Progression and resistance training.


. Set clear goals in regards to progression and resistance training

. Volume builds endurance and intensity builds power

. Work at your own pace

To make progress with resistance training you first have to establish what you’re trying to achieve. The target and the pace you move at is heavily intertwined because of the work and commitment required. It’s a good idea to ease yourself into your work and lay a foundation first. Try and build for the long haul without attempting a quick fix.

The first thing we will look at is volume and intensity and how to balance those variables. As a general rule, volume in fitness is directed more towards increasing endurance while intensity is geared towards power, strength and explosiveness. How you structure your resistance training program will be determined by what you are trying to accomplish and the balance you’re trying to strike. There are different studies available that outline how different fitness programs have performed.

How to structure your program

This study suggests that ‘high-intensity (3–5 RM), low-volume resistance training program utilizing a long rest interval (3 min) is more advantageous than a moderate intensity, high-volume (10–12 RM) program utilizing a short rest interval (1 min) for stimulating upper body strength gains and muscle hypertrophy in resistance-trained men.’

It goes on to say that ‘These results are consistent with previous comparative studies in resistance-trained individuals showing high-intensity programs were more conducive for increasing strength while producing similar magnitude of muscle hypertrophy.’

To sum up, a high intensity workout is the fastest way to burn fat, lose weight and build strength. But this type of high intensity workout is something you should ease yourself into. It’s not always suitable for those starting out or those susceptible to injury. Ideally, you want to build up to this point by getting experience under your belt before you move into the high intensity phase.

When you feel that your body is strong enough you can start to add weight and add repetitions. You should only do so when you have enough confidence in your own body. As this study states: ‘Progression in resistance training is a dynamic process that requires an exercise prescription process, evaluation of training progress, and careful development of target goals.

Specificity when progressing

The single workout must then be designed reflecting these targeted program goals including the choice of exercises, order of exercise, amount of rest used between sets and exercises, number of repetitions and sets used for each exercise, and the intensity of each exercise.’ They conclude by saying ‘The resistance training program design should be simple at first for untrained individuals but should become more specific with greater variation in the acute program variables during progression.’

So these are the basics of formulating and progressing through a resistance training program. We have talked about why resistance training is important and how you can vary the program but in regards to working through your progressions specificity is possibly the key. You need to clearly define what you want to achieve as you start to meet more challenging goals.


NCBI: The effect of training volume and intensity on improvements in muscular strength and size in resistance-trained men

NCBI: Fundamentals of resistance training: progression and exercise prescription