When you start resistance training, the reality is that you don’t need to do anything complicated. It should be a simple workout that you can consistently perform three times per week, which will be key to your goal of fat loss and changing your body shape.
However, there will come a time when you may want to progress things further. This could be down to a number of reasons, such as accelerating the process, adding variety to reduce boredom, or bringing in more muscle groups to train.
Whatever your reason, progressing your training is a good idea but it should be done at the right time and in line with what you are looking to achieve. So, how can you progress things in the gym?
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their training is not placing enough emphasis on technique. As a result, progress with your body shape can stagnate, and you can put yourself at a much higher risk of gaining a serious injury, particularly on the heavier, more demanding lifts. So, look at maximising what you can get out of each exercise by improving your execution. This will be key to your overall progress and safety when training.
Lift More Weight
Once you have learned how to execute exercises perfectly, you should then focus on gradually increasing the weight you are lifting. To gain muscle and lose body fat, you need to make sure that you are consistently overloading the muscle(s), week by week so that it is working harder, meaning that the breaking down is more intense during the session and therefore new muscle tissue is being developed during the eating and recovery phases. Lifting heavier will also increase your energy output due to the higher effort required, leading to a higher chance of fat loss.
Progress To More Demanding Exercises
For each exercise you do in your sessions, you should look for progression to more challenging exercises which target multiple muscle groups, increase strength and burn more calories. These are called compound movements, and they provide immense value when performed and progressed correctly. However, these exercises should only start to be performed when you have built muscle, strength, and stability in key areas of your body, such as your legs (quads, glutes, hamstrings), shoulders, arms and back.
Change Your Split
Another great way of progressing your training is through changing your workout split. For example, you may want to change from three full body sessions per week to an upper body, lower body, full body routine to add variety and work different muscle groups. What you change to will depend on the number of sessions you do per week and your experience. However, be careful of making changes for changes sake, especially in the early days – if your current routine is working, there is no reason why you can’t continue with it.
When it comes to your training sessions, you need to make sure that the quality is going up each week. To do this, you should be taking shorter rest periods, prioritising perfect exercise execution, performing each repetition with slow tempo and making sure you are hitting the targeted muscle group. This is not only going to increase your energy output, but also give you the best chance of building muscle.
So, there are several ways in which you can progress your resistance training programme, such as mastering exercise execution, lifting more weight, progressing to more demanding exercises, changing your split, and increasing intensity.
All of these changes can make a huge difference to the quality of your sessions, how much you enjoy the process and the result you achieve at the end of your journey.
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