1. Increasing volume.
To put this simply, increasing volume means to increase the number of times you do something. So if you are taking 10 free-throws a day or running 1 mile a day, you would bump this up to 12 free-throws or running a mile and a quarter. When we discuss progression, we want to increase our repetitions or length of activity in increments; if you haven’t played basketball in a year and try to shoot fifty times, you’re begging for the basketball gods to smite your wrist. It’s inevitable.
2. Increasing load.
You can feel comfortable bench-pressing 135lbs ten times and never really get bit by the DOMS bug. If you’re at this level, you have two options; you can increase your repetitions to 12, or you can increase your load to 140lbs. If you increase your load to 140lbs and still hit 10 repetitions, you’re going to definitely feel a difference in soreness despite the fact that you’ve only done the familiar 10 reps. Your body is adapting to this added stress.
3. Not doing both at the same time.
This is the most important point I can make in this article. If you decide to increase your volume and load at the same time, you’re opening yourself up to injury, fatigue, potential sleep issues, and unnecessary soreness. This is not constructive for achieving higher athletic performance. Now, if you are an advanced athlete and haven’t had our aforementioned hiatus, then perhaps you can find the benefits in utilizing a training intensity technique to incorporate both volume progression and load progression. However, if you’re “new in town” and want to maximize the benefits of exercise without experiencing some of the negatives, you will choose a goal for each work out and reach that specific goal (in increments!)