Whenever you are training you should have some sort of goal that you are trying to achieve. Whether it be to lose weight, gain muscle or whatever, you must have a goal. Once your goals are figured out you can design the proper program and hopefully get the results that you are looking for.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see with trainees is that they never increase the stimulus of their workouts. If you do not stress your body enough then it will not change. This goes by the popular SAID principle which stands for “specific adaptation to imposed demands”. Which basically means that the body will adapt accordingly to whatever stress you put upon it. The SAID principle can be seen in exercise as well as other things. The goal of the training program is to see increases from workout to workout, which is a good reason why you keep a training journal.
Now there are various ways to increase the stimulus of the workout to make sure that your body has no choice but to change. If you find that your workouts are not giving you the results that you want then try any of these methods and watch the results come rolling in!
- Increase Intensity– Increasing Intensity of the workout means to increase the weight you are using. So say you have been squating 135 for 3 sets of 8. Next time you come in do 145 for 3 sets of 8. The added weight will cause your body to increase the muscle mass and strength of your legs.
- Increase Volume– Increasing volume means either to add more reps, more sets or both. So to use our previous example of doing squats with 135 for 3 sets of 8. Next time you come in to train you can either do 135 for 3 sets of 10 or do 135 for 4 sets of 8. Either way will further tax the body and cause adaptation.
- Increase Density– Increasing density means to do the same amount of weight, sets, and reps but do it in less time. Workout density is often confused with intensity. So for example using the squats once again. If we did 135 for 3 sets of 8 with 90 second breaks in one workout then come in next time and do 135 for 3 sets of 8 with a 60 second break we have now increased the stimulus and cause further adaptation.
- Increase Time Under Tension(TUT)– If you do your squats quickly and it takes 2 seconds to do each one you can simply do them slower (accentuate the negative). So if one workout it takes you 2 seconds to do each squat and you do 3 sets of 8 and the next workout it takes you 4 seconds to do each squat for 3 sets of 8 you have once again caused an increase in stimulus. The difference in total time under tension is 48 seconds vs 96 seconds. The second option is definitely way harder and will cause your body to change.
All of these methods ways will cause your body to change. They should be worked sensibly into a program and will be dependent on what your training goals are as well as various other factors. The secret is knowing when and how to use them to see constant progress.