Your Body Wants to Make Workouts Easier
What is the most basic principle that serves as a foundation for all other principals in regard to resistance training in which the goal is to get stronger? The Path of Least Resistance is the foundational strength training principle that all other principles are built on. What do I mean by the path of least resistance? I simply mean that when you exercise, your body has a primary goal which is to choose a path of adaptation that will make that exercise stress easier for you the next time you work out. When exercise becomes easier, your body is simply taking the path of least resistance.
Gaining strength is one way that your body can successfully accomplish its goal of changing a hard training stress into an easy training stress. By gaining strength, the weights that you are lifting become easier to lift. This is exactly what your body wants; it wants a hard workout to become easier, so it becomes stronger to allow this to happen.
Training in Contradiction to What Your Body Wants
Unfortunately, it seems that the major of training information is based on the belief that a person must keep making workouts harder and harder in order to gain strength in spite of the fact that their body is trying to make the workouts easier and easier. When a person keeps trying to make their workouts harder by immediately adding more weight or reps when they gain strength, they are training in contradiction to the goal of their body.
Immediately adding more weight or reps each time strength is gained sending the message to the body that a gain in strength will lead to an immediate increase in the difficulty of workout. The body does not want a gain in strength to make exercise harder as it contradicts the body's goal of trying to make the workout easier. Why should your body keep gaining strength if it means that workouts will keep becoming harder? There comes a time when it does not.
The Problem and Solution
This brings up a problem with a solution that eluded me for years. The problem is, how do you let the same workout become easier and still make progress? Do not you have to add weight or reps and make the workout harder in order to keep gaining? Yes you do, but this is a secondary strategy. Strength can be gained by repeating the same workout without adding weight or reps for several weeks, this should be the primary strategy and a training solution. Why? Because as strength is gained, the same workout becomes easier. This is exactly what the body wants.
Repeating workouts and allowing them to become easier is just one strategy that is necessary for avoiding sticking points and making consistent strength gains. In order to make the most of this strategy, it is important to understand how to train in a manner that is either too easy, nor too hard, but is exactly right for allowing your body to make an easy strength adjustment. How is this done? It will be discussed in future articles.