When and How to Make My Exercises Harder

Do you know when a good time to progress your exercises is?

And if you do,

Do you wonder ‘how can I make this exercise harder?’

At Tailored Health we believe that we need to challenge your body to find change, so we continually review our programs to ensure we elicit a progressively overload.

What is progressive overload I hear you ask? It is making sure your exercises are made harder over time, so as you adapt we continue to elicit a strength/fitness response. Once your body gets used to a certain stimulus, a new and higher stimulus is needed to elicit the change we are looking for.

This brings us to our first question – when do we start to progress our exercises? There is a lot of different information out there but I will share my 2 favourite times we know you are ready to progress.

How to know when it is time to progress:
  1. The first way is by reviewing your exercises monthly or at regular time intervals. 1 month is typically long enough for you to get used to the resistance you have been using, as long as you do not jump too many levels at once. Once you have been doing an exercise at a given intensity for about 1 month, consider a progression (more on this below).
  2. The second way is by detecting when the exercise starts to feel easier. At Tailored Health, one of the ways we promote this exploration is by slowly adding repetitions to your training to see how you respond. We start by completing 8 reps in 3 sets for you first exercise session then the next time you add 1 rep to 1 set. This looks like 8 squats, 8 squats, 9 squats. Then each exercise session after that keep adding 1 rep to each set till you reach 12 reps for the 3 sets. This can take as long as you need it too until you’re working out at an 7-8/10 on the Goldilocks Scale. Once you can complete 12reps in the 3 sets we increase the challenge in a variety of ways:
How to make exercises harder
  • Time – Add in holds to your exercises. Eg. hold the bottom part of a squat before pushing up
  • Tempo/speed – Slow down the movement. Eg take 3 seconds to sit into the squat before pushing up
  • Rest – reduce the rest you get between exercises or sets
  • Reps – Increase the number of reps you perform
  • Sets – add an extra set in of the exercise
  • Weight/resistance – increase the weight you are using eg. add 5kg to your squat
  • Exercise – Add a new more challenging exercise eg. do a lunge instead of squat
  • Superset/pairing – Pair 2 exercises together before resting eg. do your squats then bench push ups

At Tailored Health, we are always looking to empower you with the information you need to manage your health as independently as possible. If the above seems daunting, we are always here to answer any questions. Get in touch with us here, or book in to see us below!

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5 star review  I started working with Ben as my exercise physiologist even before he started Tailored Health. He has always been caring and understanding my problems and has always worked towards increasing my strength. He has a great team and Claire has done enormous job on my body, looking after all my pain and I feel so much better than before. Recently Phil has joined the team and he is great too! Thank you for looking after me and being so kind and professional.

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