Friday, August 5, 2011

Strength Training 101: Progressive Overload Principle

One of the tried and true principles of strength training is Progressive Overload. The Progressive Overload Principle states that in order to gain strength you must exercise against a resistance greater than that “normally” encountered.
Earle E. Liederman wrote “In order to succeed in exercising, the student must perform progressive work. He must work a little harder each week or month in order to develop his body to its maximum proportions.” Keep in mind he wrote this in 1924. This training principle has been around for some time. Strongmen have understood for a long time that changing volume, intensity and frequency while training can be very beneficial when trying to break through the inevitable training valleys that occur.
This principle can manifest itself in several ways during strength training. Here are some basic ways to use the Progressive Overload Principle.
  • Increase Frequency of workouts.
  • Increase Weight (Resistance)
  • Increase Sets
  • Increase Reps
  • Increase Volume of Work (Exercises) done in a specific time frame.

If the strength athlete is not willing to work harder and harder he/she will not succeed.
Remember that everyone is different. Utilizing these methods is an individual thing. Try them out and find out what works best for you. Note: You must be careful when using the Progressive Overload Principle in order to prevent over-training.

Keith Payne
Functional Strength Systems

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