The Building Block Of All Progress: Getting Stronger


Basics, Basics, And More Basics

Some of you might be reading the title of this blog article and thinking: this again! Doesn’t this guy ever come up with anything ground breaking, new or, completely different? I mean, everyone always talks about: getting stronger being the absolute building block of progress in the gym. Well, that is definitely true, and I will admit, the topic has been done to death in some form or another.

But guess what, lots of people who go to the gym with the goal of getting stronger, putting on more muscle mass and improving body composition, are still not using this very basic, effective piece of advice to their advantage. Ok, the topic of the article is not groundbreaking and it’s definitely not going to end up national TV news, but guess what: it doesn’t matter, why? It simply works! It has always worked and will continue to work giving you the results you have always wanted.

The thing about weightlifting is that it doesn’t need to be groundbreaking.For marketing purposes maybe it does. But in terms of getting you real, long-term results, it really doesn’t! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or make it super confusing or complicated. Yes, it’s gone through dramatic changes through the years in terms of the information, ideas and methods people have tried, tested and implemented. But,you will notice one thing, it always comes back full circle: getting stronger is key. No matter what methods people invent, use or preach, long-term guaranteed progress comes from one thing, and one thing only: getting you stronger over time.

This is why this article is so important! The whole idea of getting stronger and doing more work over time can’t be replaced when it comes to allowing you to achieve your strength, size (and even losing body fat!) goals. If you ask me, it’s so important to keep writing about this ‘done to death topic’ for one very special reason: so that it’s not forgotten. With all the information today and every fitness guru’s so-called ‘secret, re-invention of the wheel weapon’ for success, it’s easy to forget and neglect the very stuff that you actually need to make long-term progress.

Are You Doing More Work Then Last Time?

Ok, so you have the goal of getting stronger, putting on more muscle, improving body composition and, loosing stubborn body fat, great! What do you do? Well, before you set foot in the gym you always need to say to yourself: Today, I am going to do more work then yesterday. Sounds simple enough!

If you have your heart set on achieving your goals, then you need to be prepared to do more work than yesterday and push your body out of it’s comfort zone. It really is that simple. It’s not enough to just go to the gym and get down to doing exercises. Yes, you got yourself out of bed and into to the gym, that is the first step. But it’s not enough for success. When you begin your workout, you have to keep asking: Am I doing more than yesterday? Am I pushing myself harder and challenging myself more? A lot of times, I see the same people doing the exact same exercises, same weight, same number of reps/sets and same routine for months on end. Nothing changes! There is no element of ‘doing more’ in their routines. Yes, if you want to maintain what you have that is sufficient. But for long-term progress, you will make none. Not without forcing your body to do more work over time.

Building Blocks1

  • This represents the ‘building block model’ of progress in the gym. If you want to gain over the long-term (more muscle, more strength, increased fat loss, improved body composition), you must do more work over time (more volume and intensity) in order to stimulate the adaptation process (more size and strength).


  • This shows what happens when the ‘building block model’ of progression (overload) is not followed. No increase in workload over time (in terms of volume and intensity) will ultimately lead to a stall in progression (size and strength). The only way to progress over time, is to ensure that you utilise ‘more work’ over time to stimulate the adaptation process.

Doing more work over time is not difficult. But most people in the gym tend to forget about it being the fundamental component of their progress.In fact, the main two things you need to do over the long-term for success is to use both more intensity (more weight on the bar) and more volume (more sets and reps). That’s it! When it comes to making progress, increasing the intensity and volume you use over time means you consistently challenge your body more, push it over its current limits and by doing so, you stimulate your body to adapt to be able to successfully withstand the increases in external work loads. In this context, adaptation simply means that your body becomes stronger and bigger in order to withstand any extra external forces. In other words, your body survives! It is this process that has to continuously carry on if you want to lock in your guaranteed long-term progress.

Doing More Work Over Time Is Your Priority

When it comes to making progress in the gym, doing more work over time will be your priority. By doing more work,


  • This graph represents the trend in time in size and strength with an increase in work load (volume and intensity over time). For long-term progress, you need to be following line A. Line A is of course ‘bumpy’ because there will be ups and downs in your progress. However, the overall trend should be upwards over time in order to make progress in size and strength. Without overload, you will simply stall (fall onto line B).


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