Heres how the term progress fits into training.
By keeping a logbook you can ensure that you are always better than you were the previous session. Based on the data you collect, you can determine what needs to be done to progress in the current session. Walk on the gym floor knowing exactly what exercises you have to do, down to the weight, sets and a minimum number of reps.
We are looking for a steady rate of progression.
Even the smallest step forward is still a step forward!
You aren’t going to tear yourself apart as you are raising the bar for yourself at a reasonable rate. Every session you progress because you ask it of yourself. If you demand huge strength leaps session by session - you will be disappointed/missing the point.
Remember - your body is an adaptation machine. Adaptation is a steady process, it can’t/shouldn’t be rushed!
The best short term goal is to be better than you were the previous session.
How can you do this?
- Increase the weight by a minimum of 1kg.
- Increase the number of repetitions you can perform with a given weight by a minimum of 1.
- Increase the speed you complete a given task by the minimum of 1 second.
- Increase the amount of reps/rounds you complete in a given time period by a minimum of 1.
YOU SHOULD ATTEMPT TO PROGRESS ON EVERY SET OF EVERY EXERCISE
Even with stretches or exercise that don't include additional weight. Focus on better movement quality or an increased range of motion. It may be less measurable, but the effort will yield far greater results.
IF YOU ARE NOT PROGRESSING ON AN EXERCISE BE SURE TO INFORM YOUR COACH
Lets take an exercise and look at the numbers we could expect to log over the course of 4 sessions with 2 sets per session. Set 1 has a target rep range of 8-12 reps and set 2 has a target rep range of 15+ reps.
Ultimately, the short term goal is to increase the Cumulative weight lifted each session. This is done, by increasing the reps or weight
Its worth pointing out that the cumulative weight may not increase (as seen in session 3). This is okay for a couple of reasons.
- In set 1 of session, though the reps went down, the weight was increased and still within the target weight range - this is still considered progress and is successful.
- While every set may be achieve progress, the cumulative weight wont always follow a pretty and consistent progress. It will have ups and the occasional down, this is okay provided that the trend line points upwards!