Progressive Overload – The Secret to Getting Workout Gains!

Congratulations on making it this far! You are nearly reaching the end of this guide, and your workout knowledge now surpasses 90% of the population.

However, there is still one very important principle that you NEED to understand. This is known as the “Progressive Overload Principle”.

You will NOT see any progress if you do not apply this principle correctly!

What is Progressive Overload?

Progressive Overload is the gradual increase of physical stress placed upon the body during weight training. This increase can come from increasing weights, number of reps, number of sets, etc.

What Does It Do?

This increase in physical stress will trigger your body’s survival mechanism. This is because your body interprets the stress as a threat to its survival. As a result, your muscles will grow bigger and/or stronger to better handle such “threats”. This is known as Progression.

How to Create Progressive Overload?

There are various ways to incorporate progression into your workout routine:

1. Increase Load
You are able to lift 80lbs for an exercise currently. Aim to lift 85lbs the next workout.

2. Increase Sets
You are able to perform 3 sets of an exercise currently. Aim to do 4 sets the next workout.

3. Increase Repetitions
You are able to perform 8 reps of an exercise currently. Aim to do 9 reps the next workout.

4. Decrease Rest Time
You are resting 90 seconds between sets of an exercise currently. Decrease the rest time to 60 seconds the next workout.

5. Increase Frequency
You have been training a particular muscle group twice a week regularly. Increase the frequency and start training that muscle group thrice a week.

6. Increase Exercises
You have been doing squats regularly. Switch to a different leg exercise like the Leg Press.

Examples of Progressive Overload

Example 1: Increase Load

The most effective and common way of progression is to increase weight:

  • Currently, you are able to bench-press 120lbs for 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Increase the weight to 125 pounds during your next workout
  • Aim to lift 3 sets of 8 reps again
  • Once you are able to lift 3 sets of 8 reps successfully, increase the weight again
  • Repeat the whole process again

Example 2: Increase Exercises

It is important to change exercises after a period of time. This is to ensure your muscle does not get used to the same exercise. Changing exercise will “surprise” your muscle and stimulate further growth:

  • You have been performing dumbbell curls every week in your current 10-week workout program
  • In your next workout program, switch to a different exercise that targets the same muscle group. E.g. Cable/Barbell Curls
  • Perform cable/barbell curls in your new workout program
  • Repeat the whole process again


It is EXTREMELY important to perform progressive overload. If you keep using the same amount of weights at every workout, you muscles will never grow because they do not need to handle any additional physical stress. You will NOT see any progress!

In the next chapter, we will end this workout guide with some free workout routines.

This article is part of a completely FREE and FANTASTIC workout guide to teach YOU how to gain muscles and lose fat. See below:

The Ultimate Guide to Working Out

1. Five Steps to Achieving Your Workout Goal
2. The Ultimate Diet to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
3. How to do a Proper Warm Up
4. Workout Frequency/ Split – How Many Times Per Week Should You Work Out?
5. Workout Intensity – How Many Reps Should You Do?
6. Workout Volume – How Many Sets Should You Do?
7. How to Build The Best Workout Routine
8. Progressive Overload – The Secret to Getting Workout Gains!
9. Workout Routines to Build Muscles and Lose Fat Fast

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