If you lift weights or even just train in general, progression is the name of the game but with all the options available, what is the best way to progress?
Daily Archives: February 3, 2016
The typical answer you will hear is ‘it depends.’ which in fairness is true to some degree, however when people often ask a question they want something a little more substantial in the answer they receive. Therefore toady we shall run through some of the best ways to progress when it comes to lifting weights and getting stronger.
Below is three methods of progression that are easy to follow and if done for an extended period of time will yield some great results.
1 – Consolidation Method.
There are several different names for this method, however the principle is the same and that is what matters the most.
Lets say you do 5×5 on 140kg in your first squat session. Instead of adding weight for the next session you will repeat the 5×5 at 140kg to consolidate your efforts and clean up any form or speed issues you had the first time you hit the 5×5. This method is great for lifters who have been lifting for at lest 3 years and will allow for a longer period of progression and building muscle/strength.
2 – Rep Progression Method.
A favored method among lifters who prefer going off of feel as opposed to strict numbers. This method allows for a little more freedom and some varied rep ranges, you can build a good amount of overall heat to toe strength with this style of progression. Pick a rep range you want to hit, say 25 reps on bench press with 100kg but limit the amount of sets* you’re going to do to say 3 and hit that rep target in either the 3 sets target or less. Once oyu hit your rep goal you can add weight.
If you wonder how this works you might have something that looks like this in your note book on week one – 100kg X 8,7,5 = 20 rep total – 5 reps short of goal. Week two may be better with 10,9,7 giving you 26 reps putting you over your target, thus allowing for an increase in weight. Simple.
3 – Back Off Set Progression.
Similar to the rep goal system this progression is based on hitting a specific weight with a certain weight however you only get one set to do it. You will do your working sets for the day, this might be 3×3 at 200kg on Deadlift followed by a Back Off set of say 10-20 reps (depending on the exercise – 10 for deadlift and 15-20 for press/squat). You can set the Back Off weight at 80-85% of your working weight for the day and proceed to do one set of reps. If you hit your goal of 10-20 then increase the weight on the main exercise.
The methods above will help you continue to progress at a slow and steady pace because that’s actually how it tends to work for most people. I would advise for most late beginner to intermediate lifters to increase the weights by 2.5kg to all pressing movements and 5kg for all squatting movements and 5-10kg for deadlifting movements as a baseline guide. More advanced lifters may increase much less, so long as there is an increase that means progression, remember progression is the key.
You don’t have to use any of these methods, they are nothing more than tools to help you on your journey.