Progressions: 3 Simple Methods.
Progressions: 3 Simple Methods
At our fit camps we regularly mention to specific members, XXX you can pulse at the bottom of the lunge.
Some members give us strange looks, but once they are drenched in sweat, they understand why.
We have progressed them with a small tweak of an exercise.
Progressions are important to bring into your training from time to time.
If you are finding an exercise or workout too easy, you need to progress yourself.
We normally give simple body weight progressions (which I will explain later) to our fit camp clients, but remember that progressions do not only apply to body weight exercises.
Adding weight or increasing speed/timings to already loaded exercise counts as progression too.
But to start, lets look at the three easiest methods of progressing exercises.
No. 1 The Pulse.
The pulse is a very simple movement requiring very little thought and no other equipment.
Its a simple little half rep at the bottom of a movement.
This makes the exercise harder because it increases the time under tension for the muscles during (normally) the weakest part of the exercise.
Lets look at the squat.
When performing a squat, at the lowest point of your squat (however low you go is up to you), you will start to return all the way to the beginning position. Rather then return to this position, only go halfway up and back to the lowest point. Hence, creating a pulse mid squat.
No. 2 Add Load.
Adding load to almost any exercise makes it more difficult to perform straight away.
When people mention adding ‘load’ unfortunately everyone automatically assumes a barbell or dumbbells.
However, if you’re a home work junkie or a get out doors in the park lover there are simple ways of adding load.
For those who lack almost all equipment use bigger water bottles or multiple. 1 litre = 1 Kg so you can scale the ‘load’ you use as well.
For those who like slightly different training styles, beer kegs or water coolers are great to use as well.
Your partner can also help add load to exercises. It sounds easy , but next time your doing an exercise , get your partner to simply place their hands on your back. You’ll feel the difference!
The lunge is an exercise we can add load to.
By simply holding something (full shopping bags, full waterbottles, kegs and anything with a handle!) in each hand, or in front of your chest, your muscles will be required to produce more force to allow yourself to come back to your original position. Making it harder.
I would suggest starting with shopping bags and big water bottles (remember the liter to kilo rule!) and progress yourself as you see fit.
No.3 Make it Explosive.
When I mean explosive , It can simply be adding a little jump or a lots of big jumps. The height and frequency of jumps is completely up to you and where you are in terms of progression.
By adding a small jump, your muscles are asked to create lots of force quickly.
Not only do I mean adding jumps. But you can use the ‘drop’ method. By simply dropping from the starting position to the bottom position, hence catching yourself.
This requires your muscles to explosively fire together in order to catch yourself.
We can apply explosive progressions to push ups.
Now most of you will jump straight to the classic ‘clap’ push ups. However, you don’t have to go straight to the clap. Performing your normal push up with just a small jump will progress as well and is the one to go for if you find clap push ups tough.
However, before the small jumps you can also perform the ‘catch’ variation. Simple let yourself drop to the lowest point of your push up and catch yourself (before you break your nose on the floor!) and return to original position as quick as possible
So if you’re finding that body weight exercises are getting to easy. Apply these and you’ll find that your back to the sweating and burning in no time!
p.s A quick note. There are plenty more other methods of progressing exercises. I chose these ones as these are the ones we employ the most and, what I believe, to be the easiest to use.