What Is The Overload Principle for Strength Training?

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For anyone reading this blog who is new to strength training (and not so new), it’s important to know the overload principle. What is it and how to use it to maximize results in the gym (or wherever you’re lifting weights).

Overload Principle is Important to know Lifting Weights

What Is The Overload Principle for Strength Training?

Bottom line: The overload principle is the way that your body makes gains from any kind of exercise, really. Although, today, we’re honing in on strength training. 

So, overload means that if you aren’t making the exercise more difficult, your body’s job — and it’s very, very good at it — is to adapt.

AKA: keep you the same. 

Hence, if you’re real happy with where you are, then keep doing the same thing — same number or reps, same amount of weight, etc. — over and over and over. 

How the overload principle can work in your favor.

But, to be honest, once you realize how exciting it is to transform and improve your body, you’ll want to:

  • refine exercises 
  • find new areas of your body where you’re excited to have muscle 
  • make little tiny tweaks to see hypertrophy
Overload Principle is Exciting to see Changes when Lifting Weights

And in order for your body to improve, you have to overload. Meaning, you’ll have to challenge yourself to make those sets tougher. 

How do you do that?

  • using better technique 
  • lifting more weight (just a little bit heavier)
  • changing your reps

In a nutshell, that’s it — going heavier and doing fewer reps or keeping the same weight but adding more reps.

All of that = overload. 

And the more you overload any muscle, or system for that matter, the quicker you’re going to see changes in your body (i.e., hypertrophy).

Overload Principle See Difference in Lifting Weights
But when people are new to strength training, they’re always in a rush. They want all the answers yesterday. 

“How heavy should I lift?!”

Listen, whether you’re doing bands or free weights or machines here’s my #1 rule:

You don’t want to injure yourself. 

One essential factor in overloading the right way and NOT injuring yourself is…

Periodization — as in, changing your workouts every four to six weeks. This way, again, your body doesn’t adapt (there’s that word again).

For much more related to this topic, like:

  • Why we have to change our mindset around high impact cardio
  • The pillars of health
  • Why I hate the word toning

Then, you must check out this episode of The Chalene Show:

In addition, I created an entire video on the topic, too! WATCH IT NOW!

Don’t forget to subscribe to TCS for weekly shows dedicated to your physical and mental health and perseverance!


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