What is progressive overload and how to implement it in your routine


Today’s podcast episode is sponsored by Dr. Stephen Cabral. He was on a recent podcast episode and I’ve learned so much from him over the past couple of years. I was thrilled when he offered to partner for the podcast! If you head to this page, he’s offering a free HTMA mineral and metals test + 30 minute health consult. All of you have to do is pay for shipping! I can’t wait to receive my results.

Today I’m going to talk about progressive overload and how you can use this in your routine to life heavier weights over time. This should be especially helpful to my friends out there who consistently strength train but but always use the same weight, set, and rep amounts. 

Listen to the full episode here:

What is progressive overload and how to implement it in your routine

What is progressive overload?

Gradually increasing the amount of weight, sets, and reps of a particular exercise. It’s commonly referred to during strength training, but these principles can also be applied to cardio.

The body is an intelligent machine and adapts to the demands placed upon it. This is why you may see some changes initially when you change your routine, but stop seeing results after a month or so. This is due to something called the SAID principle, which stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands (SAID). This means that the human body adapts specifically to demands placed upon it, and to continue to see change, you have to consistently add stressors to your routine. 

When you hit a plateau, this can be a positive thing: it means that you’ve gotten stronger and a routine that used to challenge you feels easier. At the same time, in order to continue to see progress, you need to switch up your routine.

My favorite way to implement progressive training: increase weight, and then increase volume (reps, then sets).

Here’s what an example looks like:


Measure your current weight selection for foundational exercises: 


Lat pulldown

Chest press

Bent-over row


Pick an exercise above and choose a weight selection that’s heavier than your current weight selection, one you can only complete 6-8 reps using proper form for 3 sets

– Continue to do this in your routine for 4-6 weeks

– After this, it should start to feel much easier and you can increase your reps to 8-10

– Repeat for 4ish weeks until it feels easier

– Increase reps to 12-15 

– When this feels easier, add in a fourth set

Track your progress on your phone or in a small notebook so you can measure your strength gains over time 


Make sure that you’re slowly increasing your mileage or time to get your body used to performing these repeated movement patterns for a longer stretch.

You can utilize progressive training through time, distance, or speed. 

Words of wisdom: whether you’re focusing on strength or running, make sure that you add stressors gradually to avoid injury. I don’t recommend an increase larger than 10% in time, weight, or intensity.

Even better: work with a certified personal trainer or running coach to make sure your training aligns with your goals, and is safe for your unique body and medical history. They will also help you progress according to your personal fitness level. 

Do you use progressive training in your routine? If you’re looking for a new workout plan, new Fit Team workouts drop TOMORROW and were designed for muscle gain and fat loss. They’re also phased to prevent plateaus, and are a complete action plan, so you no longer have to puzzle-piece your workouts together. Work out with us here!



Resources from this episode:

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