Progressing from workout to workout is what we all strive for in the gym. It’s the reason we keep coming back or continue to train. That feeling of progressing is unrivalled when it comes to training.
However, we can be guilty of sticking to what’s comfortable; such as always using the same weights or sticking to the same reps/set schemes. Both of which conflict with one of the major training principles ‘progressive overload’.
The progressive overload principle states that in order to make progress, your muscles need to be continually stressed with new training stimulus in order for them to adapt (Bigger, Stronger, More efficient energy systems).
Below are a few methods to incorporate in order to ‘Progress your workouts’.
- Increase the amount of weight lifted:
Start off by making small increases to the weights you use and stay within your rep ranges. If you make huge jumps in the amount of weight lifted, this can compromise your technique. Through this, your results will cease and also increase the risk of injury while training. So if you find that you lose your technique with the new weight range, don’t be afraid to lower the weight slightly. Remember, quality is better than quantity!
- Decrease your rest time – This may seem like the easiest option of the other two tips but actually, this can be quite challenging. Rest is really important in between your sets but you can also use it to your advantage to progress your workout. Let’s say you are performing your new working set of Back squats or RDL’s at 40kg for 4×10 and it starts to become easy with 1:30 minutes rest in-between, all you need to do is take that rest down to 1:00 minute. That’s it!
- Increase the number of repetitions performed: If you feel that increasing the weight will be too challenging then all you need to try first is performing 3-5 more repetitions in each set. So for example, if you usually use the leg press machine with 40kg for 3 sets x 10 repetitions, next time, add an extra 5 repetitions so you do 40kgs for 3 sets x 15 repetitions. Alternatively, you can even add another set meaning you would perform 4 sets x 10 repetitions.
- Track your Workouts
It sounds so simple but yet not many people actually track what they are doing during each session. Tracking everything you do in the gym will allow you to see first-hand the progress you’re making, not to mention it also makes the first 3 principles in the article a lot easier to manage. So when your next in the gym get your phone or your workout journal out, track your weights your sets and even the metres you racked up on the Ergs so next time you hit a similar workout you know where to push your efforts.
Your comfort zone is a nice place but nothing ever grows there. If you do not constantly challenge your body and give it new tasks to conquer then you will not make any progress.