If you're looking to make improvements in your strength, endurance, speed, etc., there are a few core concepts personal trainers use that will be essential to your success. Today, I'm going to share just a few of these concepts of progression with you so that when you're out there amongst the millions of opinions on workouts- you can quickly determine which programs will be successful.
Think to a time when you were experiencing noticeable improvements in your speed, strength, endurance, etc. At some point you placed stress on those muscles, or your cardiovascular system through physically demanding workouts. Your body was exposed to increased amounts of stress on bones, joints, muscles, connective tissues, lungs, heart, etc.. This is the principle of Overload.
Putting your body into a state of Overload- is a concept that athletes, trainers, and average Joe's must use if they want to see those advancements they're looking for. It is this stress, that requires the body to respond by adaptation.
The rest between each of those workouts give your body time to recover and adapt to those physical demands you are placing on it. This is a necessary component of training! Between hard weight workouts you should rest those body groups 48 hours.
And beyond that, it's a good idea to have larger cycles of work and rest. It's pretty common to work in four week cycles. The first two weeks might be medium in difficulty, the third hard, and the fourth a rest week. A rest week doesn't mean you're not doing anything- it simply means you're doing those same workouts at a lower intensity, or lower weight to let your body recover.
So many exercisers, work hard, rest, eat sensibly- they do everything right, but they fail to add progression into their routine. If you do the same workouts with the same distance, same route, same speed all the time, you aren't going to get anywhere. To progress you have to overload the body, and provide new challenges for it.
So what does this look like? If you're talking resistance training, let's say you're the average Joe- maybe not quite interested in the Hypertrophy (or muscle growth), but in it for health. You still can and should use this principle in your training. Perhaps you're working on 150 lbs for back squat, and working in the range of 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps to volitional fatigue. The first week, you can only make it to 10 reps. That's great! So, next week make it your goal to get 11 reps on each set. Work your way up to 12. Once that goal is achieved, add 5-10 pounds and start the process over. These may be small increments, but overtime, these increments add up.
For a few ideas to progress cardio activities:
- increase number of stations/exercises.
- Increase the intensity of effort.
- Increase the work period time.
- Decrease the rest time between stations/exercises.
Continuous exercise (running, cycling, etc.):
- Work longer at the same pace.
- Work harder at the same time/distance
- Work longer and harder.
When it comes down to it, progression comes in all shapes, sizes, and types of exercise. But these core concepts can bring you success in whatever your workout of choice.
Regardless of your workout type, PK Fitness can help lead you in that progression you want. You already have this great tool right at your fingertips- that can help you have a better understanding of your effort, and your progress thereof. For me, as an athlete and now as an average joe this resource has been invaluable in understanding progression. Use it to your advantage!
PK Fitness Program Coordinator