When the human body receives a stimulus, it adapts to it in preparation to receive that stimulus again. The next time, you make that stimulus slightly stronger to continue the adaptation process. That’s progressive overload!
While it’s way more complicated that that, this process should be top-of-mind when choosing ANY exercise and implementing ANY strength program. Of course, there are thousands of ways to implement progressive overload – periodized programs, linear progression, multiple-set schemes, HIT training, etc. – but the principle of progressive overload should be taught to every athlete so they understand how small improvements made over time will produce great results.
Listen briefly to what Michigan State Strength & Conditioning Coach, Joe Powell, has to say about the importance of making this a priority.
To learn more about progressive overload from 20 of the top coaches in the profession, check out the IYCA book Principles of Athletic Strength & Conditioning. Chapter 5 by Arizona Cardinals Strength & Conditioning Coach, Mark Naylor, explores this topic in great depth and goes into detail on how to most effectively use this principle in training programs.