How to Progress in Your Weight Training Like a Pro
You did it! You finished one of the Jessie’s Girls programs from start to finish. I’m so proud of you! A lot of women ask me, “Jessie – what do I do next? How do I continue to progress in my training AFTER a Jessie’s Girls Program?” Let’s talk about that: progression. Here are some tips to get you training like a pro!
Let’s Start with the Basics of Training
The body works on three basic principles in order to see muscle growth. The first is adaptation which simply means that your body adapts over time to specific workouts. For example, if you do three sets of 12 reps at the same weight for 12 weeks, your body will become conditioned to that workout and will stop progressing after time. The second principle is overload. This means overloading the body in order to see progress. For example, increase the weight during a particular exercise to see growth. This brings us to our last principle of progression. Progression simply means you must gradually and consistently increase your workload in order for improvement to continue.
After finishing one of the Jessie’s Girls programs, your body has adapted to new kind of muscle stimulus during each three to four week phase. You have gone through the overload phase over the course of the 12 week program. This is where we changed up our rep ranges, increased our sets, increasing our weight each week and perhaps even decreasing your rest time. You have seen progress during those 12 weeks following the plan, so how do you keep that going beyond the Jessie’s Girls Training Program.
Progression can happen by increasing your time, frequency or intensity of workouts or combination of the three. The key is staying consistent over time. For your muscles to see growth, they must be put under stress to see those amazing gains. Progression can be achieved by mixing up your training stimulus and by continuing to push and challenge yourself.
How to Progress in Your Weight Training
1. Increase/Decrease sets: You can increase sets alone keeping the same weight and reps, or you can even decrease sets and increase the weight and reps.
2. Changing up your rep range: If you are looking to gain muscle strength, you want to stay in the 1-6 rep range. If your goal is to increase muscle growth, 8-15 reps is my preferred muscle building range. If you are looking to improve muscular performance/endurance, you would be in the 18-20 rep range (although you can go as high as 30-50 reps).
3. Increase your weight: For adding weight, you want to use this formula. If you are lifting under 50 pounds, you increase by 25 percent each week. If you are lifting over 50 pounds, you increase by 15 percent each week. This is just a general guide, make sure to listen to your body and it’s OK if you’re not ready to make these increases while keeping perfect form.
4. Varied Rest periods: progression can be in the form of rest periods, too! If you’re not ready to increase your weight, look at your notes from the previous workout and make your rest periods shorter this time. Even completing an entire week with the same weight, sets and reps, you will still have progressed, if you cut all of your rest periods by 15 seconds.
5. Varied Exercise selection: switching up your exercise selection every 3-4 weeks is a great way to keep your body guessing and ensures you don’t get bored with your workouts.
Let’s Put it to Work
Week one would focus on growth, completing four sets of 8-15 reps; week two would focus on strength, doing four sets of 3-6 reps; week three would focus on conditioning, doing 2-3 sets of 15+ reps. Keep all of your exercises the same throughout weeks 1-3, track them, monitor your progression and know how to move on and progress the next week. Your programming needs to include ALL of the above in order to transform, avoid plateaus, hit all systems of the body and create a well-rounded, amazing physique.
Strategies For Staying Consistent
1. Have a plan – write out your plan for at least a month or more, having it laid out by week. Having a written plan makes it easier to stay on track with your goals. For month two, you use all of your training notes from the first month and try to add or progress on top of everything you’ve accomplished. Remember: Fail to plan = plan to fail.
2. Keep a journal – write down your workouts, weight, reps, rest periods, and time to complete so you can track your progress. Having a visual reminder of your journey is extremely helpful in staying consistent.
3. Making sure your nutrition stays on point – this is a crucial component to continued progress.
4. Making time for your exercise program – schedule it in every day. Make it a habit. This is your ME time.
5. It gets easier over time. Your workout time will be set to “auto pilot,” it will just be a regular part of your life/day!
6. Remember, this is a lifestyle…not a race.
Building beautiful muscle is more than just an aesthetic endeavor. Muscle is extremely important for your overall health. Building muscle is especially important as we age and muscle tissue naturally starts to diminish. Muscle mass helps rev up your metabolism to keep you burning calories all day long, it increases your strength in everyday life, it increases bone density (which is very important as we age), it helps joint support, it cuts your risk of injury, it increases stamina to complete daily tasks, it improves posture, and lastly, muscle increases your confidence and self-esteem.
I’m proud of you for making fitness a part of your lifestyle and for taking your training to the next level. Click here for more information on your next Jessie’s Girls Training Program!