Progression Explained In Fitness & Weight Training + Example

Say your goal was to be the best at math.
But throughout your entire life, you never did math problems harder than 1+1

Would you be very strong at math?

Exactly, because you never challenge yourself with harder problems.

If you want to reach your fitness goals, whether building more muscle, becoming stronger, increasing endurance, etc.

You must also challenge yourself, and that is precisely what progression can be summed up to.


Progression in fitness and weight training is in essence constantly challenging yourself, so that your body must get stronger, bigger, etc.

When we don’t challenge ourselves, the human body adapts to the current level of stress and progression stalls

What Is Progression In Fitness And Weight Training

Progression in fitness and weight training is over time getting closer to your fitness or weight training goal.

Progression occurs when we challenge ourselves, for example with with heavier weight, increased distances, reps, etc.

Reasons You Need to challenge yourself to progress

If you don’t know why or how to challenge yourself you will stay stuck wherever you currently are

(This is because your body adapts to the current level of challenge/stress you place on it resulting in progress stalling if you fail to further challenge it)

TLDR: If you want progression – keep challenging yourself (i.e train harder than last time)


Constantly challenging yourself is also known as progressive overload. Which is increasing the stress or challenge you put against yourself over time so that you keep progressing towards your goals

Below Is A Formula With Examples Of How To Easily Utilize Progression So You Can Reach Goals Without Stagnating!

Step-by-Step Instructions to Challenge Yourself And Force Progression

This powerful formula is one I use to smash through plateaus and expedite progress! Making it inevitable that my goals are reached!

This formula helped me go from 128lbs to 215 lbs (muscular), and smash through plateaus I encountered along the way

The Formula
  1. Detect
  2. Destroy
  3. Develop

Use the 3 D’s to make reaching your fitness and weight training goals inevitable⬇️

  1. Detect and identify the area in which you would like to experience progression in
    • Say you want to be stronger on the bench press – the area you would like to experience progression in is then the amount of weight you bench press
  2. Destroy your current way/plan/routine of trying to progress (stop doing your current way)
    • Your body has adapted to this way, it’s no longer a challenge which is why you are no longer making progress
  3. Develop a new challenging way to go about your goals
    • Consider the examples below for inspiration

Common Examples of Step 3 (develop)

Muscle Growth


Training Biceps 2x a week

3 sets of Hammer curls 1 of which is to failure

3 Sets of barbell biceps curls 1 of which is to failure

2 sets of cable bicep curls, 1 of which is to failure


3 Sets of wide grip barbell biceps curls (1 of which to failure)

2 Sets of close grip rope hammer curls 1 of which is to failure (followed by a dropset)

3 sets of preacher curl, 1 of which is to failure

We changed the exercise as these exercises target our biceps in a different way than the previous exercises, breaking the cycle of stagnation as there is a new stressor hitting the biceps.

We also upped the intensity by adding in a drop set, further upping the intensity and giving the biceps a new level of stress they hadn’t had to deal with before, forcing progression, in this case, muscle growth

Endurance Increase

Say we are running daily on a flat circular track and find we are plateauing.

Simply by changing the location we run on, now running on a street with hills, we can challenge our body by giving it a new challenge, and push it past its current level of adaption causing progression as a result

Strength Increase

Say John wants to challenge himself on the squat so he can further develop his lower body strength, For him further challenging himself may look like.


3 sets of 5 of 150lbs


3 sets of 5 of 160lbs

or 3 set of 6 of 150lbs

Or 3 sets of 5 of 150lbs but with decreased rest times


Change variables such as rest times, # of reps, amount of weight, distance, number of exercises/sets, etc to increase the challenge.

it’s not recommended to keep doing the same workouts over and over

Key Considerations For Successfully Causing Progression

In essence, all we are doing is progressively overloading. Meaning making the stress we put on our body greater over time since our body adapts to the levels of stress we put on it. Causing stagnation if we don’t increase the stress. (progressively overload)

So to maximize our progress/progression

All we have to do is over time increase the stress we put on our body

Simple ways we can do this are with

  1. Increased reps/distance
  2. Decreased recovery times
  3. Increased weight
  4. Increased sets
  5. Increased number of exercises

Alternatives to further challenging yourself

There can be times when it’s beneficial to not further challenge yourself

Maybe life got hectic, and you need all the energy you can get, so you don’t add new challenges and work out the same way you currently do so that you may maintain your fitness level without spending additional energy.

Wrapping Up and My Experience With Progression


Get better results and overcome plateaus by challenging yourself a little bit more each workout

Progression, constantly challenging myself is what allowed me to continuously increase my muscle size, my strength, and my endurance ⬇️

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