Muscle Progression - Ask More From Yourself To Keep Improving
As I've always said, a workout that doesn't progress, produces a
body that doesn't progress. Now, I used to believe that all sorts
of things were the signs of progression or at least a workout that
would work. I believed that if I got sore, became exhausted, worked
up a sweat or lifted a weight until my muscles gave out, then that
was a good sign that results were on the way.
Unfortunately that wasn't the case. Those measures of success didn't
get me very far. So, then I learned about "switching things
up" and creating that all important aspect of muscle confusion
to keep the muscles "guessing." My workouts were so random
I felt sure my muscles must be more confused than a lost tourist. Again, nadda in the results department.
Then I figured I would keep things simple. I would not seek to
be sore, to push my ultimate limits or to keep my body feeling like
it was trying to solve advanced math. I simply sought to do everything
I was doing, better. Not different, not harder, just better.
It's crazy how just the simplest of tactics can produce the strongest
effects. Instead of trying to figure out the perfect set, rep or exercise
program, I made things simple with a single white board I call my
On it, I write down my best performance for everything I do. Like
my fastest time for a run around the block. I also track how many
pull ups and push ups I can do before having to stop. I can track
what weights I lift and how many reps I do total with each weight.
I don't write down everything I do, just my best performance with
My goal is simply to improve my scores. I don't get too hung up
on increasing reps vs increasing weight or if I should change out
one leg exercise for another. I simply aim for better scores and
when the scores improve, my body improves.
It's kind of like that whole chicken-or-the-egg question. What
comes first, the ability to perform an exercise at a higher level
or the exercise that gives birth to the ability to do it?
I can't wait for my body to get stronger or for things to become
easier before I change my workout but that's exactly what I once
did. I used to wait until I was stronger before going up in weight.
I used to wait until I was faster before I raced at a higher level.
I was waiting a very long time. I didn't get faster until I stepped up to the higher level. I didn't
get stronger until I added a couple more pounds to the bar.
That's the essence of progression. Not asking more from equipment,
a rep scheme, a supplement or a diet. I don't ask anything from
even a different workout program. If I want to get better, faster and stronger, I know I have only to ask it of myself. I have to ask myself
to do more than 40 pull ups in 3 minutes. I have to ask myself to
get a good nights sleep. I must ask it of myself to make sure I
eat a good breakfast. I'm the only one who can step up and make
things happen. It won't happen because of some new gadget, gizmo,
or program. Never has, never will. It will only happen because I
see what I have done in the past on my score board and I ask myself
to go above and beyond.
I can't get lost in the mess of muscle confusion. If my muscles
are confused then I'm confused. I could be making progress, or I
could just be doing the same thing in a different way. Heck, I could
even be going backwards and not even know it!
So, no more workouts that just go through the motions. No more feeling
like hard work alone will bring results. No more random workout
changes that just keep me guessing as to if things are improving.
I know the score, I know where I stand and it's time to step up.