Overload contains two parts:
- Training within maximal threshold
- Training must be harder, on average, with time
Training within your maximal threshold means that you are doing things that are challenging to your relative fitness and strength. If you have a back squat PR of 200kg, yet your strength cycle has you squatting 100kg week 1, 105 week 2 etc, then you probably are not going to get stronger. It is too easy for you.
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Training must be harder, on average, with time. This involves load, reps, volume, distance, time and intensity. This means that you gradually overload your body and central nervous system with progressively harder stimulus in your training. This can be anything from max calories on the airbike in 10 mins to adding weight onto your bench press each week.
“Humans respond to training in almost identical ways qualitatively, but differ only in quantity of response. For example, ALL humans need an overload to progress and ALL humans take on muscle damage with training. HOW MUCH training is an overload and how much muscle damage occurs from any given training is different for different people, but no one on this earth can claim to experience zero muscle damage from training at any given volume.” Dr Mike Israetel.