If you are like me, you've probably watched clips of some of the best athletes in world, shook your head, and audibly questioned, "HOW???"
The amazing feats that human beings are able to achieve using their bodies are often mind-boggling. How can Usain Bolt run THAT FAST?? Is Michael Phelps 90% dolphin? Isn't it cruel and unusual punishment to have a mere mortal face Serena Williams on the tennis court? In a bar fight with 50 men and Ronda Rousey, you're telling me you wouldn't rather fight any one of those 50 men than have Rousey smash your face in and pop your shoulder out of its socket?
These top tier athletes seem so far advanced that no one else could ever reach their level. However, they all, at one time, could not yet reach their own current levels. It took PROGRESSION.
The most beautiful thing about fitness is that the (as I am deciding to call it right now) Law of Progression applies to everyone! If you take your progression far enough, you too can become a top athlete. That's a fact.
Progression performed properly (<-- who else loves alliteration?) is the key to fitness success. I'm going to give you a very simple example of a progression below so you can see what I mean. At a certain point, progressions CAN, not that they have to, become complicated. Let's keep it simple though.
- Today I can run 1 mile outside before I have to stop.
- The next few times I run, I'm going to run 1 mile until I don't have to stop at the 1 mile mark
- Once I've passed 1 mile, I'm going to run 1.5 miles until I can do that without having to stop
- Once I've passed 1.5 miles, I'm going to aim for 2 until I can do that without having to stop
Here's another example:
- Yesterday I squatted 135lbs 7x with good form
- The next time I squat, I'm going to see if I can hit 8 reps of 135lbs
- If I can get 8 solid reps of 135lbs, I'll try for 9.
- When I get 9 reps of 135lbs with good form, I'll aim for 10 the next time.
- I can now do 10 reps of 135lbs with good form. Now I want to see if I can do 140lbs 5x
And on and on and on it goes. Progression. The same could be done with push ups, pull ups, squats, deadlifts, bench press, and every other exercise in existence.
Because I know a lot of people are reading, but not quite taking in this information, let me appeal to your every sense of over-the-top logic and reason with the following two examples.
1: Trying to do 1 rep at 300lb on the bench press when your previous best 1RM ever is 280, achieved 5 days ago, is like taking 6 shots of tequila in a row because you did 2 last weekend. Good luck with that.
2: Going out to do a 15 mile run when your longest previous run ever was 8 miles is like smacking your head against a brick wall several times with tremendous effort. Sure, you might not get hurt on your 15 mile run...and you might not get a concussion from smacking your head against the wall...both are pretty dumb though.
While those examples may be extreme, that's how you should think about it!
The key to properly progressing, and the part that SO MANY PEOPLE MESS UP, is taking the next step WHEN and ONLY WHEN your body is ready. Skipping steps will almost certainly result in bad form, less efficient exercise, and injury.
It's not "Sexy Fitness". It's not. Following a proper progression may not pay off in the form of super cooooool instagram posts for years to come. You won't get jacked overnight. Your fastest mile may not drop by 1 minute in a month. Forget about how things Look or Feel. Focus on what things ARE and plan to perform proper progressions (<-- now I'm just abusing alliteration).
If you follow a proper fitness progression, I promise, you will continue to see results.
For a customized OCR Training Program that properly progresses you to greater levels of fitness, check out Trio Fitness OCR Training Programs.
Joel Hayes (Author)