I was only a young teenager – and very arrogant one when I started training. Who isn’t at that age?
Now that I think about it, I wish I knew a a few things I know now about training. This would have helped me get better gains way quicker. Oh well; hindsight is 20/20 as they say.
With that being said, I believe it is important to talk to you about all the different ways you can make your exercise harder without necessarily increasing the weight. In fact, I am going to give you 9 different ways you can make your weight lifting progressive.
I only wish I had this information when I started training.
Why am I am being so adamant about you listening? Sheesh Tzviki, I get it, right? Just tell me the different ways to progress my workout already!
As I sit here writing this blog it is the beginning of Jan 2016 and I have been out of the gym since August 2015 and it isn’t out of choice. It is because I have been lifting with my ego for too long and time has caught up with me and took its toll on my shoulder, badly.
This has put me out of play for over 4 months.
I truly do miss the gym and can’t wait to go back. Hopefully I will be able to get back into it within the next month or so.
A cleaver man learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns from others mistakes.
Please be the wise man.
Without further ado let’s go:
A rep (short for repetition) is considered lifting a weight from the beginning of the movement all the way to the end of the movement and back to start.
When I first entered the gym world I was taught that I should do my exercise for 10 reps so that’s exactly what I did. I always did 10 reputation of everything.
Although, the number 10 happens to be very optimal for building muscle, changing up the amount of repetitions you do on in an exercise can help you progress your program and it will defiantly help with breaking through a plateau.
One set is considered to be a group of reps done without stopping.
Again, when I start lifting I was told I should do 4 sets of 10 reps. That was the golden rule. ‘You do 4 sets of 10 reps on every exercise you do.’
Although, yes, 4 x 10 is a very good range to work in when trying to build muscle; by sticking to just doing 4 x 10 your missing out on so much potential growth!
The chances of you hitting a plateau are extremely high. Changing up your set range is important for growth.
Tempo is the pace you use when doing the reps.
Unlike sets and reps, this aspect never was talked about when I first started training.
What a shame because believe it or not focusing on different tempos will give you the best growth – more than all the other variables.
Most people in the gym and nearly all of my clients want to lift heavy weights and lift them quick. The first thing I do is tell them to drop the weight, lift a little bit slower and direct their focus on contracting the muscle.
The sweat, the struggle, the work my clients have to do with lighter weight is mind boggling to them.
I would highly recommend that you play around with the tempo a little bit and see for yourself how much harder and how much more it works the muscle by lifting slower.
The rest that I am referring to here is the amount of time you spend between each set. The average time you should be spending is around about 45 sec to 90 sec rest in between each set.
How many people actually keep to their set time?
Less people than they should for sure.
I encourage you to play around with your rest time as well. When your feeling good, cut your resting time to make it less than 45 sec. When your tired rest up for a little bit longer if needed.
Challenging yourself with your rest time is another great way to push yourself the extra mile.
Duration in this case is about how long your workout is going to take on a whole.
When I first started out, my duration of my workout was at the very least an hour, sometimes I would go on for 2 hours! Truth is, I didn’t have much to do…
Nowadays the longest I am in the gym is a hour and I sometimes mange to get my workout down to 30 min.
With that in mind, I have grown more recently than I did ever before.
If you love to spend hours in the gym then you have no problem! Still, try doing the same amount of work in less time; see how that makes you feel and measure the growth difference.
Intensity refers to how much weight you are lifting.
No matter how appealing it is to throw on another 45 plate, jumping into such an increment is dangerous and will get you hurt.
The 2 ½ plates should be your best friends. In fact if the gym has a smaller plate than 2 1/2, use them.
Just remember eight 2 ½ plates makes for twenty. You get yourself closer to putting that nice 45 plate on but you are doing it in a sensible way. This way you prevent possible injury putting you out of training for a long period of time.
Trade on how you increase your weight with caution.
Volume is the amount of work you do in a given session.
The big mistake I see people do is do a lot of work on small muscle that doesn’t need as much work and don’t do enough when it comes to the bigger muscles that need more volume.
If your not seeing the growth you want or you have been doing the same amount of exercise for a long period of time, think about changing up how much work you do per workout.
Exercise selection is exactly what it sounds like. The exercise you chose to do in your workout.
In the beginning of my gym days I would be doing the same routine every week. It worked fine because after all, I was still new to the gym.
Further into my workouts I would mess around with the order so the exercise I did first the last week would be done second and so on and so forth.
After diving into the exercise world and understanding the ins & outs, I learned firsthand how important exercise selection is.
In order to get the most benefit you want to make sure you challenge your muscles through a full range of motion. Unfortunately I can’t dive deep into this as it would take a whole book or more to truly explain all the benefits that come with this.
The important thing to note is to change up your exercise selection so you get the best results.
Is the amount of times you train a specific muscle group.
Many people have some sort of split, depending on how often they can make it to the gym. Majority of us don’t like to deviate from the split and focus on training each muscle group roughy about once per week.
If you’ve notice a weaker muscle group that you want to make stronger try and train that muscle 2 to 3 times a week.
What about the other muscles?
Generally, people have a stronger body parts and weaker body parts. Therefore its important to note the difference in your body and ease off a little bit from the stronger muscle for awhile so you can build up the weaker muscles.
You must know that all 9 variables mentioned above work together as a single unit.
Although you can change one variable at a time, as a whole, they will all really change simultaneously as a whole.
Just to give you an example, the sets have a direct relationship with reps (the more reps the less sets). The amount of weight you do has a direct relationship with the reps you do (the more weight the less reps). The amount of weight you do has a direct relationship on the rest time (the heavier the weight the more rest time you need).
You see how they are all connected and therefore need to be changed in a systematic way?
If you found this blog useful please share it with your gym buddies so they too can get the results they want