Getting Better at Training; How You Can to Apply Progressive Overload to Win.

What is progressive overload?

Over time, adding a greater stimulus than previously used to a specific skill or task.

This basic principle of skill training can be applied to all aspects of learning;

  • Physically

  • Example; Building bigger muscles in the gym

  • Mentally

  • Example; Creating a habit of reading more pages of a book

  • Socially

  • Example; Becoming a more confident public speaker

For example, on an exercise level;

  • Week 1 I can only do 5 push ups, the next week I do 6, the week after 7, etc…

>> Or in the instance of something non-exercise based;

  • Reading 5 pages of a book every night, the next week I read 6 pages, the week after 7, etc…

On all levels, essentially everything is a skill.

Whether the skill you are trying to improve is; simple addition or subtraction in primary school, all the way to being confident in the presence of large groups within the workplace.

If everything is a skill, and if you don’t want improvement in said skill to plateau, practice and overload must occur.

The only way to advance the certain skill is by progressively overloading an aspect of what you are trying to improve

-> doing more maths problems that slowly get harder, or building up from presenting ideas to colleges within the work place to eventually publicly addressing larger groups in a professional setting.

At RISE, our main environment/population groups involve some sort of exercise prescription, therefore we should look at the variables that could be altered in a physical training setting;

  • Volume (reps/sets)

  • Tempo (speed at which one moves)

  • Base of support (points of contact)

  • Centre of mass (loading parameters)

  • Equipment (differing objects)

  • Resistance (internal/external)

  • Rest periods (time)

  • Range of motion (full/partial range)

  • Training frequency (number of sessions)

  • Exercise selection/pairing

  • Planes of motion (sagittal, frontal, transverse)

  • Static or dynamic

As you can see, there are many different ways we can manipulate exercise;

  • for example; a basic squat pattern can be manipulated in at least in 12 different ways (above) in order to challenge or progress towards specific goals of training.

Questions that may arise from this include;

How do I know when I am ready to progress to a more complex skill?

How often should I progress?

What should I progress first? How much by?

Plateaus do occur in training, and when they do it is important to recognise them quickly. Otherwise you may find yourself spending a long period of time stagnant when your goal is to move forward, potentially spiralling yourself into discontinuing your training altogether through mental fatigue.

Now you’re probably wondering how do I answer these questions? I want to keep getting better!

All these questions can be answered by a single phrase, one that may often cause unease to some...


Every individual’s goals should be taken into account and there is never a straight forward answer.

It is always case dependant, and that is the MOST IMPORTANT factor that we believe at RISE separates us from the rest, we take your life into consideration, always.

If you have any questions on anything training related; should I be doing this/or that, how long, with what/with who, etc.. Feel free to contact us on our socials;

INSTAGRAM - @Risehealthgroup FACEBOOK - Rise Performance Rehabilitation Healthcare

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