Natural Bodybuilder Mitch Jarvis Lays Down Rules for the Progressive Overload Principle

Mitch Jarvis explains the progressive overload principle
Image via Instagram @mitchjarv

PNBA UK Pro natural bodybuilding champion Mitch Jarvis lays down the rules for the progressive overload principle. 

The progressive overload principle is the foundation to making progress in the gym. In simple terms, the progressive overload principle is making sure you make progress on your workouts as often as possible. However, many people omit this cornerstone principle, and therefore, their progress in the gym suffers. That’s because many people aren’t aware of it or how it works. International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA)/Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA) athlete Mitch Jarvis lays down the framework for this crucial law in the gym. 

Mitch Jarvis competes in the Men’s Bodybuilding division and was a 2021 Pro UK Champion and PNBA Pro World Championships runner-up. He was also the 2020 United Kingdom Drug Free Bodybuilding Association (UKDFBA) Overall champion. 

Regarding the progressive overload principle, Jarvis stated:

“The rules are simple: only increase the weight (by 5kg) when the rep range has been maxed out. That is 8 reps on top set, and 15 reps on back off set. The starting point has been set, time to chip away [sic]”

You can see Mitch Jarvis’ complete statement and Instagram (IG) clip of him performing the progressive overload principle on barbell squats below. 

Progressive Overload Principle

Mitch Jarvis follows the progressive overload principle to the T. He only increases the weight (by 5 kg) once he reaches the top end of his rep range. For example, in the IG clip above, you can see that Jarvis is performing barbell squats in the 5-8 rep range to start (top set) but then finishes in the 12-15 rep range (back set). Jarvis only increases the weight once he can complete a weight at the top end of his top set and the top end of his back set. For example, once he completes a set of eight reps with 160 kg on his top set, he’ll increase the weight the following week. The same applies to his back set, except it will be with a lighter weight for 15 reps. 

The progressive overload principle is the key to building muscle in the gym. Because the heavier the weight you use, the more muscle you’ll build. And to use heavier weights, you have to increase the weight, of course. The progressive overload principle is increasing the stimuli placed on your muscle as often as possible. You can do this by increasing the weight or reps of a load. 

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The progressive overload principle is a relatively simple process to grasp and implement. However, many people forego this crucial law of gains. To continue to make progress with your physique, add weight to your movements once you can hit the top end of your rep range. 

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As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.