Do this to get strong
Last week we talked about how what gets measured gets managed,
And this week, we wanted to expand on one of those concepts…
Tracking your weights in the gym.
This may be the most important thing when it comes to getting stronger,
And more explosive.
The reason behind this is the principle of progressive overload.
Where an extra rep here,
An extra rep there,
Five extra pounds on the bar here,
And five extra pounds there
Adds up to substantial improvements over time.
It is the consistent,
Life-long application of this principle that leads to long-term progress…
The best kind of progress.
And when you combine this principle with picture-perfect,
You create a recipe for long-term success.
There is an old tale about Milos of Croton.
Milos had a calf that he carried into town every day.
Over time that calf grew into a bull,
But the increases in the calf’s weight were so small,
That Milos was able to adapt as well.
So, not only did the bull grow,
So too did it’s owner’s strength and size.
The slow process of the bull growing larger,
And the person carrying the bull getting stronger, as a result, is the very essence of the progressive overload principle.
Where you challenge yourself just a little more than your current ability
And you do that progressively over time.
Picture perfect, pristine, crisp reps
Now, this can get out of hand if you start pushing more weight at the expense of your form.
That’s why you need to keep the form crisp.
By crisp, we mean:
Lowering the weight in 2-4 seconds,
Holding and owning the bottom position,
Squeezing the weight on the way up,
Keeping your glutes engaged,
Keeping your core engaged,
Focusing on the muscles you’re working,
Focusing on stacking the joints,
And focusing on perfect posture and smooth execution.
Mastery and excellence are still essential when applying progressive overload.
The only way to know your numbers is to track them,
It’s tough to increase incrementally when you don’t know the weight or number of reps you did last time.
That’s why a workout log is essential to this process.
Again, this could be as simple as writing out the name of the exercise and the weight and reps you did for each set,
And how you felt at the end of the workout.
It doesn’t need to be complicated.
The villain of the story
Progressive overload doesn’t rule the roost when it comes to making gainz.
There is a villain in the story,
The joker to progressive overload’s Batman…
And its name is “The ceiling principle”.
Also known as “The principle of diminishing returns”.
As awesome as it would be,
It just doesn’t ring true that everyone who applies the principle of progressive overload will continue to progress in a linear fashion upward and to the right forever.
That would mean that I should be squatting a metric ton by now…
And that’s just not true.
There will be ebbs and flows,
Peaks and valleys,
And up and downs.
Plus, the more fit and strong you get,
The harder it gets to get stronger.
It’s just the way it is.
At the beginning,
It’s easy to add strength.
We call this the honeymoon phase.
But, over time things get more difficult,
And it’s not quite so easy as you get closer you get to your ceiling.
But, it’s not all for naught.
It’s likely that by the time you start to experience the law of diminishing returns,
You will have fallen in love with the process,
Mastering your technique,
And being around others that love to train as well.
Then chasing higher numbers becomes a fun by-product of training.
So, enjoy the honeymoon period of getting stronger,
And then when you get closer to your ceiling,
Enjoy the challenge of having to really work for those improvements 🙂
Strength is a foundational quality that much of the other fitness qualities are based on.
More strength allows you to have more lean muscle,
More strength allows you to be more explosive and athletic,
More strength allows you to do stuff in real life,
Like picking up kids and getting up off the floor.
So, track your weights and reps in the gym,
Do a little more over time,
And live that strong life.