Double the Progress – Double the Gains

If you spent any length of time in a commercial gym setting, then you’ve probably seen the guy/girl who is still repeating the same workout as they were this time last year.

The same amount of weight.

The same rep/set scheme.

And progress literally seems to be going nowhere.

So how is it some people seem to continually be making progress and others, well, literally get stuck where they are?

If you want to improve your physique past that of newbie gains, you’ve gotta train hard.

To increase muscle or strength you’ve got to do two things:

  1. Increase the weight used
  2. Increase the number of reps performed

If you combine the two steps above in to one single method, that’s when you get to double your progress and double your gains.

The double progression method of training is one that I use time and time again with not only myself, but also my clients. It works extremely well for any level as it isn’t weight or experience level dependant.

Whether your goal is strength training.

Whether your goal is muscle building.

The double progression method will work for you.

This method works effectively for any piece of equipment, from machines, to dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells.

Double progression for hypertrophy:

To give you an example of what this method might look like, have a look below:

  • Squat – 4x 8-12
  • Bench press – 4x 8-12
  • Barbell Row – 4x 8-12

During this example workout, each exercise is performed for 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Double progression for strength:

To give you an example of what this method might look like, have a look below:

  • Squat – 5x 3-6
  • Bench press – 5x 3-6
  • Barbell Row – 5x 3-6

During this example workout, each exercise is performed for 5 sets of 3-6 repetitions.

Possible one of the best strength programs for squatting utilises the double progression method.

The Russian masters squat routine keeps the lifter at 80% of 1RM until they have gone from squatting it for 6 sets of 2, until they reach 6 sets of 6 over a 4 week period.

For the double progression method to work effectively:

  • Start at the lower end of the repetition range
  • Use the same weight for all sets
  • Every time you perform the workout, increase the reps towards the top end of the rep range you’ve set for yourself.
  • Once you hit the top of the rep range, move the weight up on the following workout by 2.5kg.

For this method to work effectively for you, ensure that you intentionally start out a bit too light for yourself.

This will not only ensure that you hit the required repetition range, but it’ll also make sure that you can completely focus on your technique, to save yourself from injury.

Because the weight will initially be light enough for you to perform excellent technique, your confidence being under that weight will massively improve, which will set you up well for strength training, as one of the biggest factors often missed when it comes to strength training is mental strength.

As picking up heavy shit can be scary sometimes!

Double Progression for Beginners:

If you’re a beginner in the gym (anyone who has trained less than 1 year), then focussing on increasing your reps by one per set per workout is a good aim to go for, so it may look like this over a 6 week period:

Week 1: 4 x 8 x 100 (32 reps) (3200kg total lifted)

Week 2: 4 x 9 x 100 (36 reps) (3600kg total lifted)

Week 3: 4 x 10 x 100 (40 reps) (4000kg total lifted)

Week 4: 4 x 8 x 105 (32 reps) (3360kg total lifted)

Week 5: 4 x 9 x 105 (36 reps) (3780kg total lifted)

Week 6: 4 x 10 x 105 (40 reps) (4200kg total lifted)

 

Double Progression for Advanced Trainers:

If you’re an advanced trainee then you’ll be a lot stronger than the average beginner in the gym, therefore aiming to increase your reps like the method above might be a bit too much for you to recover from.

This is where the double progression method comes in to it’s own.

This method was popularised by Doug Hepburn (a Canadian strongman); who was one of the first natural athletes to bench press 500lbs and squatted more than 600lbs for reps.

The first workout is held constant at 8×2 at 80% of your 1rm.

The 2nd workout utilises the double progression method by adding 1 repetition per workout, so it could look like below:

  • 2,2,2,2,2,2,2,3. (7×2, 1×3)
  • 2,2,2,2,2,2,3,3. (6×2, 2×3)
  • 2,2,2,2,2,3,3,3. (5×2, 3×3)
  • 2,2,2,2,3,3,3,3. (4×2, 4×3)
  • 2,2,2,3,3,3,3,3. (3×2, 5×3)
  • 2,2,3,3,3,3,3,3. (2×2, 6×3)
  • 2,3,3,3,3,3,3,3. (1×2, 7×3)
  • 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3. (8×3)

Once you hit the last workout (8×3); the week after you would increase the weight on the bar by 2.5-5kg and repeat the same cycle again, starting at 8×2.

Whilst this method may look “slow”, you’re increasing the weight on the bar by 2.5-5kg each month.

If you continually do this over a year, you’d add between 30-60kg to your lifts in 12 months.

Which is massive if you’re an advanced trainee.

Different rep ranges?

The double progression method is adaptable as you’ve just seen above.

So, if you don’t fancy hitting 8-12 reps, but feel more like lifting heavy ass weight, then focussing on lifting in the 3-6 rep range will yield some impressive strength gains quickly for you.

This system is not just used for barbell exercises either, this can be used on dumbbells, kettlebells and bodyweight exercises in the exact same fashion.

What happens when progress stalls?

No training method is bulletproof.

And the double progression method is no exception.

But, a simple way that you can continually make progress when your lifts stall.

Add in a variation of the lift that’s stalled.

Struggling to push your squat?

Let’s add in a front squat instead or a paused squat.

Adding in a variation that will stimulate more progress, more muscle growth and will keep your numbers heading in the right direction.

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