Oct 04

Weekly Progressions in Strength and Motivation: Progressive Overload Schemes

Ensuring that your performance is increasing in an exercise program is a critical component to committing to a fitness routine and putting it all the hard work. This means that adhering to a program that shows success in your exercise performance is a very useful tool. In our case over here at Napa Tenacious Fitness, we utilize what we call a “three-week progressive overload scheme” with our personal training participants. In these exercise overload schemes, we progressively challenge our clients to increase the frequency of the amount of repetitions that they perform in a certain exercise, increase the resistance in strength training routines, decreasing an angle to create more torque on a certain exercise movement, or increasing the challenge of a certain exercise such as implementing a exercise technique that will challenge balance, coordination, or thought.


An example might be performing an exercise each week such as a bodyweight squat. The first week we would do three sets of 10 repetitions, followed by the second week doing three sets of 12 reps editions, and finally finishing with three sets of 15 repetitions on the third week.  By tracking the amount of repetitions you are doing each week, you are challenging your body too go past its limit. When the body is challenged to go past its limit, there are a few things that come into play. Mind set On approaching and exercise is challenged, and in this case your overall effort will be put to the test to complete a greater amount of repetitions. In addition, physiologically the muscle fibers of the body will adapt to an over stressed environment.


When a greater amount of stress is put on the body from doing increased repetitions, muscle fibers will want to regrow and get stronger over time to match the demands of increased repetitions. The same mode of thought applies to overall drive and motivation to work to achieve more reps week after week. Therefore, the increased will power and increased physiological adaptation of strength will improve the overall performance human body.


While three week progressive overload schemes are very important to increasing motivation and increasing strength in the human body, it’s very important to have what we call an “unloading week” on the fourth week. When we work with our Personal Training clients, we implement the unloading week on the 4th week which has a lower intensity scheme and includes decreased repetitions, resistance and overall difficulty of the exercise. This week allows the body to de-stress and then come back for another first week where new exercises are introduced. By going in this cycle, we’ve seen a lot of success in our Personal Training clients here in the Napa Valley. Ensuring that a new exercise technique is introduced every 4 weeks is a great way to keep things fresh and keep the mind and  body percolating.