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Strength Training Progression

strength training progression

This article gives some advice to those trainers who have just started training or are planning to start, and also to those who have been training for a while but have not so far achieved the success they hoped for.

When training, you subject your body to unusual stresses, and it adapts itself by developing and building so that it can deal more effectively with the demands placed on it. In so doing, you get fitter or stronger, or both, depending on the type of training you are doing.

But, don't get impatient and desire results too quickly. You will only be setting yourself up for disappointment, and in the end you may just lose heart and give up. Don't spoil your training experience through impatience. Progress is gradual, you don't get results overnight. You have to give nature a chance to work on your behalf.

What you must make sure of, is that you are making progress most of the time. I say most of the time because we have our ups and downs, our good periods and not so good periods, and cannot make progress every day, or every week, all the time. But on average you should make at least measurable progress most months.

If you are making some progress most months, even if only a little bit, it adds up to a lot of progress over a period of time.

You think a year is a long time? It's not. Think about last year this time, it was just the other day!

If you are doing weight training, and you increase the weight you can press in Bench Press by 1 pound a week, that is 4 pounds a month. Not much, is it? But after a year, you will be able to press about 50 pounds more! Have you been training for a year? Can you Bench Press 50 pounds more than you could a year ago? If not, why not?

Are you trying to lose weight? The same thing applies. If you lose 1 pound a week, you lose 50 pounds a year. How long have you been trying to lose weight? Have you lost 50 pounds the last year? No? And if you are less that 50 pounds overweight, why are you still overweight? Maybe you are trying to lose too much too quickly, and it doesn't work, does it?

Gradual Progression. Although progress is gradual, there must be progress! And it is up to you to make sure there is progress.

Nature is a bit conservative when it comes to energy expenditure. Once your body can cope satisfactorily with the demands placed on it by your current training program, further development stops, and to force it into continually developing, you must place progressively greater demands on it.

If you can run a certain distance at a certain speed, and your training consists of going out day after day and running it at more or less that speed, you are not giving your body any reason or incentive to evolve further so that you can eventually run it faster. The same applies to strength training. If you go to the gym, do the same exercises day after day with more or less the same reps and weights, how can you expect to get stronger or more muscular?

If you are doing strength training, you must regularly increase either the reps, the weights or the sets for the exercises you are doing. You build up the number of reps, then increase the weight and drop the reps, then gradually increase the reps again. When you hit sticking points, like you will, you apply techniques to shock your body into a spurt of development again.

If you are running or swimming, you vary the distances and speed for the distances, doing longer distances to build up endurance and shorter distances and sprints to increase your speed, slowly but surely increasing the speed for each distance.

In future articles I will discuss the methods and techniques you can use to ensure continual progression in more detail. They are many and varied. You can also use the programs generated by Always Gaining Software which monitors your strength and pushes you all the time. If you can't keep up, it will slow down, but will keep on pushing, aiming to gradually but continually increase your strength.

There are many books and magazines which go into a lot of depth on training methods and techniques. If you are really interested in training, which I assume you are since you are reading this article, get them and read them. The more knowledge you have, the more interesting it becomes, and the more enjoyment and satisfaction you will get out of your training. And the more successful you will be.

Be patient and gradually work towards your goals. Put in the necessary time and effort, apply the correct techniques and methods, and nature does work on your behalf, your body does respond, it does develop and build. And before long you will see and realize that you are making progress, that you are achieving success, that you are winning.


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