Tag Archives: overload

Progression Tips for Beginners

Do you have any idea how to progress your training across the variables?

– Volume
– Intensity
– Density
– Frequency

It’s quite easy really, as such here is an example for each that can be used for several weeks or months if you have the courage to stay the course.

Volume –

Ladders, one of my favourites.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 or 2,3,5,10, or 1,2,3,4,5

There are a lot of choices, for adding extra volume in the form of reps, the most effective being 1-10, and you will only add weight once you can go 1-10 unbroken.

Example (works best as a super set):

A1 – Pull Up
A2 – Close Grip Bench Press

Intensity –

Let us say that you’re a creature of habit who likes doing the same sets and reps, this is cool however progressing can be a tad tricky, therefor this is the solution:

Fractional Plates.

Small 0.25kg (or lighter) plates, all you need do is hit your desired reps then add another 0.25kg and aim to do the same next time.

Personally I’ve found that doing 3-5×3-5 works well as it gives you some room to adapt to the gradual increases. Once you hit 5×5 with good form, adding another fraction plate is easy, it might may you only be able to do 3×3, that’s okay keep grinding until it’s 5×5 and progress from there.

Density –

Perhaps you’re already one strong hombre and adding weight or reps is becoming tricky, fear not, you have two options to progress.

1 – Set a time limit to hit your rep goal.

Example; 50 reps in 15min with 140kg in the squat.

Once you hit it you add weight.

2 – Reduce your rest periods.

Say you’ve started with 5min rest, knock off 15 seconds at the next session, if you hit all your reps then knock off another 15 next time, repeat this until you are perhaps at 3min rest, or lower, that is up to you.

Once you hit your desired point of ‘low rest’ add weight and take the rest back up to 5min per set and so on.

Frequency –

The easiest to manipulate, al you do is add an extra bout of reps or an extra session.

Say you train your squat once per week, bump it up to twice, if you already do two squat sessions do three, you can spread the reps out and build them up from there, example:

1 squat session a week = 5×10
2 squat session = 3×10 per session (10 more total reps)

Make sense?

Adding weight or reps can be applied from the other example above.

The little tips of today are very basic, there is a lot more that can go in to this, however these will be enough to tweak your current training and perhaps get you over the plateau.


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A no nonsense approach to making gains, stripping fat, improving movement and getting strong.
Morning All,
I try to keep some training ideas popping up for you so that you have some options, as with most of the recommendations they’re simple and would do well to be done for 3month at a minimum.
So what is 50/50?
Well if you were born in the 90’s it was a game show, if not then perhaps you know it as nothing more than a statistic or BJJ set up.
If we look at applying this to a training program this is the result:
– Two exercises
– 50 reps each
– Done in as few sets as possible
– Rest as needed
Progression options are interesting, however here are my recommendations:
Strength – increase weight when you hit 50 reps in less than 6 sets – rep options 5-10
Hypertrophy – increase weight when you hit 50 reps in less than 4 sets – rep options 8-12
Fat loss – Increase weight when you can hit 50 reps in less than 2 sets – rep options 10+
Now these are not set in stone, they’re just a guide to give you something to go on, provided you’re nutrition is appropriate for your goal you can use which ever of the above you enjoy the most.
As with most recommendations you’ll do well to have mostly compound movements to cover the full body filling your workout roster, training anywhere from 2-5 days per week will do you.
For example, your training days might look like this:
Day 1 – Squats/ Rows
Day 2 – Presses/Loaded Carries (10-20m is one rep)
Day 3 – Trap Bar DL/Dips
Day 4 – Pull Ups/Prowler (10-20m is one rep)
Day 5 – Squats/Curls – because curls (Y)
I jest, the last day would be Squats/Dumbbell Clean & Press.
You get the idea, you can put in any movements you like, just cover the full body with a frequency of each muscle group or movement of twice per week.
Depending on the progression option you take and the reps you use, you’ll find you can make some rather large jumps in weight to the bar, perhaps 5kg for upper body lifts and 10kg for lower body ones. The choice is yours.
As mentioned above, you can pick the rep ranges you enjoy and go from there. If you like doing 5’s, great start there, once you are doing say 5×10 instead of the 10×5 you started with then add weight.
If you like 10’s then start off with 5×10 and perhaps work towards 2×25, or some other ludicrous amount of reps, just do what you enjoy rep/set wise and pick things that will help keep your adherence up, once you get through the initial place of creating the routine and consistency, the results will come and at that point you’ll start doing what you need to do more often.

