The most important training principle for success
Have you ever wondered what is the single most important principle of training that you need if you want to see long-lasting results?
Well stay with me I have something for you.
Do you remember the first few months you went to the gym? You seemed to be getting stronger each time you went. The weights would go up and up and the changes to your body were automatic.
But then what happened? You hit a plateau?
But you have no idea how to break it or what to fix.
Maybe you have thought of adding different exercises to your program, a change in the order, mixing up the tempo, rest etc.
Now, these are all useful tools to have a play with but are not the most important factor.
The most important factor for long-term success and gains with training is called progressive overload.
Without progressive overload say goodbye to all future strength and hypertrophy gains.
So what is progressive overload?
It is the continuous addition of a planned stress on the body through training over time to force an adaptive response.
Strength and additional muscle are costly processes to the body – unless we force it to change it will simply remain the same.
We have to induce stress and never be satisfied with adapting to it.
Progressive overload can be achieved through a variety of ways – by varying training volume, intensity, frequency or time.
For the purpose of this blog, we will call training volume sets X reps. By increasing volume by more sets or reps, we increase the stress on the body forcing it to come back bigger and stronger.
Intensity- weight on the bar. By putting more weight/load on the bar we are progressively overloading. We force the body to get stronger or die.
Frequency- the number of times we exercise. By adding frequency, we can increase the stress by training it more often.
And time. If we complete the same workout in less time we are causing a metabolic stress which leads to adaptations.
These are the 4 basic ways one can manipulate training when looking at progressive overload.
So if you are stagnating with your training – be honest with yourself – are you working hard enough to force a change?
Because change doesn’t happen by accident or just showing up. Showing up is step one.
You need to be training hard (and smart) enough to force a result.
I strongly recommend you write down your workouts and where you are at. Write down how you feel, weight used, the time taken - the more detail the better. Take stock and reflect on how you have been performing.
Maybe you need to push yourself harder. Maybe you need to change a variable in your program.
But apply this one principle and you won’t go wrong.
If you have any questions on how to implement this, please don’t hesitate to ask.