A simple framework for long-term training progress
written by Philip Stefanov | MARCH 30, 2021
Let’s face it:
Training can be complicated at times. Between the many options, progression schemes, and worries about putting together effective workouts, it’s easy to feel frustrated. But going back to the fundamentals and listening to your body will always be two valuable tools in your arsenal.
Long-term progress in the gym is something we all want. After all, why train if we can’t improve, right? But there is a problem:
Pulling it off is easier said than done. Despite our best efforts, we all suffer periods of stagnation and can’t help but wonder, “What am I doing wrong?”
What I’ve learned over the years is that you might not necessarily be doing something wrong. Instead, your mistake might be that you’re doing the right things, but on a small scale.
So what does this mean? You might have a good foundation for a training program, one that adheres to the core principles of effective training. But if you’re not doing enough work, you won’t see the progress you hope for. You might progress more slowly or stagnate.
This brings me to the essential message of this email:
The most reliable way to achieve better results is to do more work. This applies to strength training and life. We reap what we sow. So, if you’re not making good progress despite a seemingly solid training program and you don’t feel run down, do more work. Some examples include:
- Weekly workouts - can you add another workout into your schedule?
- Sets - can you add a few extra working sets to some of the exercises you’re already doing?
- Exercises - can you add an extra movement for the major muscle groups in your body?
- Frequency - can you train your muscles a bit more frequently each week
- Effort - can you train a bit harder?
In contrast, you might be stagnating but also feeling run down. You can’t sleep well, your appetite is down, your warm-ups feel extra challenging, and you don’t have much motivation to train anymore.
In this case, you might benefit more from taking it easy for a week or two. For example, have a deload or recovery week and get back to training when you feel more recovered.
Regardless of your training, adhering to these simple principles will always help you get the most out of your training.
Thank you for your time! Until next week,
P.S. You can read more about training for muscle gain here and about deload weeks here.
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