There are all sorts of ways for you to achieve progressive overload.
Here are eight strategies for increasing work and overloading your muscles:
#1) Increase the weight. This is the most common way to make a weighted exercise in the gym more challenging. We’ll talk a bit later about how to choose the correct weight.
#2) Increase the reps. This is the other most common way to make things more challenging. So instead of 10 push-ups, go for 11. Then 12 the next time. And so on.
#3) Increase the sets. So instead of doing 3 sets of 10 push-ups, you can do 4 sets of 10 push-ups, then 5 sets of 10 push-ups, etc.
#4) Increase the frequency of your workouts. Let’s say you work out twice a week, Monday and Thursday. Maybe we add an extra day, so Monday-Wednesday-Friday. That way we get more total work in for the week.
#5) Decrease rest time. Instead of increasing the weight, or reps, or sets – you simply decrease the time you rest between sets. This will tax your body more and might be a good option for some, based on their goals and schedule (especially if you are short on workout time already).
#6) Doing more difficult variations. This is relevant for body weight exercises in particular, where we’re not adding weight to anything.
#7) Slow down through the range of motion. Play around with the exercise tempo! If you take a longer time to do a push-up, you’ll increase the time your muscles are under tension and working.
#8) Hold the position. Just like slowing down, this will increase the time under tension for the muscles, and therefore more work. You could pause at the bottom of your squat: