The Overload Principle | Progressive Overload Workout Plan

crossfit
To get stronger you’ll want to follow this progressive overload format

To find a detailed progressive overload workout plan that isn’t BORING is harder than you think.

Believe if your like me I love to keep things simple but I also love variety.

In today’s blog post I’m going to talk about:

If you want to skip straight to our programming then you can check out our programs here. I would encourage you to still read so you can understand why we do the things we do.

workout
To get this level of strength it takes years. But I’ll teach you how.

The Overload Principle

The overload principle is a fundamental principle that must be done or you to see progress.

If you do the same workout each week your body will adapt and plateau.

A very simple example would be:

  • Week 1 Squat __ weight x 5 reps
  • Week 2 Squat + 5lbs weight x 5 reps
  • Week 3 Squat + 10lbs weight x 5 reps

On the flip side this is the opposite:

  • doing the same exercises each week
  • at the weight weight
  • at the same intensity

You get the idea here.

However increasing weight is just one way to apply the overload principle.

Also the overload principle doesn’t just apply to strength training. We use this in our training programs

for everything. Mobility, strength training, conditioning, etc.

We also constantly are collecting data with our test and re-test methods to help you understand and

measure your progress.

I’ll discuss other ways you can apply progressive overload in training in the next section.

The Overload Principle | Progressive Overload In Training

I’ll show you how to

In the example above I showed an extremely simple example of progress overload in training.

But…

…that can be kinda of boring (just adding 5lbs every week) and at some point you won’t be able to.

When I first started training that’s all I did too by the way. It made since to me. Each week to make things a little bit harder. Well, that was in 2008. I have learned a ton since then and I’ll share my best practices.

progressive overload workout plan
The overload principle isn’t with just strength training.

Here are four ways to challenge your workouts and apply the overload principle.

Frequency

Increase the amount of days you workout and train. If you are training three days a week train 4.

Consider something like 2 days on, one day off, 2 days on.

Also begin to prioritize mobility so you don’t crash and burn.

If you train 5 days a week I like:

3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 1 day off.

This is the strategy we follow in our K2 Competitor programming.

Intensity

Go harder*

First off never sacrifice form. Always, make sure you mechanics are dialed in first.

Within our app we have these buttons that you can click to increase the difficulty of the exercise if it’s

too easy too hard.

This is my favorite way to increase intensity.

apps for at home workouts
You can increase intensity by challenging the difficulty of the exercise.

You can increase intensity for strength by:

  • increase the tempo (controlling down on the weight)
  • adding a pause in the bottom of your rep
  • add a super set (perform a heavy back squat then immediately perform 5 squat jumps)

You can increase intensity for conditioning by:

  • go faster –> going faster leads to more power output. Which has a greater demand on your body.
  • decrease rest periods (resting :60 seconds –> reduce to 45 seconds, etc)
  • increased the amount of intervals or set

As you increase intensity it’s always extremely important to prime your CNS (central nervous system) and get a solid warm up in.

progressive overload workout plan
You can see a lot takes place in a progressive overload workout plan.

Duration

Simple right?

Some of our clients prefer time over reps.

You don’t want to count reps you just want to focus on the exercise. I totally get it.

An example of increasing the duration is:

Week 1Week 2
Push Up x 15 seconds
Goblet Squat x 15 seconds
V Up x 15 seconds
Run x 60 seconds
Push Up x 30 seconds
Goblet Squat x 30 seconds
V Up x 30 seconds
Run x 90 seconds
Simple example of progressive overload training

Increasing the time duration has an equal demand on the body.

The hardest thing to increase duration on for me personally is the brutal L Sit.

The way I increase intensity with the L Sit is by wearing ankle weights, decreasing rest time, and altering the different type of exercise which is next.

progressive overload training
The king of all core exercises. The L Sit

Exercise

This is my favorite. I love changing the exercises. (like the example I just talked about above)

It keeps it FUN!

Just like in the image above of our app if you look at the bottom of the picture you will see…

…”intensity level 3″ that’s one way to get overload principle effect.

“I’ll take intensity over volume every time.”

Me – Kevin Andres

What I mean by that is, it’s not about doing more volume (in most cases) but rather challenging yourself

more with the different strategies I shared with you today.

progressive overload workout plan
Read below to see how we do it

Progressive Overload Workout Plan

You got to see a small snippet of how we create and structure a progressive overload workout plan.

We talked about:

  • frequency
  • intensity
  • duration
  • exercise

How these principles can be applied to both strength and conditioning methods.

With our workout plan (programs) we follow a test and re-test method that looks like this:

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7
Test (gather data)Low % workIncrease intensityIncrease volume & intensityIncrease intensity & volumeDeloadRe-test week 1
Progressive overload workout program at it’s finest 🙂

This is obviously just a snip into the outline of how we program but there are a few things I want you to notice:

  • We test (what gets tested, gets measured)
  • We start off with low % and we build up over the weeks (progressive overload training)
  • We take a de load week (we give your body an opportunity to recover, and recharge)
  • We re-test what we did in week 1 so we can measure your progress and make any changes needed moving forward
Click on the image to check out our programs.

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Conclusion

To create an effective progressive overload workout plan utilizing the overload principle remember to keep things simple.

If you do the same thing day in and day out, week after week your body will adapt and you won't see the results you want to see.

  • mix things up
  • challenge yourself more
  • listen to your body and when you need a break just dial it down a notch

Download a free sample training day to check out our how programs work and see the overload principle in action 😛

at home workout plan
Your coaches Kevin & Katie

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of the overload principle?

To get stronger, faster and improve your performance you can't continue to do the same things each week. Challenge your strength by (increasing weight, tempo, reps, duration, etc) and challenge your conditioning by (increase the power output, speed, reducing the recovery time, reps, etc)

What are the four principles of overload?

1. Frequency (train more often) reference the text above for a sample outline on how to schedule your days.

2. Intensity. This can be making the exercise more difficult, increasing the weight, reducing the rest period, etc.

3. Time.
Week 1 - 30 seconds on 30 seconds off.
Week 2 - 45 seconds on 15 seconds off.
Week 3 - 30 seconds on 15 seconds off.
Week 4 - 60 seconds on 60 seconds off.

4. Type. Mix it up. If I want to get better at a skill like the L Sit I have to do several different exercises to get stronger. Pike lifts, l sit lift from box, hanging l sit, etc. Utilize the tool box of exercises to have fun with your training and also to help you reach a targeted goal.

If you have any other additional questions answer them below and I'm happy to help you out!

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