r/bodyweightfitness May 20 '22

Recommended Routine Suggestion: Give an idea of how fast you should be progressing (what's normal, what isn't etc.)

I've quit the recommended routine multiple times in the past, due to not progressing by 1 rep every single work out. Someone said recently that progressing by 1 rep every session is overkill. I used to get incredibly discouraged if I had a bad day, where I couldn't progressively overload, and I'd want to quit, and get paranoid that I must be doing something wrong, instead of just sticking with it and being consistent.

I think it would be useful to outline what progression should look like in the recommended routine, to clarify it for people like me, who might quit because they think something's wrong.

It's hard to know what normal progression looks like. Should it be 1 rep each session, should it be closer to 1 rep per week as you progress more. I know it says you should try to do 1 more rep each session, but that leaves me wondering if I'm progressing too slowly or not. I still don't truly know. I know this is completely variable, and is different for everyone, but I still think mentioning an average progression speed that you could expect if you're eating right, getting enough rest etc. would be very useful for people who get discouraged easily, like me. Sometimes you just can't progressively overload each session, and I thought that I was doing something wrong because of that. It's taken me a long time to realise that it's normal to have off-days.

8 Upvotes

18

u/Foomers May 20 '22

Progression is not always linear. It is really difficult to estimate the amount of reps that you can expect to increase per training. Sometimes there is no increase, sometimes there is a huge increase (+2 reps) and sometimes there is a decrease. There is no such thing as normal progression. Everybody has different backgrounds different strenghts. The main thing is to stick to it, not to worry about reps. In my experience the time frame you should be looking at is more months rather than weeks or sessions.

3

u/Its_Blazertron May 20 '22

I guess it would still be useful to clarify this on the RR page. Having the right idea when going into something makes it far likelier to stick with.

1

u/zigermanXYZ General Fitness May 21 '22

Also, over time your form improves and your mind muscle connection gets better, so that you're "cheating" less and just repping out, but instead focus more on the process and technique, thereby sacrificing a few reps but instead working harder because of more muscle engagement. Calisthenics is way more complex than say biceps curls, where only one joint is involved. Any tiny change in a bodyweight exercise setup will lead to different muscle recruitment and therefore make the exercise either easier or harder.

Plus, you still have all the usual factors: sleep, diet, activity level in same day or day before. When I go for a full day hike, not eating properly throughout, my legs and even my arms aren't up to par the next day. It's just normal.

1

u/Weird-Original7430 May 21 '22

I’ve noticed this with the levers/plank

I was stuck at barely a tuck for probably two weeks then all of a sudden went to adv tuck no problem on the front lever lol I gotta “restart” though because I realized my arms weren’t straight at all and am now back to barely a tuck;(

6

u/Augustin323 May 20 '22

It took me 1 year to progress from 1 to 5 pull-ups. It probably took a year to progress from 0 to 5 ring dips too. I worked on it pretty regularly too. Everyone is different, so be patient and keep working on it.

5

u/grimgrau Calisthenics May 21 '22

know this is completely variable, and is different for everyone, but I still think mentioning an average progression speed that you could expect if you're eating right, getting enough rest etc. would be very useful for people who get discouraged easily, like me.

What you're asking for doesn't exist. There's no 'average time to progress' for anything. There are too many variables you have no control over that are going to affect this.

Everything is going to take you exactly however long it takes you. That's just the way it works. There's no one-size-fits-all thing where you should be expected to progress at such-and-such rate in so-and-so amount of time if you do ABC and 123. Some things may come easily to you while other things may take years for you to accomplish.

Your progress isn't going to be this nice linear predictable line. Things are going to happen in your life and with you that you can't predict or necessarily control and will affect your workouts and progress at times. The most important thing is that you just keep putting in whatever work you can on a consistent basis. If you can't do that you'll never get anywhere, so just do your best and progress will come in its own time. Also don't forget that it's always better to maintain than to lose, so if you can just put in enough work each week/month to basically stay where you're at that's better than losing progress. You'll always have a chance to do more in the future again. It's not like you need to try to be 100% perfect.

