TAKE A STEP BACK TO MOVE FORWARD
Linear Progression is one of the oldest, most effective and most popular fitness programs around. It’s also a simple uncomplicated program that works well for beginners.
We’re going to be using lifting as an example. But a similar program can be built for runners, or sprinters or almost any type of exercise.
Simply put you find a weight you can do “x” number of sets with for “y” reps. As an example, 3 sets of 5 reps with 150 pounds. The goal is to add say, 5 pounds each week for the big lifts (dead lift, squat, bench press).
This type of program works fine for a time, usually 6-12 months for a beginner, but sooner or later you’re going to stall. One of the reasons you’re going to stall is the fact that not all muscles adapt at the same pace. Ligaments and tendons tend to adapt slower than muscle. Think about it, after 6 months (24 weeks) you’ve added 120 pounds to your lift. You’re now doing 270 pounds. You may even find that you have difficulty getting sufficient recovery time and may find yourself actually losing strength.
Not only does progress stall but you are setting yourself for an injury or, at best, a painful bout with tendonitis. It’s time to change your approach. There are many different possibilities. For secondary or isolation lifts, there are many different exercises to switch to for each body part. But remember, our example is for the big lifts. If you’re trying to get stronger or build muscle, or cut fat these lifts need to stay in your program.
I’ve tried many different approaches to this problem but the program I’m about to describe works the best for me. Draw up your schedule before you start and stick to it. NO SKIPPING AHEAD! Have a little patience and you’ll be rewarded in the long run.
We’ll use the dead lift as an example. 1RM is your 1 Rep Max( the maximum you can lift for 1 repetition). Use either actual 1RM or calculated if you don’t know your actual. Weight to be used is rounded. Go to http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other7.htm for a 1RM calculator.
One of the secrets of this method is lots of work at lighter weight but higher reps should improve your form. Always important in the big lifts.
The hard part is following the script. NO SKIPPING AHEAD.
WEEK 1RM(1 REP MAX) SETS/REPS 1RM% WEIGHT
1 305 5x5 70% 175
2 305 5x3 75% 230
3 305 5x1 80% 245
4 Rest from dead lifts this week. Do complimentary exercises instead. Hyperextensions, leg curls, T-bar row, good mornings, etc.
5 305 5x5 75% 230
6 305 5x3 80% 245
7 305 5x1 85% 260
8 Rest from dead lifts. Do complimentary exercises/
9 305 5x5 80% 245
10 305 5x3 85% 260
11 305 5x1 90% 275
12 Rest from dead lifts.
13 305 5x5 85% 260
14 305 5X3 90% 275
15 305 5x1 95% 290
16 Rest from dead lifts
17 Shoot for a new personal record! You should be able to move your 1RM by at least 10%
Use the same system for all your big lifts when you hit that plateau that you just can’t seem to get over or when you are actually loosing strength.
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