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Strength training shouldn't be complicated

The Internet is a double edged sword.

On one side you have access to information like never before, on the other is access to disinformation like never before.

So while clients coming in for training are often much more aware of training than in previous years, there's still a lot of confusion as people struggle to apply all that information, or sort the good / relevant info from the bad / irrelevant information.

One tripping point is how to progress.

Do you use linear periodisation?

Do you workout percentages?

Do you switch up to keep the muscles guessing?

And so on..

Well, outside of the more advanced trainees or the highly competitive athletes, non of that is particularly useful.

Most people simply need to the big lifts with the best possible form.

Follow the Push-Pull-Hinge-Squat formula and you'll be right.

Then to progress we simply pick one of the following methods:

1: Add a rep or two per set each week

This is my preferred for most people most of the time.

For example, if I say to do Squats for 8-12 reps for 3 sets, then you simply find a weight that allows you do 3 sets of 8 fairly comfortably.

Next time you repeat the session, try to get 9 reps, the 10.

When you hit 12 reps in all sets, increase the load and start over at 8reps.

It's simple and almost impossible to get wrong.

2: Add a set

Maybe we're working a specific rep range for a specific reason.

It could be sets of 3 reps on a power clean for example.

Well, start with 3 sets, next week do 4, and so on to whatever maximum you have decided, maybe 10 sets.

Then up the weight and start over.

3: Add some weight

So you like 5 sets of 5, great.

Just make sure next week you add a tiny bit of weight.

Start out with an easy weight, maybe as easy as your 10 rep max, this gives you a "run up " where you can add weight week in week out, as long the increments are small enough, until almost without noticing, you've blasted through your old 5rm numbers

4: Reduce your rest period

Use the same weight, for the same reps and the same number of sets.

Just complete all sets in less time.

Go from 2 minute rests, to 90 seconds, to 60 seconds and so on.

When you can't reduce any further, start over with more load.

5: Change speed of movement

Depending on your goal, you may want to complete each rep quicker or slower.

Maybe you slow the eccentric

Maybe you add a pause at the sticking point

Speed kills, but it can be worth the pain.

Pick one variable, only one.

Make a small change to that variable

When it's no longer working, swap to one of the other variables


Not easy

And for most people most of the time this is all you need to do.

Pick a lift, pick the variable to play with and stick with it.


Dave Hedges

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