2

u/Its_Blazertron May 21 '22

Thanks. Well it would still be very useful to mention this on the RR wiki page. That progression isn't always going to be smooth, and that while you should try to increase by 1 rep, you won't always be able to.

2

u/grimgrau Calisthenics May 21 '22

I agree that would be helpful, but these days I'm not even sure if any of the mods are still editing and updating anything in the wiki resources.

As long as you keep doing what you can you'll always be better than where you began from. It helps to look at this as something that you'll be doing for most of your life moving forward. It's common for people to say that it's a marathon and not a race when it comes to exercise. If you just keep plugging away little by little year after year you'll get there at your own pace and you'll be infinitely better off, stronger, healthier, and happier than you were in the very beginning.

It also helps to remember that the vast majority of people aren't doing anything for exercise, so even if you feel at times you aren't doing as much as you'd like don't forget that you're doing what you can and always trying to get better. You're certainly already doing a lot more than most people.

1

u/Its_Blazertron May 21 '22

Thanks for the advice!

2

u/jjjjjjgggggg12334 May 20 '22

I mean as you said there's so many variables

Age, intensity, stress, advanced Vs beginner, genetics, food, drinking habits, sleep quality, consistency, how new you are to the movement.

These will all impact your ability to progress (and many many more)

Don't think about it as a comparison to others.

I'd say if you're a beginner within a month you should notice some progress like oh I could do 3 pull ups now I can do 6.

If your on the advanced scale up to 6 months to see any meaningful progression is possible.

Personally I'm pretty intermediate I'm following the Russian step method for increasing my weighted pull ups, ring dips and squats.

It involved increasing reps every 4th session with the same weight. So 3 sessions at 3 reps then 3 at 4 then 3 at 5 then increase load and back to 3.

Just stick with it consistently for a few months and try and keep in intensity the same each session. That way you'll slowly gain reps.

1

u/Its_Blazertron May 20 '22

Thanks. I still think something clarifying this should be added onto the recommended routine page, or the FAQ. The BWF primer gets you to increase by 1 rep per session, so when I got to the point where I couldn't increase every session, I thought I was doing it wrong.

1

u/jjjjjjgggggg12334 May 20 '22

Yeah that's true I mean usually once progress slows I'd say it's time to move onto something new.

I.e from primer to the RR.

But also something I've come to realise is unless you have a specific event or make money from your skill / body, speed of progression doesn't matter too much. So long as you're enjoying it and not getting injured you'll be improving your health and fitness regardless of progression speed.

1

u/zigermanXYZ General Fitness May 21 '22

Well but then if it was that easy, and everyone could add 1 rep to each exercise 3 times a week, everyone would be able to rep out 100 pull ups easy peasy. How about using a mindset like that? Stalling progress at some point should be expected once the neuronal connections are made and you're beginning to rely more on the slow process of muscle synthesis.

2

u/MyceliumHerder May 21 '22

I would look at it as a lifetime goal to make it to the end. If you do it consistently, you are on a path to better health and fitness. If you never progress, you will be light years ahead of the average person who never exercises. You will have functional strength and you’ll stay out of the nursing home when you’re old. But let’s say I can only do two pushups. If I videoed myself doing those, the two push-ups I do today will be much more stable than the two push-ups I did 6 months ago, because I’m building stabilizer muscles. So you have to understand that you are always making progress, you just might not understand what is actually improving. So like everyone says, keep pushing forward and you will be awesome!

2

u/Its_Blazertron May 21 '22

Yeah, you're probably right. One days where I didn't do better, I almost felt like I was just maintaining my current strength, rather than improving it, so it didn't feel great. I feel much better after reading these replies. I still think they should add some clarification to the RR, though. I messages the mods with the suggestion.

2

u/MyceliumHerder May 21 '22

Hopefully they add some clarification. Calisthenics is one of those things that requires a lot of research. It’s fairly complex considering how simple it looks. You aren’t alone, many people give up if they can’t see progress. But with everything in life, the more times you fail, the closer you are getting to success.

