Welcome to the new weekly blog series that will be written by me, Sean-Paul MacKenzie, the Warwick Barbell Strength Coach. In this blog I will cover a variety of training, nutrition and lifestyle tips for people looking to get bigger, stronger, and faster to improve themselves in the simplest form.
This week I will talk about the importance of progression, a basic but often overlooked training concept. As a beginner it is easy to see improvements in strength, size, as well as other goals but as this begins to slow far too often people fail to see progress as they stop increasing the amount of weight that they are moving. Progress does not necessarily mean failing to lift heavier weights each and every session until you can, but instead be achieved by adding an extra rep or set, as well as moving the weights faster or having more time under tension. Without providing your body with sufficient stimulus to change it will have no reason to grow. This simple idea of not focusing solely on weight accumulation will underpin any good program and in itself should be enough for most lifters for a significant portion of their training career. It is not until one reaches an intermediate to advanced level and linear progress stops that there should be any added complexities. Understanding this will allow anyone, given the right circumstances, to greatly improve physically towards any goal.
For me, rehabbing from yet another injury has meant that my programming hasn't required a great deal of intricacy. Recently I have been able to increase strength in an almost linear fashion, as I recover, meaning that every session I have been able to add either a little bit of weight or an extra rep. Given that my body weight is staying consistent, this is a sign that my programming is going to plan and that nothing currently needs changing. As I am approaching the numbers that I was hitting 3 months ago, prior to the injury, I cannot see this phase lasting too much longer and expect that linear progression will come to a stand-still – meaning that my programming will have to be altered. In terms of my injury it has become very evident to me that mobility, flexibility and recovery are even more important factors than I had previously thought. For this reason, I have been trying to do a bit of yoga or foam rolling every day, particularly to keep my posterior chain healthy, considering the amount of abuse it gets from a combination of low bar squats and deadlifts. I cannot stress enough the importance of these rehab/prehab routines, knowing what I know now for both injury prevention and maximum performance. This is particularly the case for anybody with hopes of competing.