You gotta ask for more to get your muscles to wake up and lay down new tissue:
* Lift more weight
* Complete more reps at the same weight
* Add more working sets
Otherwise, your triceps are perfectly content to sit back and relax as you fart around in front of the dumbbell rack doing 8 sets of kickbacks with 5 reps in reserve.
However, there is more to progression than just, well, MORE.
And this is important to grasp.
Because while adding weight, reps or sets every workout might be possible for a beginner, it eventually becomes an exercise in futility: or every lifter with 20 years under the bar would be benching 900 pounds for reps.
Other forms of progression include doing the same work in a shorter period (density) and extending the total time under tension (tempo).
But an often overlooked and fool-proof approach is just doing the damn work BETTER.
And it can even extend your lifting career in the process.
Let’s say you can curl 100 pounds for 8 reps, and your goal is to reach 12 reps before increasing the weight.
If your form is okay at 8 reps, but you decide you WILL get 12 reps—even if you gotta recruit your calves to get there—you WILL eventually reach 12.
Whereupon you’re “allowed” to increase the weight.
But now what?
You’re curling 110 pounds for 6-8, but with form that looks like you just peed on an electric fence.
Are you even challenging the biceps effectively? Cause a calf pump on arm-day ain’t a good sign.
This is why making great technique the mainstay of your progression is unquestionably the best long-term play.
It is safer, and lays the necessary groundwork so that the standard progressions of weight, reps and sets are “honest,” sustainable, and above all, more effective.
So save the calf pumps for calf raises, eh?
And before you go for more, go for better.
– Coach Bryan