May 3, 2021

Progressive Overload - What is it and why does it matter?

Progressive Overload - What is it and why does it matter?

Every workout you have ever done, has one thing in common - progressive overload.

Put simply, any exercise you can put the body through no matter what it may be - yoga, marathon running or even bicep curls has one purpose - to progressively adapt and improve something on a physiological level. This is because training is an adaptive process - it’s the whole reason why we do it.

‘Exercise’ in its simplest form is stress.

Not the type of stress that has you sobbing into a tub of Messina after a tough performance review at work - but stress that tests the energy systems in demand for a short term response in your skeletal and cardiovascular system. Over time your body builds up tolerance to this stimuli and results in long term adaptations. Whether it’s an increase in strength, cardiovascular stamina or improved mobility, is directly inherent to the types of stress (training) you expose yourself to.

Now think about training for a Marathon. The first time you lace up your runners, your ambitious inside voice might tell you it’s a possible option to give it a crack straight out the garden gate, but the sheer duration and intensity of the stress will leave you recovering for days - not ideal if your plan is to keep training. An instant overload of stress will greatly weaken the body's defence and immune system leaving you not only sore but at risk of illness. Taking it one jog at a time, your energy systems will respond to the ongoing training stimulus and build up tolerance to this level of stress. Once you reach the point where the training you’re being exposed to is no longer causing adaptation, the variables of training need to be progressed.

This means that the programming of your training needs to delicately balance the intensity, frequency and volume - so that you’re causing adaptation in the energy systems at a rate in which you can appropriately recover from. It’s a fine line knowing when to push or pull with your training but it’s one we’re passionate about delivering through our Atora method.


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