T Nation

Trouble With Progression

Its one of the cornerstones of training ( perhaps key amongst them )but I just cant seem to get a handle on progression. If I try to progress by lifting a little more weight each session my reps tend to go down. If I try to progress by upping the reps to reach a rep target before upping the weight my reps stall!!

Today in the gym I ended up doing far fewer reps with a weight that was only a couple of pounds heavier than last time out. I am a bit pissed off.

BTW my main problem seems to be progression in the lifts that I set out to reach around the eight to ten rep mark. I can sort of get through sessions where my rep range is in the three to five reps per set range.

Try a standard 5x5. If the weight is spot on or a tad light, you’ll get 25 reps. If you do, add 2.5’s next week or buy some 1.25lb PlateMates.

When you add weight, you may/should find yourself getting 22 or so total reps. Stay with that weight until you get all 25 reps before you add again.

[quote]derek wrote:
Try a standard 5x5. If the weight is spot on or a tad light, you’ll get 25 reps. If you do, add 2.5’s next week or buy some 1.25lb PlateMates.

When you add weight, you may/should find yourself getting 22 or so total reps. Stay with that weight until you get all 25 reps before you add again.[/quote]

Cheers Derek. I currently use a programme of varying rep ranges per session. Two exercises of 10 x 3 two exercises of 4 x 6 and two of 3 x 10 ( plus the odd one set to failure if I feel up to it ). If I get the gist of your post right are you saying that maybe I am a little fixated on reaching a rep total in a prescribed number of sets and should maybe just go out and try to shoot for the prescribed rep range but in however number of sets that may take?

What he’s saying (I believe) is that you go for 5 sets of 5 reps each, for a total of 25 reps. With me so far? Let’s say you bench 175 for 5 sets, each set being 5 reps. Next bench session, you bench 180, and shoot for 5 sets of 5 reps each again. If you succeed again, continue adding until, say, you only get 4 reps on the last 2 sets. The session after, you would use the same weight, and simply try again to get all 5 sets of 5 reps, and keep trying until you get them, then add another 5 lbs next week. Got it?

[quote]hungry4more wrote:
What he’s saying (I believe) is that you go for 5 sets of 5 reps each, for a total of 25 reps. With me so far? Let’s say you bench 175 for 5 sets, each set being 5 reps. Next bench session, you bench 180, and shoot for 5 sets of 5 reps each again. If you succeed again, continue adding until, say, you only get 4 reps on the last 2 sets. The session after, you would use the same weight, and simply try again to get all 5 sets of 5 reps, and keep trying until you get them, then add another 5 lbs next week. Got it?[/quote]

Exactly!

(and Holy $#!T on the avatar!)

The 5x5 is very repeatable with very few variables. If you can’t slowly progress each week, I’d have to address your diet or other external variables.

[quote]steven alex wrote:
Its one of the cornerstones of training ( perhaps key amongst them )but I just cant seem to get a handle on progression. If I try to progress by lifting a little more weight each session my reps tend to go down. If I try to progress by upping the reps to reach a rep target before upping the weight my reps stall!!

Today in the gym I ended up doing far fewer reps with a weight that was only a couple of pounds heavier than last time out. I am a bit pissed off.

BTW my main problem seems to be progression in the lifts that I set out to reach around the eight to ten rep mark. I can sort of get through sessions where my rep range is in the three to five reps per set range.[/quote]

Pick a range (say so 8-12.) Pick a weight that you can lift 8 times, once you can do it for 12 reps for 3 or 4 sets, then increase weight