Stuck in a rut at the gym? Progressive overload may be key to real results

stuck in a rut at the gym? progressive overload may be key to real results

Stuck in a rut at the gym? Progressive overload may be key to real results

In the past, the term “progressive overload” was associated with bodybuilders.

But in recent years, the technique has risen in popularity, with celebrities such as Gal Gadot and Hugh Jackman adopting the plans when preparing for film roles.

So, what exactly does progressive overload mean? According to Gavin Cowper of Exersci (, the concept refers to the method of strength training that advocates for the gradual increase in workload to stimulate muscle growth. Read on for tips.

Start low

Whenever starting a new exercise programme, it’s wise to ease your muscles in.

“This means starting small, whether by starting with light weights, only working out for a short duration or only doing a few repetitions. Doing too much too quickly can easily lead to injuries,” he advised.

Consider hiring a personal trainer

Personal trainers are experts in helping you get real results, combining your goals and current fitness level to come up with the best route of action.

“They can also help to ensure you’re using the proper form and technique, which is particularly important if you are undertaking a progressive overload with weights,” the expert noted.

Abide by the 10 per cent rule

For any exercise, you should never increase your activity by more than 10 per cent in one week.

“The 10 per cent rule is most relevant to runners, who are prone to experiencing overuse injuries, but is applicable to any and all types of exercise – even walking. Regarding progressive overloading, this means being (conscious) of how much you’re adding to your routine,” said Gavin.

Listen to your body

While taking up a new exercise or sport can be exciting, it’s important to take note of the signs that you may be overdoing it.

“Any aches and pains are warning signs that should be respected – failing to do so is one of the fastest ways to injure yourself. If you notice that you’re particularly sore or that something doesn’t feel right, swap out progressive overload for something more low impact,” he continued.

Take rest days

And though it seems counterintuitive, especially when you have a fitness goal in mind, failing to take rest days will prevent your muscles from healing and growing.

“This is essential for progressive overloading, which is primarily about developing your muscles – so don’t feel guilty about taking at least one day off a week,” added Gavin.

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