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  • Matt

Strength Training Overload & Progression


You don’t always have to be increasing weight/load to see progress. And you don’t even have to be increasing the number of reps or sets either. You could be going through a phase of Maintanance or even looking at improving technique and execution of an exercise.


The mistake is, where you keep the same sets, reps and weight for an exercise in a program with no (planned) progression. You may see improvements initially in how you feel and possibly even perform, however, these will be short lived and all that you will be achieving in a session will be getting tired and/or wearing yourself out.

A really simple method to improve strength of an exercise could be the following:


Session 1: 3x6 @ 50kg

Session 2: 3x6 @ 50kg

Session 3: 3x6 @ 52.5kg

Session 4: 3x6 @ 52.5kg

Session 5: 3x6 @ 55kg

Session 6: 3x6 @ 55kg

Session 7: 3x6 @ 57.5kg

Session 8: 3x6 @ 57.5kg


The above aims to keep the sets and reps the same within each session but once two back-to-back sessions are completed with the same weight/load, then increase the weight in the next session.


Here is another example of how you can progress:


Session 1: 3x6 @ 50kg

Session 2: 3x7 @ 50kg

Session 3: 3x8 @ 50kg

Session 4: 3x6 @ 52.5kg

Session 5: 3x7 @ 52.5kg

Session 6: 3x8 @ 52.5kg

Session 7: 3x6 @ 55kg

Session 8: 3x7 @ 55kg


In this example, you are working between 6-8 reps, and once you achieve 3x8, you will increase the weight in the next session. Week 1: 3x5 @ 50kg

Week 2: 3x4 @ 55kg

Week 3: 3x3 @ 60kg

Week 4: 3x5 @ 55kg

Week 6: 3x4 @ 60kg

Week 7: 3x3 @ 65kg


For this example, the reps are reduce whilst weight is increased. And over a couple of cycles, weight for a given reps is increased.


There are endless ways in which you can progress strength training within a programme. And at different stages or phases in your training, you might use different approaches. And this can depend on if you are looking to increase volume or intensity.