Progressive Overload in CrossFit

In the bodybuilding or strength and conditioning world, progressive overload is a common principle that most people utilize in their training. What exactly is it?

In the simplest terms, progressive overload is just getting a little bit better at a movement/lift each time you attack it.

This can be accomplished through extra reps, more weight, less rest time. We change, or progress, each time we do the movement to continue gaining ground.

See, our bodies adapt to progression. We need it if we want to continue seeing the results we desire.

This is why CrossFit at its core works so well. Every day is different – different workout, altered movements, and the times are varied. The body is in a constant state of confusion and is always adapting.

At Brickhouse CrossFit and CrossFit Unify Roanoke we take things a step further with progressive overload in our training.

We have been using block periodization for our strength portions of daily workouts. This entails 4 weeks of lifting at certain weight percentages and specific time intervals, but the reps increase each week.

4 reps Week 1, 5 reps Week 2, etc….

After the 4th week, we increase the load (percentage), reduce the reps and ALSO reduce the rest time between sets.

This cycle continues throughout a 90-day timespan, and the progressive overload is achieving incredible strength gains for our athletes who attend consistently.

Over the last 6 months our focus has been on three big lifts to improve overall strength and at the end of each 90-day block we also test and note the translation to ALL the other lifts.

The results have been undeniable.

We feel classic CrossFit can miss this benefit if WOD’s and strength sessions are TOO varied or don’t include a structured, periodized approach.

Co-owner Johnathon Childress personally writes all our programming in 90-day, block-periodized progressions with this focus in the forefront.

Progressive overload – getting a little bit better each time you do something.

It’s no secret. It’s nothing new. It’s just consistent, tracked progression. And it works.

Looking to change up your training? Click below and let’s talk about how we can help you reach your goals.


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