Training

When I first entered the gym, I asked myself

“How do I work out properly?”

Today I know:

To train properly is to master the basics.

And to do it well. Damn good.

But most athletes only focus on the last 5% and tread water forever.

In this article I will show you 10 essential training wisdoms that are crucial for your success in weight training.

#1 Progression is the key to success

If you seriously want to build up muscles or develop your maximum strength, the training load must increase in the long term [1] – also known as “progressive overload” or “progressive overloading”.

Why?

Because your body adapts to the training. It becomes more efficient and can produce more power with fewer muscle fibers thanks to muscular and neural adaptations [2].

If you move the same load for the same number of repetitions and sets for weeks, fewer and fewer muscle fibers are recruited. The (active) mechanical tension in the muscles decreases and the training stimulus is at some point vanishingly low.

The consequence? You stagnate.

Since it is crucial for strength and muscle build-up that there is a high (active) mechanical tension in the muscles [3,4,5], you must not constantly ride the same load.

You must progressively overload your body.

Progression is the only way to continuously recruit the majority of the muscle fibers of a muscle, to maximize the tension and thus avoid stagnation.

How you achieve progression in training
More sets, more repetitions or more weight: You can achieve progression in many different ways. In the end each method aims at two parameters:

1) intensity or 2) volume.

Increasing intensity (= more weight) helps us to improve the central nervous aspects of maximum strength.

The increase in volume through

more sets
more repetitions
or more weight with the same number of sets and repetitions
primarily builds up muscles [6] and thus helps to improve strength.

Which parameter you tackle depends on your objective. More weight makes you stronger with the muscle mass you have. More volume makes you stronger with more muscle mass.