I had an interesting conversation with a client this morning. Part way through her workout, she asked me how much weight was she using. After telling her how much was there, she asked how much she used last time we did this exercise. To her surprise she had only gone up 10 lbs but it felt like much more. I reassured her that she could do it and that I was there to help if need be. Her response was what surprised me most; “No wonder I never made any progress on my own. I never changed the weight.”
This is a very common mistake that most people make when they design their own workouts. You get too comfortable doing the same workout, with the same weight and the same amount reps, but you are baffled why you are not making progress after all your hard work.
There are two key points you need to focus on when designing your own workout program that will make sure you are successful. The American College of Sports Medicine defines the following principles as:
Progressive Overload– As the body adapts to a given stimulus, an increase in the stimulus is required for further adaptations and improvements. Thus, if the load or volume is not increased over time, progress will be limited.
Variation in Training-No one program should be used without changing the exercise stimulus over time.
What this basically means is you need to consistently increase the amount of weight you use for any given exercise, as long as your form is very strict, and you need to vary the choice of exercise often. When making your exercise and weight selection, you need to keep your training goals in mind at all times. You will never meet your goals if they are not on the top of the list of priorities.
There are many more factors to consider when designing weight training programs, but these are just 2 basic ones to get you started. By following these, you should see more progress in no time.
As far as my client goes, she finished her workout with the weight increase and she only needed help from me a couple of times. She did a great job this morning and will continue to surprise herself each and every workout.