Elements of Progression.
Progression in the weight room is not solely based on external loading (i.e. how much absolute weight lifted). Progress can be accomplished in various ways in order to improve performance, movement options, fitness, experience, and may even assist in external loading abilities.
Here are some valuable elements of client/athlete progress:
- Accumulation of volume is one of the key components to improving qualities of fitness. Increasing the number repetitions and/or sets throughout a training program is fundamental to progress.
- Progress through various positions (i.e. 1/2 kneeling, tall kneeling, etc.) and expose to positions that the body struggles to achieve (i.e. if client lacks hip extension, progress through positions that challenge hip extension, then you can challenge those positions under loading).
- Progress through coaching cues. Simplicity is king but an element of progression can be attention to detail or changes in the focus on attention. For example, the first couple weeks teaching a split squat can be focused on heel contact on the ground then can progress to hip shifting or alternating arm reaching as a variation. Use simplicity in exercise selection and language then progress with detail and variations for increased complexity.
- Progress through intent of speed. Start with static positions and isometric holds then progress with dynamic activities then progress with the intent to move with speed. External feedback will assist with this such as velocity tracking technology (Tendo, GymAware) or Keiser equipment. When doing deceleration, acceleration, or change of direction drills (especially with clients with low sport or training history) progress with the intent to move faster (motivate).
- Progress with adding different planes of motion as a variation to exercises. This could involve hip shifting (frontal plane), contralateral reaching/punching/rotation (transverse plane), or changing the placement of the load within exercises.
The purpose of having regressions and progression lists are to be able to guide decision making and have a aim based on current abilities, standards, and future goals. Progression is focused on long term access to the movement being required and challenging positions, movement, movement under load, and the strategy being used throughout the movement (i.e. muscles used during movement and loading).
Overall progress can be the improvement of performance. The ultimate goal for athletes is on-field improvement (not solely weight room improvement). Athletes are categorized as people who are participating in weight room activities to make changes towards sport/on-field activities. If absolute load lifted in weight room sessions is the sole measure of progression it may negatively impact overall performance. Overall progress for general population clients (low sport or training history) can be improved performance, fitness, quality of life, reduction in pain, and achieving intensities or volumes that previously were a challenge. You have many tools in your tool box, use them for long term progress and sustainability.
Programming and progression will be discussed further at the workshop Lucy Hendricks and I will be hosting September 2019. For more information, see below.
Location: Hype Gym, NYC
Date/Time: Sunday, September 29th 2019. 9:00am-4:30pm (lunch 12:00pm-1:00pm)
CLICK HERE for the event’s page.