progress is easier with similar movements than constantly changing daily. This allows you to see improvement, for example, with your deadlift over 4-8 weeks, giving you tangible evidence that PO is working and can help you set future progress goals. Another reason to use PO is to prevent the body from plateauing. A plateau is your body’s signal to make changes and potentially take things up a notch! By staying consistent and practicing progressive overload, you avoid this plateau and challenge your muscles to get stronger. 

Best Practices

It is important to note that you do not want to increase any aspect of your fitness routine unless you have mastered the form of the movement. Doing an exercise wrong is a sure way to cause an injury! Improper form can also decrease the efficiency of the exercise if you’re not activating all of the correct muscle groups. Which can rob you of potential gains in both strength and mobility.

Here is an example of how you can practice progressive overload in your fitness routine. Say you are doing 3 sets of 6-10 reps in squats holding a 10-pound kettlebell. You need to increase your weight, reps, or intensity through eccentric, concentric, or pause rep methods to practice PO. Let’s start with weight and reps using the squat example. I would increase my weight to 15-pounds and continue working up in reps until I reached 10, then increase as needed. Another way to practice PO is through intensity. You can maintain the same weight of 10-pounds but instead slow down the squat using a 3-second count, or you could add a pause to each rep. You can repeat this process with any movement you are doing. Another pro tip is to track your weight, reps, and frequency so you can know how to progressive overload. 


The Booty Lab by Becca Fitness App helps guide you through your fitness routine to help you know when to add weight or reps. It also allows you to track your progress, so you don’t have to wonder what is next. So download today and take advantage of the real-time On-Demand workout program!!

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