Extremely Valuable, But Extremely Rare

You are probably asking yourself, what does the golden three of weightlifting mean? Well, simply, it’s the combination of progressive overload, supercompensation and accommodation. That’s it. Really simple! When it comes to making long-term gains in size and strength, you can’t go wrong with these three bad boys.

Ironically enough, in the weightlifting world, you very rarely hear people talking about or applying them. Which is strange, right? The best weightlifting knowledge out there, not being utilized by weightlifters. I call these three ‘golden’ because, well, gold is extremely valuable and incredibly hard to come by. In weightlifting, they are seldom applied. But, as a weightlifter, you could not ask for anything more valuable. They are literally, your keys to the weightlifting kingdom!

It Takes Three To Tango

Ok, so I know what all three are. Why are you writing about them again? Well, so far I have only talked about the golden three independently. It’s good to get a clear idea on each one.

What you will not know, is that you actually need all three in order for each one to optimally play it’s role in your weightlifting progression. Take one away, and the effectiveness of the other two, fall away.

Pretty fitting the title, don’t you think? It takes three to tango. I think it works pretty well, because as you will soon find out, the three work in tandem extremely effectively with each other. It is as if, they were made for each other! Even though you now know the theory behind all three, it’s even more important to realize why all three work together.

So how do the golden three work together?

Progressive overload: As a weightlifter, I will be honest; this word will keep haunting you. Not such a bad thing! Anyways, you know that progressive overload is the increase in the training stimulus over time (e.g. volume/intensity). As a result, you are forcing your body to continually adapt (e.g. become stronger and bigger). Easy stuff!

The biological law of accommodation: You know that accommodation is when the response of your body to a training stimulus becomes less over time. Also easy stuff! Put the two together, what happens? If you fall into the trap of not varying your training, then chances are, you will cross paths at some point with the good old accommodation. Not something you want happening, but it does happen.

If it does, then your ability to progressively overload becomes hindered. If you are trying to overload, for instance, on the same exercises, eventually, your body just says ‘I am bored, I am used to this exercise, give me something that wakes me up’.

Your body at this point, just becomes less responsive to your training stimuli, and it’s adaptation rate slows. In other words, getting bigger and stronger becomes harder, and your ability to utilize more work over time, becomes more of a challenge. Unfortunately, our bodies are just stubborn like this! They like to fight back. But, we can fight back harder!

Something is still hiding, I think? O yes! Supercompensation. I thought I had lost him for a moment there. If accommodation kicks in, and progressive overload becomes more difficult, what happens with supercompensation? You know that supercompensation is a period of time after training, where your body rebounds to a temporarily higher state of fitness. Simply put, your body invites you to utilize a greater training stimulus next training session (e.g. more weight on the bar).

It’s this process of supercompensation that allows you to utilize more over time and thus force your body to become bigger and stronger.

Progressive overload and supercompensation do share a nice bond with each other! It becomes frustrating if accommodation kicks in and progressive overload drops to a snails pace. At this point, supercompensation no longer has a positive effect. If you can’t utilize progressive overload, then your body will drop back to it’s previous level of fitness. The supercompensation effect is lost, your ability to progressively overload is hindered and, you are stuck in accommodation. You can probably see now, why I call this ‘it takes three to tango’. If you want gains, you need all three.

So there you have it. It takes three to tango! This is why I like to pay close attention to all three in my weightlifting training. One just affects the other, and if all three become negatively affected, making gains can become a head banging process. Slow, challenging and frustrating. But fear not, there is always light at the end of the tunnel!

As later on, I will show you, how you can effectively program your weightraining to ensure that all three work in your favor. But for now, it’s important to realize that all three, together, play an equally important role in your guest for size and strength. Neglect one, and your whole weightraining program can quickly fall apart!

It’s Not Science Fiction

There is something I hear quite a lot in the fitness industry, and you have probably heard it as well, the term ‘Bro-science’.

if something sounds cool, intelligent and scientific, but in reality, it’s not real science (or backed up by any real science), then someone will label it as ‘bro-science’.

Unfortunately, a lot of people label, a lot of good stuff, also as bro-science. Which is a shame, because a lot of it is in-fact, REAL science! It does hold value for your weightlifting. Consequently, a good chunk of beneficial weightlifting knowledge gets thrown under the rug, never to see the light of day. One being the golden three.

There is a good reason why I see or hear very few weightlifters utilizing or talking about the golden three. It sounds too much like bro-science. In some ways it sounds cool and intelligent and appears scientific. To a lot of people though, it’s probably just a lot of nonsense and confusion that really doesn’t work!

I agree, there is a lot of stuff out there that seems crazy and you ask yourself, where people have come up with this stuff. It’s just unfortunate that sometimes, the good stuff gets accidentally mixed in with the bad.

I can honestly see why very few people mention the golden three. After all, at first sight, it does seem a little far-fetched and well, a bit crazy? Heck, there are probably some people now reading this article, thinking, what total bro-science! Only because it sounds intelligent and scientific, but really, it doesn’t look like its been backed up by any real scientific data. As a result, some people will push it into the shadows and never really talk about again. But then people will miss out on some really good weightlifting knowledge!

The good news is, the golden three is not bro-science. But in fact, is an area of weightlifting that has been extensively investigated over many years. If you look in any weightlifting and sports science textbook, you will see the golden three always laying the foundation for any effective weightlifting training. In other words, the golden three form the fundamental basis of all weightlifting theory.

Woah! Big stuff! Absolutely and this is my point. If you are too quick to brand everything in fitness that sounds to ‘scientific’ as just bro-science, then you risk missing out and never knowing about the fundamentals and the stuff that really works. Contrary to what most fitness gurus will tell you, it’s important to remember that not everything in weightlifting (or general fitness for that matter) is science fiction. Just like the golden three, there is a lot of fundamental weightlifting knowledge out there, waiting to be taken seriously and utilized.


If you have any questions about the article or would like to discuss further some of the topics mentioned, then please feel free to leave comments down below. I would love to hear your thoughts on the golden three!