Progression For Weight Training – Continued Gains!
Hey everyone! Welcome to another Full Affect Fitness article! Today’s topic is going to be all about progression for weight training! We will be looking at this from the standpoint of progressing as a beginner to intermediate to an advanced weight lifter!
I will be breaking this article down into 3 sections describing what training and progression may look like during each general stage in one’s training career. This will allow you to see the difference between experience levels and how progression develops as one becomes more experienced with training!
As a beginner trainer, the focus should always be on technique, however, this is with any type of training you are doing. The difference with focusing on technique as a beginner trainee is that working on technique basically is your training for the first little while. Once you have technique down, then we go into our standard progression methods.
These basic progression methods include increasing the number of sets, reps or weight you are using from a session to session/week to week basis. The goal with this should be to lay a solid foundation of strength, while getting a feel for the training stress you are putting on your body, how your body responds to this and what your body prefers.
All in all, when starting out as a beginner lifter, your focus should be on mastering technique (specifically with the main compound lifts in most scenarios). From there, laying a solid foundation of strength that you are continually building from helps lay your overall training foundation for later years of training. Let’s talk more about these later years of training below!
Intermediate training is all about focusing your training for enough time. This will allow you to emphasize a certain style of training so you can see better progress. This is highly beneficial as progress does not come as easy when you become more experienced with your training. The other thing to consider as an intermediate lifter is the basic theme of progression used as a beginner may not work as well when you are a more experienced lifter. Let’s talk more about these ideas below!
As you gain experience, your body is more used to the training stimulus and styles you are placing on it. This means in order to continue seeing optimal results, focusing on a style of training may be beneficial so your body can get better at that style of training, which generally has great carry over to other styles of training. Consider maintaining your other training styles while focusing on one. I am currently rotating strength, hypertrophy and power programs to ensure I am gaining in all aspects of training!
As for my other point, progressively increasing sets, reps or weight may not work as well for an intermediate lifter compared to a beginner lifter. This is because as your body gains size and strength, it becomes more difficult to progress. Eventually, these basic themes of progression may no longer do the trick by themselves. Implementing things like pause reps, slow eccentrics and manipulating other aspects of your training may be highly beneficial. I would still suggest focusing your progression on the basics as these will still be your main drivers of progression.
These guidelines aren’t the case for everyone, however, this is generally how it goes.
When we are an advanced trainee, we have a significant amount of training experience. This means that our body is highly accustomed to training stimulus, which automatically makes gains harder to achieve and in fewer amounts. As we progress in training, we need to put in more work to achieve fewer gains.
The main thing with an advanced trainee is ensuring you are focusing adequately on your goals to ensure you are giving your body enough reason to respond. You need to be putting in enough effort and training specialization (towards your goal) to achieve further progress. I would also suggest not having super high expectations, as the amount of progress you achieve as an advanced trainee will be minimal in most scenarios.
As far as your actual training goes, there are certain implementations you can use to help keep progress moving. These would be things such as manipulating training variables, using bands/chains or just adding in other variety that your body isn’t used too. Like all training, progressive overload still needs to be at the forefront. This is especially true the more advanced of a trainee you become!
I say these guidelines assuming your goal is to continue progress, and you are not just training to maintain your current level of progress.
All in all, after reading this article you know the progression in one’s training starts with proper technique and laying a foundation of strength. From there, the emphasis should be on ensuring you are focusing enough on specific styles of training to continue progress. As you become more advanced, focusing on specific training styles and ensuring you are giving your body a reason to adapt becomes increasingly important.
The main thing I want you to take away from this article is this: “The more advanced of a trainee you become, the more work you need to put in, with the expectation to see fewer results”. I thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and as always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!
Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.
Excellent article and so very true!
When I was a beginner, I had times when I strayed from concentrating on my technique. And invariably, would come back and haunt me. Without focusing on technique, you will not get as much out of the exercise as you could. And of course, you could hurt yourself.
I’m looking forward to moving on to intermediate training, and focusing on the style of training.
Hi Wayne, no problem! Technique certainly needs to be at the forefront! Good luck with training!
Hi Kohl, thank you so much for explaining the difference between beginner, intermediate and advanced training. Even though I didn’t do weight lifting by myself (my husband did!), I can totally relate how the beginners should focus on mastering the technique first. I remember my husband always telling me and my son to do the basic exercise correctly. Only then, he allowed us to do more (as in increasing the number of reps and so on).
One thing that I’m still not clear about intermediate training. You mentioned that basic theme of progression wouldn’t work well anymore and we should focus on one type of training. Does it mean that, say… if we are used to do 5 types of training 5 reps each, then once we reached intermediate level, we need to focus on one (and do more reps / or heavier weight with this), and maintain the number of reps / weights for the remaining 4?
Hi Rina, thanks for checking out the article! What I meant by the intermediate portion of the article you are talking about is oftentimes as one becomes more experienced, basic themes of progression don’t work AS well anymore. So focussing your time towards one style of training can be beneficial to continue progressing optimally. An example of this would be focussing on gaining strength while putting gaining muscle on maintenance.
Thanks for sharing such an important and amazing post with us about the progression for weight training. You have shared the difference between experience levels and how progression develops as one becomes more experienced with training. By reading your post it is very clear to me that as a beginner trainer, the focus should always be on technique, however, this is with any type of training we are doing..
Thanks again. I’ll definitely share this post with my friends and family.
Hi Monalisha, I am so glad you enjoyed the article! Sharing would be very much appreciated! Take care!
I like how you have made working out so structured. Personally, I’m somewhere between beginner and intermediate. And the main pitfall I found for beginner training is people usually try to go for heavier weights and more reps too soon, instead of working on technique. This can be a real setback to your training. This is really helpful and I wish I had read a similar post sooner!
Hi Joe, I am so glad you found this information helpful! Best of luck with your training!