What is Progressive Overload?

What is Progressive Overload?
4 Different Ways to use it in your training!

I have seen the biggest gains in my training using these techniques.

Not just in lifting, though that is where most people think it is used best. I don’t think it is talked about enough in all aspects of your fitness.

I will give you examples of how to use it in your training and help you improve faster. From running, lifting, gymnastics, skills, and everything in between.

Progressive Overloading is adding reps, weight, volume systematically so you are not doing the same thing accidentally so you will not feel like you're hitting plateaus.

Now I get it… a lot of people do Crossfit and do constantly varied movements. So listen up.

What this means is not falling into the same habits in your training. Using the same weights for workouts, same rep schemes, same volume and hope for more results.

With progressive overloading you are essentially testing yourself to push slightly harder than the last time.

When it comes to lifting it may be adding more weight, reps, or decreasing rest times.

1) Here is an example of overloading for lifting:

Let’s say you do a basic 5x5 lifting routine and want to deadlift once a week using it. How could you use progressive Overloading?

Let’s start the programming testing your true 5 rep before you start.

Next, you will finish your last set of your 5x5 weight between 80-90% of your 5 rep max for your last set (set 5). There is no scientific method here.

What I do know is that I don’t care where you start because within 5-8 weeks it will suck no matter where you start!

You will build up to your last 5 rep Deadlift to 80-90%. of your 5 rep Then you add 5 or 10 pounds the next week to each lift.

Example: 5 Rep Max 295#
Week 1: 220-230-240-250-260
Week 2: 225-235-245-255-265

Now that looks simple, but your volume went up even though it wasn’t a ton harder. The goal is build confidence and increase volume slowly. By week 8 or so you should be tying your PR or going for a new PR.

In the Above scenario, week 8 would be at:

Week 8: 255-265-275-285-295

So by week 9 you would hit your current PR at 295 on set 4 than PR set 5. This way you’re progression continues until you fail. Once you fail your final set you Reload and start over at a higher weight than your first week and you start over.

This was a simple example and can be done as well by adding reps to the same weight, sets, decrease time, really it is anyway to push you slightly more than you did the week before.

Let me show you 3 More simple ways to use this for Gymnastics on Toes to Bar, General Fitness based on Wall Ball volume, and improving a 5k Row.

2) Gymnastics: Example Toes to bar

Goal is to increase high volume gymnastics which benefits overall gymnastics skill.

10 Minutes EMOM (Every Minute On The Minute): Goal is to find a number of toes to bar you can hit unbroken for 10 minutes. So if you can do 3 every minute on the minute for 10 minutes and it was easy you adjust the workout.

Now, you do 4 Every minute on the minute. If you fail to complete 4 on minute 8 and start doing 3’s then the next time you do the EMOM you try to complete 4 for at least 8 minutes.

Then, once 4 is completed unbroken for 10 minutes you continue to 5’s and do the same thing.

You can make this 5 minutes and really I don’t think it need to be more then 10 minutes for a gymnastics skill piece.

3) Other Movements: Example Wall Balls

So wall balls, your problem may be you aren’t good at big sets. So do an unbroken set to test where you are.

You get: 36

Every other day you test an unbroken set with a goal of one more and a stretch goal of 75 unbroken wall balls.

What will happen is you will always be able to fight for one more and your volume and capacity will build at a faster rate because you are combining confidence with a fight to slightly improve.

I have used this strategy for pull ups, Kettlebell Swings, DB Snatches and any movement that I felt behind what I should be at.

You will improve super fast this way just don’t quit on yourself, it gets very mental!

4) Endurance: Example Rowing

Let’s say you want to improve your 5K Row. Row an easy 5k.

Let’s say you get 24:00 minutes. You row every 3 days a 5k with the goal of going :01 faster. What will happen is sometimes you will go faster then that and the goal is to always beat your old best time.

Use the time on the rower where it shows your estimated finishing time to pace you to make sure you know where you are. This will help you mentally stay in the race, build confidence, and teach you where to focus.

Eventually you will get a time that makes you happy and you can move on to something else while always coming back and retesting.

The overarching goal of this is to build up your confidence, feel the improvement, and know you are improving.

If you don’t pay attention to what you are doing and where you are going; you will be in the same place having put in the same work.

Let’s start using progressive overloading.

If you have any questions on how I can help you with this email me and let’s chat!

Nick Urankar

PS: You can Download the Zeus Method app for IOS Apple and Google Play and get all the programs under the Zeus Unlimited Membership!

Back to blog

Leave a comment