I've been getting some questions on how to use progression, so I thought I'd lay a simple plan out for you guys. We will look at the 3 x 5 squat for example...
You want to start with a very light weight. The first cycle will have you figure out what your 3 x 5 max weight is. Let's say you squat on Mondays. The first Monday you would do a 3 x 5 squat with 100 lbs (adjust according to your strength). The next Monday you would add 10 lbs, you'll be using 110 lbs for the 3 x 5. Keep adding 10 lbs every single Monday until you fail to get all 3 x 5. This is your starting max weight for 3 x 5 squats, let's just assume it was 200 lbs. That took you 10 weeks to get there.
Now you are ready for your second cycle. You want the cycle to be around 12 weeks long, so count backwards to find your new starting weight. Your goal is to be at your 3 x 5 max weight at around week 8 and breaking PRs after that. This is what it will look like:
Week 1: 130 lbs.
Week 2: 140 lbs.
Week 3: 150 lbs.
Week 4: 160 lbs.
Week 5: 170 lbs.
Week 6: 180 lbs
Week 7: 190 lbs
Week 8: 200 lbs
Week 9: 210 lbs (new PR)
Week 10: 215 lbs
Week 11: 220 lbs
Week 12: 225 lbs
You can see how the progression gets smaller as you enter new PR territory. Once you get to the new poundage, you want to milk it. You could even stretch the cycle out several more weeks by adding as little as a pound.
This is a very simple progression scheme, easy to set up, and a nice way to track progress.
Thanks for the info. It's helpful to understand stuff like this.
Age: 20, Height: 5'7", Weight: 165, Deadlift: 405, 9.5" Squat: 230 x 10, Bench: 195 (3x5)
Originally Posted by fatrb38
This is good since it is something most people tend to overlook. Everyone lists exercises and sets and reps, but many fail to have a progress plan. A progession plan is more important than your sets and reps really. I also like how you started everything light and worked up from there. Many new trainees don't realize that you can't start a progression like this with your absolute max at that particular rep range.
Exactly. The guys contacting me all want to start too heavy. They wonder why their cycles only last a couple of weeks and they can't increase their PRs. The simple answer is that they didn't build any momentum.