In order to make any real progress, the body has to experience a stimulus greater than what it’s used to receiving on a regular basis. That’s exactly what progressive overload is.
Let’s break it down...
1️⃣ You’ve got to start with perfect form and progress from there. Do not overload a lift with less than ideal technical form. Figure out where you are on the regression-progression continuum and start getting stronger.
2️⃣ Progressive overload is more than just load. Increasing ROM, improving form, progressing the movement, performing more reps, performing another set, decreasing rest time, lifting with increase acceleration (intensity of effort); it all adds a new stress to the body.
3️⃣ Focus on improving form and ROM first, then focus on load.
4️⃣ Progressive overload takes some serious strategy for veteran lifters. New lifters can make awesome strength gains doing pretty much anything, as long as they’re consistent. However, after a couple years of solid training, you have to be strategic with your programming. Rotate lifts, periodize your programs, and experiment with different methodologies.
5️⃣ You’re not going to be able to increase load on every lift every month, so it’s important to switch up the emphasis with each new phase. I recommend focusing on progressing 1-2 lifts each month. A great way to break them down is this:
➡️ Glutes (barbell hip thrust, barbell glute bridge, Reverse hyperextensions, etc.)
➡️ Lowe Pull (deadlift, RDL, Nordic hamstring curl, etc.)
➡️ Lower Push (squat, RFE split squat, lunge, lateral lunge, etc.)
➡️ Upper Pull (pull up, chin up, bent over row, single arm row, etc.)
➡️ Upper Push (bench press, push up, overhead press, etc.)
➡️ Accessory (lateral raise, rear delt raise, core work, etc.)
Pick 1-2 lifts from the above categories to focus on with each phase of training. By rotating your focus, performing different variations, changing reps and sets, changing tempo, and adjusting rest times you can continue to challenge yourself and set new PRs.