Progressive overload with respect to resistance training relates to an increase of stress placed upon the musculoskeletal system, typically by increasing the repetitions/weight of a given exercise (though other methods exist).
To attain more strength/increase muscle hypertrophy, a person must trigger the bodies natural adaptive response by increasing the demands placed on the muscle.
Progressive overload stimulates muscle hypertrophy. In addition to this, it also stimulates the development of stronger and denser ligaments, tendons, bones, and cartilage. Progressive overload also incrementally increases blood flow to exercised regions of the body and stimulates more responsive nerve connections between the brain and the muscles involved.
Progressive overload can be approached in several different ways, by increasing the;
- Resistance: Increasing the weight
- Repetitions: Perform more repetitions per set
- Volume: = (sets x reps) x resistance, ergo add more sets to your routine.
- Frequency: Increasing how frequently you train a muscle ( recommended 2x per muscle group per week)
It can also be achieved by decreasing the amount of resting time between each set.
Edited by AdamKeto
Gerald T Mangine et al Physiol Rep. 2015 Aug; 3(8): e12472.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4562558/
Jason Brumitt, PT, PhD, ATC, CSCS and Tyler Cuddeford, PT, PhD Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2015 Nov; 10(6): 748–759. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4637912/