Imagine you had just started learning the piano. No easy task.
In the beginning you learn what type of keys to hit to play a certain note.
You learn where to place your fingers, and how lightly/hard to tap each key and how long to hold each note.
After each session you become better, learning how to perform the task before becomes simple and almost routine.
As the months go by you find yourself performed more complex and varied routines.
While the task are now more challenging you still progress, you still get better.
Then one day it stops.
All of a sudden the session become a grind, and you're not getting better. In fact your getting worse!
But what happened?! Everything was going so well, yes it got harder but you were learning and you were getting better, and now you're not!!
Welcome to the end of the "Novice Effect".
In the Beginning...
So what does learning a piano have in common with being a novice lifter/exerciser? Everything!!
Just like learning any new instrument, sport, game, there is a learning curve that exists before you start becoming good at anything. Lifting is no different.
This learning curve can be known as the "Novice Effect" where adaptation to a certain stressor happens FAST at the beginning, and allows the individual to become proficient in the skill relatively quick while tapering off as time goes on.
The Meat & Potatoes...(if you're a vegan, I'm sorry??)
To stay locked in to how we address the Novice Effect we will focus in on the squat, press, and deadlift (The Meat and Potatoes lifts).
Say you want to start to exercise because you hate feeling unhealthy. You have heard that running helps, but lets be honest...who likes to run?? You also heard that dieting works...yeah if that was the case you wouldn't be thinking about exercise.
*Quick digression here, a rock star diet any day of the week BEATS exercise 10x over. Don't believe me? Let's get coffee and chat :)
So you decide that joining a gym is the route you want to go, and being stronger overall is something that you have always wanted to be.
After warming up you head over to your strength coach and get started (If you don't have a coach, its like learning to play the piano by yourself...good luck!)
You begin with Back Squats. You learn how to properly execute the movement, and then grab a empty barbell and perform 5 reps for 3 sets.
Next you learn and perform the Shoulder Press for the same reps and sets.
Boom double done!
Last you learn and perform the Deadlift, with a slight difference. Because the movement is so taxing or will become so, you will only perform 1 set of 5 reps.
Boom done, done, and done!
Session 2 - Beyond
Just like the previous session and every session from here on out, the goal will be to increase your base level of strength incrementally.
The Squat and Deadlift will receive on average a 5lbs increase every session.
The Bench Press and Shoulder Press will vary between 2.5lbs - 5lbs every session, this is due to the weaker nature of the musculature in the shoulder girdle and arms.
Through this linear progression, you will continue to make incredible strength gains for many months to come...this is of course if you allow yourself to properly rest and recover after each session...
If you are saying to yourself "I can keep making gains if I give myself adequate time to rest?!"....It looks like we found our next topic!
Catch my next blog in my "The Call to the Novice" Series titled - Rest, Recovery, and Adaptation
See you in class,