On today’s episode we took a deep dive into progressive overload. I posted a short video on Instagram about it, but felt we needed to spend more time explaining the theory and how to actually apply it.


Progressive overload: The gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training.

  • Adaptation of the body to a progressively increasing load is essential.
  • There are a variety of ways you can create overload to force adaptation.
  • Continuing to workout with the same load is called ‘exercise’, not ‘training’.


I’d argue that it’s program hopping that deters more individuals than anything else when it comes to making solid progress in the gym. We all know someone that does it – they start a new training routine with bounding enthusiasm, give it 2-3 weeks, then read some conflicting information elsewhere and decide that they need to switch things up. This programming ADHD – the search for the perfect training program – is the cause of the phenomenon of the perpetual beginner.

In the short-term the difference between an effective and ineffective exercise program is simply whether it was followed long enough for it to produce a noticeable training effect – which nearly anything will for a beginner. This will last around 4-6 weeks.

For a program to be effective past this phase however, it needs to follow the ‘Principle of Progressive Overload’. If you feel you’ve been spinning your wheels down the gym lately, or want to check that your routine is capable of giving you the results that your efforts deserve, this may be the episode that you need to listen to!


7 Ways to do progressive overload:

  1. Increasing the weight lifted
  2. Increasing the number of reps per set
  3. Increasing the number of sets
  4. Shortening the rest time between sets
  5. Increasing the difficulty of the exercise
  6. Expanding the range of motion
  7. Increasing the frequency of training


How do you know when you need increase the overload?

This question is really the most difficult to answer. People progress at different rates to the same training programs. However, we did our best to identify some ways to know when is the correct time!

I really hope you all got a ton of value out of this podcast! If you did, share the love and send it to a friend.


Connect with us on Instagram

Host Brad Jensen – @thesoberbodybuilder

Co-Host Michelle Raines  – @mykeylife

Key Nutrition – @keynutrition