Skip to content Skip to footer

There is a technique that allows you to do without small disks. This is either for the sake of variety or to avoid “wasting” on small discs. This is the so called “double progression” method, where you gradually increase not only the weight of the barbell, but also the number of repetitions.


you perform work sets with the same weight, increasing the number of repetitions from time to time until you reach the maximum number of repetitions for the given exercise. Then you add a kilogram or two to the barbell and start all over again with the minimum number of repetitions.

For example, instead of squatting with 20 repetitions all the time, you can gradually increase the number of repetitions in a set from 12 to 20. If the number of reps remains unchanged, in the intensive phase of the cycle you will not be able to add more and more to the weight of the bar and still be able to complete all
20 repetitions.

Double Progression Method
Double Progression Method

In a ‘double progression’ you increase

the number of repetitions from 12 to 20 in a few weeks, then add 2.5-4.5 kg and start again at 12 repetitions. The load at this, understandably, will be less than in the previous workout, when you squat with less weight, but 20 times per set. Then you do 20 sets again, you do them for two or three weeks with the same weight to let your muscles adapt to the workload, and then you do the same amount of sets again. And the whole cycle repeats all over again.

This in itself is a good way to shake things up, provided that the complex consists of only a few exercises. Especially since it’s not easy to squat 20 times in a row from month to month. Few people are able to endure it. But with this scheme you will be able to “hold out” a lot longer.

The more “weighty” an exercise (in the direct sense of the word) and the greater the difference between the minimum and maximum repetitions, the greater can be the gain in weight. For example, in squat or deadlift the scheme “12-20” allows each time to add more weight than, say, the scheme “6-8”.

The point is that you can get from 6 to 8 repetitions much faster than from 12 to 20. But this advantage turns into a big disadvantage in practice. Muscles do not have enough time to get stronger, and you can add to the barbell maximum 2.5 kg (and even less if you have a guarantee). But the range 12-20 allows adding up to 5 kg.

Don’t rush to increase the number of repetitions. If you work in the range of 8-12 reps, do 8, then 9, 10, 11 and 12 first. If after 8 reps you immediately ‘jump’ to 10, and then to 12, or worse, from 8 straight to 12, it would be tantamount to adding weight too quickly in a normal cycling.

You know how that ends:

overwork, loss of strength, and premature termination of the cycle. However, if you have a large range of reps, say, 10-20, adding 2 reps at a time is not forbidden, but only in the first half of the cycle until you get to 15-16 reps.

There can be various schemes: 4-6, 5-8, 6-10, 8-12, 8-15, 10-15, 12-15, 12-20, or even 15-20. What is the basis for your choice? Your personality. For example, if the endurance of your cardiovascular system is not high, then a large number of reps you “uncomfortable” – you will choke. In this case it is better to choose a shorter range. And a very short range will suit impatient natures who prefer training in the style of power “sprints”.

It may happen that the system of parallel increase in the number of repetitions and weights is not for you at all. Let’s say you have no problem adding half a kilo to the barbell in 4-repetition sets for several months, but when you need to add at least two reps (up to 6) with the same weight, you “choke” and get stuck. In this case it is better to cycle the loads according to the usual scheme, without changing the number of reps in a set.

Leave a comment