What I’m gonna share with you today is nothing new, in fact, I’m copying every single great coach and athlete in history. What I’m stealing is called ‘The Slow Cooker Approach’.
Strength training seems to have a million and one people claiming to be ‘hard gainers’ or that they’ve reached a strength ‘plateau’. Frankly I don’t believe them, and neither should you. People like this will make you second guess your ability to get bigger and stronger, so let them moan, here is how to constantly gain size and strength:
- Start off lighter than you want to
On day one of a training program, take 10-20kg off what you could do as your top set for the day. Go light, feel hungry, you should feel like the first session is a bit of an easy day. What this does is give you ‘room’ to progress, if you slowly add weight each workout it will be weeks until you are lifting a max weight and you will be progressing and getting stronger each week!
Compare this to lifting the heaviest weight you can lift on day one, where do you go from here? Most lifters will get burnt out and frustrated because they haven’t given themselves the ROOM to progress. Start off light and add weight each workout, when the weight gets heavy it will be much more than you could’ve lifted on day one.
Counterintuitive but effective, trust me. (also trust Dan John, Jim Wendler, Mark Rippetoe and other greats….)
- Have a light week every 4th or 5th week
Again, this gives us the room we need to progress. You won’t be able to add 2.5-5kg to the bar each week and expect to become a beast. You must account for the body’s need to recover and to grow in ‘cycles’. Sometimes you will be getting stronger and growing, sometimes you will be tired and need to recover.
Take this into account and use a lighter recovery week, then back off the weights a little and build up again. This is classic progressive overload, but are you doing it?
- Pick a training program and do it for a year
I can sum this point up in three ‘don’ts’: Don’t program hop, don’t hope for fast gains, don’t miss a workout.
Be consistent. Be in it for the long haul and reap the rewards. Getting strong takes time, anyone who tells you otherwise is either on drugs or trying to sell you something (sometimes both!).
If you decide to go your own way and lift however you want to lift without structured weight increases and recovery weeks you may feel happier, but you won’t get to an elite level.
Get your head down and TRAIN. Pick several tough movements and master them over 1-2 years, AT THE VERY LEAST.
Imagine picking up a violin and learning it from scratch for 6 weeks, then picking up a guitar and doing the same for another 6 weeks, then another instrument and another and then complaining that you can’t master any musical instruments?!!
Greatness takes time, get used to it.
As always, I wanna hear your views on training! How do you progress your workouts? Agree, disagree? Let me know!