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Pushing your sets all the way

Working out is easy, it’s training that’s hard.
When it comes to the mental aspect of lifting weights we’d all like to think that we’re putting in the effort we require and while some certainly do, most don’t.
You can tell by the results people achieve.
Let’s take for example the classic 5×5, if you look back at its inception the idea was to either do 3-4 warm up sets where you start working towards a top set for the day, some would even do 2 top sets after 3 progressively heavier warm ups, this would actually be quite hard.
To push a set of say 5 for everything you had, with good form of course, is quite draining and very few people will ever really do it. Most will lift a weight for 5 that they could have really don for 7, maybe 8 if they’re honest.
This is one reason a lot of us don’t get the progress we really want.
I’m guilty of this that’s for sure.
Now this isn’t to say that people don’t ‘work hard’, rather it’s just pointing out that many haven’t quite grasped the concept of really pushing a set to it’s limit. if they did they’d find training say 3 days per week is more than enough to make progress, rather than their standard 6 with back to back classes and AM/PM runs.
Good old fashioned honest hard graft isn’t pleasant, it’s tough, however it’s what produces results, especially when combined with solid nutrition and plenty of recovery.
Try doing 5×5 and having 3-4 of those sets being warm ups, then really go all out on the last set, you should feel sufficiently worked, you may have one more set of 5 at that weight, if you do then go for it, however if you get it right that one hard set of 5 will be enough.
The loading might look like this:
Done, move on to the next exercise and repeat the same process.
Just something to think about.

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Some variety is good, too much isn’t.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the classic line of “You need to change up your training to keep the body guessing” or something along those lines.

While having some changes in your training program is good for novelty and staving off the boredom, too much change too often will leave you without any real progress due to a lack of suitable adaptation.

Look at is this way; if you want to get better at a certain skill you practice that skill over and over and over again, the same is true fro lifting weights/training, you need repeated and sustained efforts to adapt and progress, chopping and changing every session won’t provide too much in the way of progress.

While you might not like that fact is it very much the case.

Take a look at people who do an ever changing amount of classes, they shift their excess fat and build some small amount of muscle (this is great btw), however past that point they end up looking no better because they don’t want to buckle down and stay with a training program for longer than a couple of weeks.

It’s a common issue that everyone falls victim to.

Now it is worth noting that some people do indeed need change every 2 weeks in there training, however those people are usually genetically gifted and 9/10 times you’re not that person, you’re the one who needs to stay consistent to a program for at least 12-16 weeks, sorry, that’s how it is.

When all that is said and done these words are only simple bits of advice, you can do what ever the hell you want, in the end it makes no different to me personally. If you’re happy with your training and your results then fill your boots, however if you’re not then you’d do well to take this on board.

You will often find the most successful training programs are often the most boring.


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How to make progress: Part 5 – Variation

“You must change exercises frequently in your workouts to avoid stagnation, confuse your muscles!”
Well yes and no.
To adapt and overcome you need to have frequent exposure to a stimulus, the same stimulus in fact. that way your body will have time to fatigue, react and adapt, if you chop and change what you do too often then you won’t actually create the stress you need and as such not progress in the most optimal way.
Exercise variation is not a bad thing by any means, however you’ll find the most successful programs are the most boring because they don’t have too much variation, and the variation they do have has a direct correlation/crossover to their main/staple workout.
Let’s say you’re wanting bigger legs, how can you achieve this?
Squats would be the correct answer.
Lot’s of squats.
Now, what you will find is that your accessory movements (the ones you do after the meat and potatoes – squat) can have some variance to allow you to stave off boredom, however these would probably change every 3-6 weeks depending on your personality.
For example;
Lunges with a parrot dumbbells could become pistol squats with a kettlebell or even a split squat, so a similar movement patter with a different emphasis on the loading perimeters.
The main lift would stay the same because to cage that too often would cause lacklustre results.
It’s a common problem that people want novelty in their training all the time, and while there is nothing wrong with this it offers little to no results for the majority of people. Chances are you may know a person who does different things all the time and looks great, well you’re not them, they’re there exception and you don’t want to base how YOU respond on them because you’re not them, no matter how much you want to be.
Consistency is the key to progress, don;t change too much and if you have to make changes try to do so under the guise of ‘Same but different’ – this means a similar movement patter with perhaps a variant on loading, position of the bar, tempo etc.

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The One Thing You’re Not Doing.

