The Secret of Constant Progression: Part 1

When it comes to lifting weights well all want to have a steady progression, but many will stall and find their progress grinding to a halt without much warning.

Do you want to know how to avoid this?
Do you want the knowledge to build strength and muscle consistently?
Do you want to know what many trainers hesitate to tell?

Do you want to know the secret of constant progression?

I am going to write one short post per day about what elements of your training you can tweak that will allow you to continue to progress, they are not as complicated as you may think and on top of that there are only 3 KEY elements you need to be mindful off.

Volume

Intensity

Density

That makes 3 content filled posts for you to increase your knowledge and understanding of lifting weights, progression and progressive overload.

If you hied my advice you will find steady progression for many weeks, months and even years to come, so now we have all of the standard chatter of you the way;

Lets get started.

The route to progression is classed as continued progressive overload*, otherwise known as TOTAL VOLUME. This is the amount of weight you lift in one session, the get stronger or build more muscle you must lift more than you did before; simple right?

*Progressive overload by definition is that in order to adapt/grow we require a gradual increase in volume, intensity, density (frequency/time) in order to achieve the targeted goal of the user. In this context, volume, intensity and density are defined as follows: Volume is the total number of repetitions multiplied by the resistance used as performed in specific periods of time.

Not quite. Trying to constantly lift more weight each week will have you hitting a brick wall much sooner than you might realise, your body needs time to adapt, your ligaments and tendons need time to grow stronger as do your muscles. This is where the concept of volume can become skewed, lifting more weight to achieve more volume does not happen quiet the way you would think.

What is VOLUME?

Volume put simply is the cumulative amount of Sets & Reps you ave performed in that one session (Don’t get confused with Total Volume of Weight Lifted.*), the weight you’re using is known as the INTENSITY, but that’s something to talk about on another day, but as you will learn all 3 elements are intrinsically linked.

*The sum total volume of your weight lifted is what you will calculate at the end of your workout to see how much weight you lifted throughout the entire session and over a prolonged period of time throughout your different training phases, this will become important for establishing your ‘Power Index’, but more on that another day.

Example:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg lifted (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

So theoretically then this would be the next logical step:

Week 2 – 5×5 @ 105kg – 5×105 = 525 – 525×5 = 2625kg lifted (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

This progressive volume thing is easy according to this, the gains will be constant and strong… Or so we would like to believe. You have not changed the volume, you have changed the intensity, yes that has lead to more total volume, but not quiet in the way we are trying to achieve today.

Your body would only progress in this way for a certain period of time before it simply couldn’t handle any more weight for 5 sets of 5 reps, this is when you will need to change the volume load, I.E the amount of set’s and reps you’re doing.

You see, you can can increase your volume from a workout without having to increase the weight, take a look at this example:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

Week 2 – 8×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×8 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 40reps Total Volume

Are you starting to get the picture now?

Week 3 – 10×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×10 = 5000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 50reps Total Volume

*Week 4 Deload to 6×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×6 = 3000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 30reps Total Volume a reduction of 40% Volume, you can have multiple variations of this, but you will learn that over the next few days – This allows your body to back off form he volume but maintain its neuromuscular connections and familiarity with the weight.

As you can see for my rather basic examples above you can increase the VOLUME of your workout by changing the numbers of sets you perform, you can also change the reps but of the purpose of this example I decided to change the sets as it’s easier to see the progression.

That said, if you did want to keep the sets the same but change the reps you might do the following:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

Week 2 – 5×8 @ 100kg – 8×100 = 800 – 800×5 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 40reps Total Volume

Are you starting to get the picture now?

Week 3 – 5×10 @ 100kg – 10×100 = 1000 – 1000×5 = 5000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 50reps Total Volume

*Week 4 Deload to 3×10 @ 100kg – 10×1000 = 1000 – 1000×3 = 3000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 30reps Total Volume a reduction of 40% Volume

AS you can see now from the second example the sets can remain the same and the reps can change, provided your Total Weight Volume is increased you will be progressively overloading, thus getting bigger and stronger.

*PROVIDED YOU’RE EATING ENOUGH!

Hopefully now you have a solid understanding of what Volume is and what it actually means.

Tomorrow I shall be covering Intensity.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below.

Enjoy
Ross

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