The overload principle is the most essential aspect when it comes to making progress towards your fitness goals. Everything we do in the gym revolves around this concept; it doesn’t matter if your goals are strength or endurance related.
Push Your Limits
In order to make our bodies capable of a larger workload, we need to constantly challenge ourselves by increasing variables overtime. When building strength, you always need to increase the actual resistance or achieve more reps than you did the time before. If you become comfortable and consistently use the same amount of weight for the same amount of reps each time you exercise, you will never see results. When the weight is increased or that extra rep is achieved, that’s when the muscles and central nervous system need to adapt to the new stimulus.
This principle also applies to endurance athletes; the focus is just on different variables. Instead of increasing load or repetitions, your goal would be to shorten the rest times. Shorter recovery time forces your heart, lungs and muscles to work harder than before to meet the new requirements.
Working out is not meant to be comfortable, the entire reason we workout is to breakdown our muscle fibers so they recover and grow stronger than they once were. If you do not overload your body, there is no stimulus, so improvements would not be made. This is why it is so important that we always push ourselves to our limits, reaching new goals. However, there is such a thing as pushing yourself too hard, which will negate your progress. Going to absolute failure on every set can cause you to become overly fatigued which will make you less capable of completing the desired amount of volume. It’s all about finding the perfect balance between maximum working capacity and complete exhaustion.
Written by: Jonathan Khanoyan