What Is Progression?

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What is progression? Far too often I see coaches or trainers blindly add more weight, prescribe crazy exercises they found on youtube, or follow a random template they took from the internet. Put simply, they throw shit at the wall to see what sticks.

Progression is built upon knowing what goal you want to accomplish and implementing the safest/most effective way to get there. Progression is about knowing the path, not just the destination. At times you have to leave room for progression, intensity and volume must be controlled for this to be done properly. You should be able to determine what is working, what is delivering the intended effect and what isn’t working.

You must also only give the client/athlete what they have exhibited that THEY can handle. You do not want to give someone something they are not ready for. Loading too much weight on the squat just so they can get a PR, while their form breaks down into a good morning, is not intelligent. This is why perfectly safe exercises like the squat get a bad name. If you overload the tissue with something it isn’t ready for AND allow form to crumble under a heavy load…good luck.

A good coach will closely monitor your lifts and your ability to tolerate and recover from them. A good coach will include exercises that should have some transferability to your goal or sport. A good coach will be able to pick up on individual cues during movements that will determine where they take you next. A good coach will ensure that the client/athlete has a firm foundation instead of trying to build strength upon dysfunction.

Progression requires a plan, and since training is a long-term process, this should be a long-term plan. Everything you do should serve a purpose. I recommend that if you work with a trainer, nutritionist, doctor etc that you ask why you are doing something. Hopefully they will have a good answer.