The 2% Rule for Your Workout Routines

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Remember when you were in school and you argued that your lessons were worthless? You know that whole squabble you’d have with your parents – “when will I ever use this crap?!” Maybe you were like me and tried to claim that you’d never find a need for math. After all, I never had to fall back on that art history class I had as an undergrad.Believe it or not, your workout routines could benefit from some math.

After you read this post you should find your old algebra teachers and cut them some slack. It turns out that crunching some numbers separates good workout plans from inferior ones. What we’re talking about here is progression.

In sports science we have a term called The Law of Accommodation. This means that what once challenged you isn’t such a big deal to the body after a few workouts. You might notice this when things feel easier, you’re stronger, or you’re not experiencing anymore results. We can prevent accommodation from occurring by setting up progressions.

At UEFP we slap a 2% rule of progress to our workout plans. Being a personal trainer means helping people get results. You also have to push your clients. So doing the same workout over and over won’t get you results. Neither will just doing random workouts from session to session. You need a plan with sensible progressions.

The 2% rule means that from workout to workout, you’re doing 2% more work. If a client deadlifts 225 pounds, then the next workout calls for 230 pounds. If we row 250 meter intervals, then we’re hitting 255 meters the next go around. The math comes into play because we can do anywhere from 2 to 10% more progress.

2% is used for things like weightlifting and advanced clients. The better you get at something, the harder it is to make large jumps in your abilities. 10% is the most you want to progress for the next workout – this can be used for things like intervals. In our previous example, we’re rowing 275 meters instead of 250. If you want to get extra saucy, you can also mess with your rest intervals. Using rest intervals of 2:30 for your 400 meter intervals cuts your rest down to 2:20 (there’s ten percent again).

This simple concept helps our clients get consistent results. It also prevents boredom because each workout presents a new challenge. If you want to take your workout routines to the next level, then try out the 2% rule!

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