The Philosophy of Progression Part 3: Using A Single Progression Method

In this post we will explore the use of the Single progression method in your training program for the purpose of building muscle mass.

Alexander Nurse Bey
May 22, 2021

Using the Single Progression Method for Hypertrophy

The Single Progression method essentially means that we are only interested in changing one factor at a time until we achieve a certain goal.

This being the case, a Single progression method works well when you are aiming to improve one training goal. The method will involve using only one of the five factors discussed in the previous posts.

Example #1: Increase the Reps

Our goal is to increase our strength in a given exercise. In this example we would warm up and then choose a weight that we can get eight reps with before our muscles give out. Let’s say it’s a Front Squat with 200lbs. The next day we come into the gym, we will keep the weight the same but try to get nine reps. The next day, we will keep the weight the same and try to get ten reps. We would continue in this manner until we achieved a predetermined number of reps- let's say fifteen, for example. We would then increase the weight and start all over again. This is the traditional perspective of the use of a Single Progression method. But I think that there are others as long as we aim to improve only one factor at a time.

Example #2: Increase the Sets

Let’s take it a step further and say our goal was to increase our muscle size by increasing our total time under tension (TUT). Again, we will choose a weight that we can get eight reps with for at least one set. The next day we would keep the weight and reps the same and try for two sets. And we would keep progressing in this fashion until we could perform five sets with the same amount of weight and reps.

Example #3: Decrease the Rest

In this example, we want to improve our anaerobic fitness (tolerance to lactate), let's say that we have achieved the goal of Example #2 and during that program we had set a time-limit for our rest periods at three minutes of rest between each set. This time, we will decrease the rest period between sets each week by 30s until we can do all three sets with only a 60s rest between each set. This could also be an example of a Single progression method.

Wrapping it Up

There you have it. Using a Single Progression method we have devised a plan to get the absolute most work out of the weight we are using for a given exercise. We can be sure that this load will no longer present a challenge to our system, and that our tissues are prepared for a new training cycle with this exercise. The Single Progression method is a methodical approach to maximizing the adaptations you can make with a certain weight.

Next time we will explore the use of the Double Progression method and the goal(s) for which it might work best. If you have any questions about this blog post, feel free to reach out.

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