Morning Guys,
A short post toady with some logical advise that many people will fail to adhere to.
You ready?
“If a muscle isn’t growing you’re either at your genetic limit or more likely not hitting the required overload/intensity.”
What does this mean? Simply that you need to train all of your muscles with the correct stimulus and intensity to create the required metallic disturbance for them to adapt and grow bigger/stronger. If you’re not doing that you won’t grow, it’s that simple. A caloric surplus of 350-500cals per day over your TDEE will help as well, but the most important part is the stimulus.
Overload is king.

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More for Less

The more knowledgeable people become the more they start to understand the importance of increasing training session volume each time they venture to the gym, this is so that they can keep progressing.

Keeping this in mind there are several ways to add that little extra to your workouts so that you ensure some positive adaptation, the obvious ones are to add one of the following 3:
– More Set
– More Reps
– More Weight
If you are not constrained by time then these three are quite viable options. You would potentially spend more time in the gym while you accumulate more total volume, however this would eventually reduce when you come to a much needed deload, then this process will be repeated until you either stop making progress or get bored of lifting weights.
What happens if you don’t have the luxury of spending extra time in the gym due to work, family or other time constraints? Simple, you do some density work or as it’s otherwise know Escalating Density Training.
What is EDT?
EDT is the process where by you select a perform an exercise in a certain time frame with appropriate loading and get out as many reps as you possibly can. Depending on what your overall training style is you can add anywhere from up to an extra 50% (possibly more) to your overall workout total. If you’re unsure of what this means take a look at the example below.
Pressing Day –
Bench Press 5x5x100
Flies 3x12x20
Dips 3x12xBW – 75kg
5920kg total volume
Now lets say you had a 45min window to workout and that took you 35min leaving you 10min spare, this is where adding in a density set will help boost that volume.
10min – Press Ups – BW 40kg (because you don’t use as much as you think) – If you achieved 100 in time limit that would give you an extra 4000kg of volume, almost as much as the session. Not a bad little addition for 10min of work is it.
Using this technique can help you provide some more stimulus in the same time period. For upper body days press ups, pull ups or any body weight exercise are a great addition to finish your workout, when it comes to leg day there is another option you can use, it involves loading the bar with 80% of your top weight for the day and doing one of the following – As many reps as many as possible in a specific time limit while resting as necessary or using that same load and setting a rep target such as 50 for example. You can do this for upper body days if you want to as well.
*Always regulate your weight based on your top set(s) of the day. You can lower the amount of time you have once you hit a specific rep goal, this will help you further increase your density of work and overall work capacity. The variations are endless truth be told.
It’s actually quite easy when you think about it, isn’t it. There are a lot more methods of EDT, but they all adhere to the same principle which is to help you increase your overall work capacity.
A word of warning however, be sure to keep a track of all your volume and how you’re recovering from it all. Everyone has a limit, once it’s hit you can push it for a touch more but then you will need to take your foot off the gas and deload, if you don;t you may just burn out, go backward and even get injured.
Try adding some EDT your workouts and break through your plateaus.

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Too Soon!

Morning Guys,
If you were to look back at your training programs, how long do they each last?
4 weeks? Maybe 6 or even 8?
I’m going to tell you something that you might not like… Progress is slow and usually takes a long time to achieve (beginners excluded).
4,6 and even 8 week programs are usually you short for making any real progress. If you’re looking to progress a program will be more like 24weeks (roughly 6 months). It is in this time that you will have smaller breakdowns of the loading/progression plan but the overall program will be something that lasts for a long time. If you find that you’re not really getting any solid progress then this is why.
Most internet/magazine and Bro programs are too short and not planned properly.
You might be thinking that a program that long will become boring, well you’d be right. Progress often is a long and boring road that requires months if not years of grinding away and putting in the effort to reap the rewards.
Think of it this way; if a person starts training at 18 and follows solid periodisation and sensible programming where the volume/load is undulated accordingly then in 10 years they would have built an impressive amount of strength and lean muscle tissue (nutrition being adequate obviously). I know 10 years seems like a long time, it is, however it’s a worth investment because you only get one body in this life.
Now the realms of programming are very deep and treacherous, to try and give you a cookie cutter program will do no good unless you;re a complete beginner*.
*Beginners and even some intermediates, I advise a solid 5×5 as the starting program, you can then use one of the many many variations of this to keep t things fresh and progress, I would just try to stay on each one for at least 6 months. Build the weight up (hitting all 5’s), once it gets too hard to keep progressing in a linear fashion drop the weight back and start again (or drop to 3’s until you hit another stop and go back to your first run at 3’s and turn those in to 5’s), repeat this until that stops working and by then you should be ready for something a little more interesting.
Pleas understand that the most important thing in a program is overload, you can’t achieve this without time and effort, now take this advice and stick with something for more than 4 weeks.

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