Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Training Terminology: Single vs. Double Progression

Single Progression and Double Progression.

In single progression, you advance in one variable. For example, if your progression is reps, you might do 3 x 5 x 135 this workout, then aim for 3 x 6 x 135 next workout, and 3 x 7 x 135 on the following one. The sole progression is total reps. A single progression of weight could be 3 x 5 x 135, then 3 x 5 x 140, then 3 x 5 x 145, etc.

In double progression, you advance one variable from the bottom of a range and then change another variable. For example, you might do 3 x 8-12 reps x 135. You start at 3 x 8 x 135, and try to add reps until you reach 3 x 12 x 135. Once there, you bump the weight up to 140 or 145, and then start over again at 3 x 8. You advance the second variable only when you reach the top of your range on the first variable. It only sounds confusing, but it's rather common in practice - you do 3 x 10 x whatever in the gym, and when you can get all 10 reps on all three sets you raise the weight. Then you stick at that weight until you hit your goal reps.

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  1. what do you do if you get stuck at the same rep count for a number of weeks.

  2. It really depends on the person and the exercise. Sometimes you can progress by changing the exercise to a variation, adding extra sets, or just spending an extra week at the same weights.

    But generally, it's a sign that you need somewhat more complex programming. Once you can't go up in weight workout to workout, you need to start varying up your approach from just adding weight or reps each week.

    A good book on the subject is Mark Rippetoe's Practical Programming for Strength Training. A good program to look at is Jim Wendler's excellent 5/3/1 program or you can look into an Intermediate 5 x 5 program. All of them address the issue of progressing once you can't just add weight week in week out.


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