Have you hit a plateau? Not seeing any results with all your training? Maybe it's time to change up your workout! Let us take a look at progression and regression in your fitness journey and discuss why it's a critical element to ensure we see the changes for which we are striving to achieve!
Progression is the process of developing or moving gradually towards a more advanced state. In other words, when weight training is involved, our muscles adapt to the demands we place it under. When our bodies have adapted fully and we haven't changed up our routine or the intensity in which we train, we will plateau, seeing no more results and causing frustration. As this adaptation process stalls, we will then need to change our routine, the weight in which we train with, the repetitions or even the intensity!
A great example of progression is performing a push up. Let's say you can't perform a traditional push up and that's okay. Let's discuss how to progress! Here we would start in a modified push up position, starting in a low plank, knees on the ground. As we increase our ability to perform these modified push ups, over time we will want to "progress" to a traditional push up, one at a time until failure, then "regressing" back to our modified position to finish out our set; attempting to complete as many traditional push ups with proper form, slow and controlled! As you get stronger, you can challenge this move even more by adding an unstable foundation to perform on, thus forcing your muscles to adapt to the new challenge! Muscle confusion! Name of the game!
Additional forms of progressions such as stabilization include changing the foundation in which you are performing your exercise. For example, performing lower body moves with two-legs stable --> staggered stance --> single leg stable --> two legs unstable --> staggered stance unstable --> to single leg unstable will challenge your muscles to continue to adapt, this improving strength and balance. Your upper body can also use progressions such as, two arm --> alternating arm --> single arm --> to a single arm with trunk rotation, thus forcing your upper body to adapt and continue to build strength.
Regression is the act or instance of regressing, a progressive decline or shift towards a lower or less perfect state. In other words, it's a decline in which you still perform the exercise but have less weight, or change the process in which you will perform an exercise! Regression is important for allowing optimal motor learning by simplifying the demands of the tasks being performed! Let's take a look at a few regression situations to help us better understand.
When performing a barbell squat, you notice that you aren't completing the move with the fluid motion in which it should be performed. The best step for regression here is to use a dumbbell and perform the Goblet Squat, placing more demand on the core, but less overall weight still demanding the body to adapt and continue to rebuild your foundation! Another example of regression is going from using dumbbells for a chest press to using a chest press machine, thus allowing you to focus on form and tempo more than weight.
Knowing when to progress or regress really depends on the state of your current workout regimen. There usually is a process to follow, as you increase your strength and ability to perform a move with weights allowing about 3 to 4 weeks progressing to then step back a weeks worth of training to lighter, less physically demanding exercises to challenge our foundation once again in this regressive state. Incorporating both processes will help prevent your physical changes from stalling out, and will keep your workout programming fun, thus preventing a burn out or plateau!
So when it comes to challenging your body during physical exercise, progressive and regressive work are so very beneficial to help your growth and prevent you from plateauing thus preventing fitness burnout or frustration! So the next time you don't feel like your workout is giving you the changes you want, change it up! Give it a try!
Thank you for taking the time to read my post on progression and regression! I appreciate you taking the time to support my blog! Have a great Monday!