Alternative Methods of Progression

Are you on exercise autopilot? After every set do you add a 10-pounder to each side of the bar before you can say, “Please spot me, Jamie Eason?” Then it’s time to consider some new ways to step up your workout. Alwyn Cosgrove has got some great ideas about the subject.

The Path To Progress

Most people use a single variable to progress in their weight training — load lifted. There’s nothing wrong with that, but eventually you reach a ceiling when you simply can’t add more weight to an exercise.

In a typical training program, we have exercise order, exercise selection, sets, reps, tempo, rest period and load. Here’s a small sample workout below. Let’s go over three progression methods and see how each changes the workout.

Sample Workout

Assuming each set takes a minute, the workout is done in 15 minutes.

Most people would just increase the load each week. But instead, we could add an additional rep next workout. Or add an additional set. Or maybe we cut the rest period down, and with the extra time we can add more exercises or even back-off sets.

Method #1: Add Reps

Add one rep to each set of each exercise.

You can always get one more rep.

Method #2: Add Sets

Add one set to each exercise.

Do a little more work than the next guy.

Method #3: Reduce Rest Periods

Decrease the rest between each set.

Assuming each set takes a minute, the workout is now done in 13.5 minutes.

Workout’s done already? Whatcha gonna do with that free time?

Let’s Put It All Together

This will take us from week one’s total volume of 5400 pounds in 15 minutes to a total volume of 8400 pounds in 18 minutes, with an increase in workout density from doing those two extra sets. That’s 55% more work in only three more minutes, or over 100 pounds of additional work per minute training.

Obviously this is a huge increase in the total work done without having to add any weight to the bar. So even if you’re in a situation where your home gym doesn’t have any extra weight, you can still make great progress. I haven’t even changed exercise order, exercise selection, rep tempo or load, yet I still managed to create a more challenging workout.

This would not be a more challenging workout.

In Conclusion

Hopefully you see the benefits of implementing different methods of progression rather than just increasing load all the time. The key to progress is overload and there are various ways of getting there. Just make sure you’re moving forward every step of the way.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s