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Don’t Miss your chance: The lost art of the Linear Progression

Most of you reading this post are young males that are novice lifters, Yes, novice lifters. If you can’t deadlift 405 and weigh under 200 pounds, you my friend are a novice lifter. Marathon runners have bigger biceps than you and you still think that the leg press is as good as a squat. Don’t get offended however, this is an amazing time to add a massive amount of strength and muscle mass in a very short period of time. Change your athletic career and become a man by weighing over 200 pounds. However, If you fuck up this chance and don’t follow a linear progression in your younger years you will never get it back.

Why don’t you get it back? As a young male, your testosterone is through the roof, which will make your recovery incredible. Don’t waste this chance of supreme recovery by doing pointless training principles. Which includes lifting 6 days a week for 2 hours and do every machine in the gym. Don’t hire a speed trainer when you can’t squat 95 pounds. Worst of all, don’t try to cut from 160 so you can see your abs P.S. Meth heads have abs too. Go get strong. Add slabs of meat to your frame. After this stage, you have earned the right to then worry about your aesthetics. Go get a 6 pack at 220 pounds not 160 pounds. So, how do you do this?

Early on, you should invest in basic compound lifts like deadlifts, squats, bench press, and overhead press. Throw in some pull-ups and a row variation, it doesn’t matter which kind just pick one. Keep the exercise pool very small so that you can slowly gain technical mastery of the lifts while progressing steadily on the lifts. Remember everything additional you do causes a stress which will hurt your ability to progress on the lifts. Don’t do CrossFit metcons or decide to run a half marathon. Focus on gaining weight and adding weight to the bar. One goal at a time, don't try to do everything at once.

These compound lifts are chosen because they are the best lifts out there for strength and size. This is because you must use a barbell, which means more weight on the bar. More weight on the bar means more strength and size, ditch the e-z bar and load up the barbell. These lifts also work many muscle groups at once while stabilizing the weight. This stimulus ensures that growth will occur if a smart progression is made and you fuel your recovery.

You will lift 3 days a week and have two different workouts. Each will include a back squat, one will include a deadlift, and you will split the pressing movements. You will end up Back Squatting 3 times a week, deadlifting once or twice a week, and either bench pressing twice or Overhead pressing twice (depending on the week). Your Sets and reps will be the same every week, 3 sets of 5 reps and you will do the same weight for all 3 sets (after a warm-up). By making small increases in weight you will end up adding 30 pounds to your Back Squat a week and 10-20 on every other lift. After writing this, I wish I could be a novice again.

To make this progression you need to focus on three things. Get a coach so you know how to do the movements correctly, no half reps or rounded lower backs on heavy pulls. You need to eat like you live on a farm. This means eat meats, eggs and potatoes, drink copious amounts of milk and don’t restrict calories. (read, if you want more info on this). Yes, this strategy is not “healthy”. I’m not telling you to do this for the rest of your life, just for a short period of time. You also must sleep as much as possible.

Commit to getting at least 8 hours a night and as many naps in the day as you can fit in. If you do this correctly you can add 40 pounds to your frame. Yes, some of this will be fat but 75% will be muscle and you can strip off the fat later. It’s much better to be jacked at 220 then a skinny bastard at 150!

There are many reasons that you will be able to add weight to the bar in such an easy fashion. First, you’re a young man with testosterone pumping through your veins. You will be eating a huge number of calories and sleeping like a baby, so your recovery will be amazing. This will allow you to grow like a small farm animal, every time you jump on the scale you will be a couple pounds heavier. More importantly you don’t know how to do the lifts, which is a positive. Weightlifting is a skill, always remember that. With such a high frequency of doing the lifts you will get better and better at the lifts. Not only are you recovering amazing, you will be improving your technical mastery of the lift, adding weight to the bar will be easy. At some point the Novice effect will stall and you will start failing lifts. At this point it is time to move on to a new program. Don’t believe me? Below is my personal account of my gains during this program.

I followed these steps in High School and added over a hundred pounds of body weight. I went from 140 to 240 pounds. Yes, I added fat but my lifts by the time I graduated high school were a 550-pound Deadlift, a 500 pound Squat, and a 365 pound Bench Press. When I started I was deadlifting 225, squatting 135, and bench pressing 95 pounds. More importantly, I went from a below average athlete to getting a D1 scholarship in college, all thanks to a good ole linear progression. This is because strength is the foundation of all qualities of athletic performance.

I stayed on the same program for over a year. I lifted 3 days a week and ate like my life depended on it. I drank a gallon of milk a day and probably ate a Little Caesar's pizza every day. I consumed well over 5,000 calories a day. It wasn’t easy but man was it simple. Learning through this process that it doesn’t matter what you do in the gym but what you can recover from. Every time you enter the gym you should be better than the last time.

After I started to stall, progression became way harder for me. This is because I started to get closer to my genetic ceiling which means that lifts will progress much slower. You will start adding to your total every few months instead of every week, which isn’t fun. Programming and recovery becoming much more important. Meaning that you shouldn’t get offended when I call you a novice lifter, it is a beautiful and simple time in your life.

When you’re a young male you need to take advantage of this plan, because it is so simple and you don’t need to do anything besides the compound lifts and basic mobility. Don’t do speed training or bodybuilding programs before progress in the compound movements. Earn your bicep curls because putting hundreds of pounds on your total will grow your arms more than you can believe. Show me a guy with a 400 pound bench and small arms. Essentially you need to keep it simple and make small progressions which will add up to huge gains in a short period of time.

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