That heading is the TRUTH! It took me a while to get it (let’s say i’m stubborn minded haha) but it is the facts. If your workouts are planned, progressed and monitored correctly you will continue to make progress with your overall strength and size.

By progressively overloading the workout programmes intensity in the gym you will get results. This is true as long as we take care of progressively overloading the programme and work on trying to improve our sleep, nutrition and decrease stress. The small and steady improvements create the big results…it just takes time.

It takes time, dedication and trust

-scottus Farkasus The 1st of Dundee

It’s all too common. We skip the basics and we are all guilty of this (definitely myself included). We know what works, the tried and tested methods, yet, we still don’t follow through. We typically don’t ‘get 8 hours sleep’, ‘execute perfect form’, ‘take time off when we feel sick’, ‘drink 2 litres of water each day’, ‘listen to the body’. The list goes on, and I think you get the point I am trying to make. But the truth is simple: to improve we have to do the basics right.

Progressive overload: This is what I call increasing intensity, and it’s simple – make a plan and slowly increase the intensity of your workouts. Intensity can look like many things – not just increasing the weight. With my clients, and my own workouts, I will typically introduce one of the following intensity tools, one at a time, until we have reached the desired weight for reps in time:

  • Increase the weight,
  • Decrease the rest time,
  • Change the Tempo of your lifts,
  • Increase/decrease the Rep Range,
  • Increase/decrease the Set Range.

I like to use Linear Progression for my clients that are new to exercise. It’s one of the basics. Essentially we want to hit our Rep Range with a desired weight and as soon as we hit that amount of reps and for sets we will increase the weight. I will maintain the rep and set range but simply up the weight. HUH!?? Ill explain below.

Example: Our target is 4 sets at 8-10 reps – Rest is 1 minute between sets

Week1: 10kg x10reps, 10kg x10reps, 10kg x 9reps, 10kg x 8reps
Week2: 10kg x10reps, 10kg x10reps, 10kg x 10reps, 10kg x 9reps
Week3: 10kg x10reps, 10kg x10reps, 10kg x 10reps, 10kg x 10reps
*Nailed it! now we up the intensity – via weight by 1.25kg*
Week4: 11.25kg x 9reps, 11.25kg x 8reps, 11.25kg x 8reps, 11.25kg x 8reps

As you can see we increased intensity via weight. Another example could be Time [Rest time]:

Week1: 10kg x10reps, 10kg x10reps, 10kg x 9reps, 10kg x 8reps
Week2: 10kg x10reps, 10kg x10reps, 10kg x 10reps, 10kg x 9reps
Week3: 10kg x10reps, 10kg x10reps, 10kg x 10reps, 10kg x 10reps
*Nailed it! now we up the intensity – via decreasing rest time from 1min to 45 seconds*
Week4: 10kg x 10reps, 10kg x 10reps, 10kg x 9reps, 10kg x 8reps

As you can see we decreased the rest time making it more intense for the lifter to achieve full rep range due to fatigue. Other intensity factors to the programme can include more sets or we could maintain the same weight lifted and increase the tempo of each repetition. Lots of options.

The good news is that we are nailing new PB’s or hitting mini milestones with each workout – how great is that? An amazing tool to keep clients’ motivation high by showing their awesome hard work really has paid off!

My advice/please note: Don’t always jump the weight up each week! Take time for your body/clients body to adjusta great Physio passed on some awesome advice to me about safety: “maintain the same weight for at least two weeks for the body to adjust“.

Programming: This is important to stick to a short term plan at the very least (4 weeks +). This allows us time to increase intensity and work our self up through the various methods of intensity. If we change the plan day to day and week to week with no rhyme or reason we may see a stall or drop in progress. I’ll explain in an example.

If we lifted 60kg x 10 reps for 4sets one week (total tonnage: 2400kg lifted).
Then, next week we lift 60kg x 12 reps for 3 sets (total tonnage: is less at 2160kg lifted). We have put our body under less stress and prevented the body’s response to over compensate and grow/develop strength.

The above is basic but it can’t be taken for granted! Of course there are variables. It takes time, dedication and trust – stick to the plan. It just takes a little bit of trust in the process.
For best results leave nothing to luck and track your progress – you can read more here from a previous post on why you should keep a track of your workouts.
sleep counts – if we sleep poor the workout the next day is affected and our progress is affected.
Manage stress – If we are feeling worn down mentally we will not see progress in the gym, especially if you train hard and long in the gym. I relate stress to putting the wrong fuel into your car. Yeh, sure, you will drive away from the petrol station (go to the gym) for a while but eventually you will pay for the build up inside your car (mind, fatigue). I want to see you take care and love yourself, and that includes taking a break when you need it to focus on life- the gym is always there and it will ready when you are to progressively overload!

If you don’t track your workouts then please give it a try see just how much you can progress the numbers in a 4 week period. I’d love to hear how you get on.

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