Newer clients often write to me somewhat dejected that their weights “haven’t gone up in a few weeks.”
And while progression is certainly the name of the game, progress—especially in terms of the load on the bar—is NEVER linear.
Now that’s not to say training loads don’t matter at all—they absolutely do.
It’s simply the case that working to increase them serves as a proxy for building muscle—but only in the context of good form and other nebulous things, like “feel.”
Which is in stark contrast to powerlifting and weightlifting where an increase in load is not a proxy—it is the goal, period.
It’s why bodybuilders fixate heavily on what I like to call PERFORMANCE MASTERY—something akin to a “flow state,” and often only attainable after many weeks on a given program.
It’s a little hard to define, but it encompasses more than just the weight on the bar.
It’s like the perfect trifecta of a heavy load, moved with great control and perfect form through a full range of motion.
It just feels… RIGHT.
This is why strength increases (how much you lift) as external cues are not nearly as important as the internal cues of how the muscles FEEL when you work them.
So when load progression stalls—and it WILL—shift your attention and look for the improvements within yourself.
They’re probably there—you just weren’t sure what to look for.
— Coach Bryan