Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Level Up Your Workouts with Progressive Overload

Cameron Vincent

There is nothing better than setting a personal fitness goal and achieving it through hours of sweat equity and hard work.  All that time and dedication you put into something will give you a sense of pride.  But continuing to set and achieve fitness goals becomes increasingly more difficult because our bodies quickly adapt and recognize the effort being placed upon it. 

The key to leveling up your workouts and breaking those plateaus involves a principle called progressive overload.  This can be applied to many forms of exercise.  Progressive overload requires a gradual increase in volume, intensity, frequency or time within your workout in order to achieve a targeted goal.  If you are an endurance athlete looking to run a marathon, it would be beneficial to gradually increase the duration of your training runs to complete the 26.2 mile race.  Or maybe you’re looking to increase muscle mass or physical strength.  Try bumping up to a 25lb dumbbell for your biceps curl exercise instead of sticking with the 20lbs you’ve been using for the past six weeks. 

To minimize the risk of injury, begin at a comfortable level and gradually introduce the overload by no more than 10 percent each week.  This will allow your body time to adapt to the new workload while maximizing results.

Seek advice from a certified fitness professional if you have any questions or concerns about changing up your exercise routine.  Exercise is all about having options, and getting another opinion is sometimes all it takes to break through those dreaded plateaus.  Be smart and stay consistent, and you will continue to make progress toward goal after goal!

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