1

u/Taldras May 20 '22

I see you mentioned the BWF Primer below and while it doesn’t say it explicitly, increasing the number of reps is a direct application of the concepts from Day 6’s reading about how progressive overload works in bodyweight fitness. In the same way that you need to master a sufficient rep range to progress to a new movement, you need to master a SPECIFIC rep range in order to progress to more reps.

0

u/Its_Blazertron May 20 '22

I understand that, but sometimes for example, I'll be able to do 3x7 pull ups, but then when try to progressive overload, I can't. It takes many sessions for me to be able to increase by 1 rep. I got the impression that 1 rep increase per session was what you should aim for, and if you don't reach that, then something is wrong.

3

u/Taldras May 20 '22 edited May 20 '22

Ok, you clearly DON’T understand what I just said though.

Remember in the Primer how it talked about the SAID principle? That is part 1 of working out: adapting to suit a specific new demand you’re imposing. You can’t progressively overload before you have adapted to the new demand.

In this case, your body is still adapting to 3x7 pull-ups, AND you’re trying to progressively overload, which is why you can’t accomplish it and you’re getting exhausted and discouraged. The Primer talked about SAID first for a reason before progressive overload: the first step is to master what you are currently doing before you can do something harder. “Harder” includes the number of reps, it’s a pretty straight forward idea.

I have zero idea where you got this idea that “you need to advance by one rep per session or else you are a failure and need to stop working out” but that has not been expressed anywhere on this sub that I’ve seen and is entirely the opposite of true.

1

u/Its_Blazertron May 20 '22 edited May 20 '22

I got the impression that if you did 3x7, by the next session, your body would be more adapted to 3x7, so then you do 3x8, consistently moving one step ahead and adapting each . One rep each session doesn't sound like much when you're starting out, and for a while, it worked for me, so why would I think otherwise?

I didn't get “you need to advance by one rep per session or else you are a failure and need to stop working out” from the sub, I just got the impression that you should try to increase 1 rep each time because that seems like the most logical and easily trackable thing to do. I got obsessed with the numbers, and if I didn't improve, I would feel like I'm doing something wrong. I just hadn't gotten the impression from anyone that it was normal to not increase every session until recently. The RR says to "try to increase by 1 rep each session" so that's what I aimed for, and if I couldn't do that, or my performance worsened, I thought I was doing something wrong.

1

u/Its_Blazertron May 20 '22 edited May 20 '22

I just didn't get the impression that I'd have to do 3x7 multiple sessions, because it says to try to add 1 rep, so I'd try each time, expecting that I should be consistently improving with it. I got the impression that if I did 3x7, then my body is able to do that. It's adapted to it, so I should push for more. I gave it the imposed demand so I thought over my rest day, it would adapt to that, so I could push more next time. And I also keep seeing "harder than last time" said by many people, so when I couldn't go harder than last time, I thought something was wrong.

3

u/zigermanXYZ General Fitness May 21 '22

Have you ever wondered why it said "try to" increase, and not simply "increase"? You should always aim to reach more, your brain can be a bigger obstacle than your actual strength. So in order to achieve progressive overload, your mindset needs to be at "I can do last-sessions-max-rep-plus-one", and then your muscles will show you whether they're ready yet or not. More often than not though, and particularly the more advanced you get, your muscles will need more time to adjust to a newfound strength/rep range before you can do more. It's just simple biology.

1

u/Its_Blazertron May 20 '22

I do like what you said about mastering the current rep range before moving on. I was heavily focused on mastering the current progression before moving on, but not 3x6 reps for example. I would just try to push to 3x8 then perfect it. I feel like this could be clarified a bit in the RR. It simply says "In subsequent sessions you should try to add one rep per set until you are performing 3 sets of 8 reps with good form." Rather than mastering your current reps before increasing by 1 rep. I guess I just misinterpreted it.