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What is a (fitness) progression?

What Is a Progression in Fitness and Why Is It Important?

Have you ever heard your fitness coach mention that you are going to be doing a "progression" in your workout routine? If so, you might be wondering what that means and how it benefits your fitness goals.

Simply put, a progression in a fitness context means that you are going to change a movement or exercise to make it more challenging. This can involve changing the intensity, duration, type, frequency, or rest time of your exercises. The goal is to drive adaptation in your body, helping you to maintain and improve your fitness level over time.

Why Do We Need Progressions?

Our bodies are incredibly adaptive, and if we don't challenge them, they won't change. By progressing movements, we push our bodies to work harder and adapt to new challenges. This can help to improve our strength, stamina, and overall fitness level.

If you continue to do the same exercises at the same level, your body will eventually adapt and plateau. Progressions help to break through these plateaus and continue to drive progress and improvement. This is particularly important for athletes and people who are looking to continually improve their fitness level and achieve new goals.

How Do Progressions Work?

There are many different ways that progressions can be used in a fitness context. For example, you might increase the weight you're lifting, add more reps or sets, change the tempo of your movements, or use a more challenging version of an exercise.

Here are some of the ways that progressions can be used:

Intensity: Increasing the weight you're lifting, the resistance on your machines, or the difficulty of your movements.

Duration: Adding more reps, sets, or time under tension to your exercises.

Type: Using a more challenging variation of an exercise, such as a single-leg squat instead of a regular squat.

Frequency: Repeating the same exercise more often throughout the week to increase volume.

Rest: Reducing the amount of rest time between sets, increasing the challenge of the exercise.

By using progressions in your workout routine, you can continue to challenge your body and push it to new limits. This can help you to achieve your fitness goals, whether you're looking to build muscle, lose weight, or increase your endurance.

Examples of Progressions in Fitness

So what do progressions actually look like in practice? Here are a few examples of how progressions might be used in a fitness context:

Strength Training: If you're doing a basic squat with a barbell, you might start by doing three sets of 10 reps at a certain weight. Over time, you might gradually increase the weight, decrease the rest time between sets, or add more reps or sets to the exercise.

Gymnastics: If you're working on your handstand pushups, you might start by doing with your feet on a box. As you get stronger, you might progress to doing them with your feet on the wall or doing freestanding handstand pushups.

Endurance Training: If you're training for a marathon, you might start by running three miles at a certain pace. Over time, you might increase the distance you're running, decrease your pace, or add in interval training to increase your speed and endurance.

Final Thoughts

Progressions are an essential tool for anyone looking to improve their fitness level and achieve their goals. By challenging your body and pushing yourself to new limits, you can continue to make progress and see results over time. So the next time you hear your coach mention a progression in your workout routine, embrace the challenge and see how far you can go!

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