Hey Angels and Alphas,
A foundational principle in strength training and physical conditioning, progression is not merely about doing more. It’s about doing better, going further, and challenging your body in a systematic and structured manner.
By ensuring that you move seamlessly from simpler movements to more intricate ones, progression workouts let you harness your body’s adaptability. They provide a roadmap for growth, ensuring that every drop of sweat translates to a tangible step forward in your fitness journey.
Progression is the key to continuous growth and development in fitness. By increasing the intensity or complexity of exercises, you can keep challenging your body, avoid plateaus, and witness consistent improvement.
In this article, we will explore the process of progressing from beginner-level exercises to more advanced variants. And what better foundational example to use than the push-up?
1. Understanding Progression
Progression is simply about moving from a less challenging exercise to a more challenging one. This can be achieved by:
- Increasing resistance: Using weights or resistance bands.
- Changing leverage: Adjusting your body position.
- Modifying range of motion: Going deeper in squats or push-ups, for example.
- Increasing volume: Doing more repetitions or sets.
- Decreasing rest time: Reducing the time you rest between sets or exercises.
2. The Push-Up Progression
To understand how you can apply progression principles to various exercises, let’s dive into the push-up progression.
Beginner: Wall Push-Ups
Start by standing arms-length away from a wall. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Keeping your body straight, bend your elbows to bring your chest towards the wall, then push back to the starting position.
Intermediate: Standard Push-Ups
Begin with hands placed shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Lower your body until your chest is just above the ground and then push back up.
Advanced: Decline Push-Ups
Elevate your feet on a bench or step. Place your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart. Lower your body, keeping the same form as the standard push-up.
Expert: Diamond Push-Ups
Bring your hands close together so that your thumbs and index fingers form a diamond shape. Lower yourself down, keeping your elbows close to your body. Push back up to the starting position.
3. Progression Tips for Other Exercises
Beginner: Bodyweight squats
Intermediate: Goblet squats (holding a kettlebell or dumbbell at chest level)
Advanced: Barbell back squats
Expert: Pistol squats (single-leg squats)
Beginner: Inverted rows or assisted pull-ups using a band
Intermediate: Standard pull-ups
Advanced: Weighted pull-ups
Expert: L-sit pull-ups (lifting your legs parallel to the ground)
Beginner: Half plank (from your knees)
Intermediate: Full plank
Advanced: Side plank
Expert: Plank with leg lifts
4. Tips for Successful Progression
Listen to Your Body: Always prioritize form over the number of repetitions. It’s better to do fewer reps correctly than many with poor form.
Be Patient: Mastery takes time. Don’t rush the process, and progress at a rate that’s comfortable for you.
Consistency is Key: Regular practice and consistency will yield the best results.
Seek Guidance: If unsure about form or the next progression step, consult a personal trainer or fitness expert.
Bringing it all together…
Progression workouts allow you to build strength, endurance, and flexibility gradually. By understanding the principles of progression and how to apply them to various exercises, you can ensure continuous growth in your fitness journey.
Whether you’re transitioning from standard push-ups to decline push-ups or diamond push-ups, or from bodyweight squats to pistol squats, the key is to be patient, consistent, and prioritize proper form.