How To Use Double Progression System to Gain Muscle & Strength?

Egis R.
5 min readMay 10, 2022
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You are in the gym, you look around at people, one of them is scrolling Instagram feed for five hours, another one is doing the stupidest exercise in the universe — burpees, another one is openly vomiting after completing four sets of Bulgarian split squats, and another one is just… big and strong. And so you wonder:

How did he get so big and strong? I want to be like him.
Image by the author

I will tell you how. It’s because he trained with progressive overload which simply means challenging muscles beyond their present capacity so that they would have to adapt and get stronger and/or bigger.

You can incorporate it into your training in a lot of different ways. My favorite way is the double progression system. It is a method of manipulating the volume and intensity of your training. It works with any exercise and pretty much anyone can use it to gain muscle and strength. Especially beginner and intermediate lifters.

Since you are 153 words into this article, you are probably close to achieving a critical level of “fuck this article, so far, Egis told me absolutely nothing while saying many many words” so let me explain to you how to train with the double progression system.

The double progression means adding repetitions within a certain rep range until you “fill out” that rep range. Then you add more weight. So you are adding volume (reps) before increasing intensity (weight) and you don’t progress the second variable (intensity aka weight) until you progress the first (reps).

Let’s say you got an individualized training program from me and you have a barbell bench press prescribed for 3 sets of 6–10 reps. Here is how you would go about training with the double progression system:

Step one:

Through trial and error, you would choose a weight that allows you to perform no less than 6 reps and no more than 10 reps without hitting failure on your first two sets otherwise you will sabotage your subsequent sets.

I recommend leaving 2–3 reps in reserve for compound exercises and 1–2 reps in reserve for isolation exercises. That is for all sets…

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Egis R.

I’m Egis, an online weight loss coach who has heightened BS sensors for fitness & nutrition. Only evidence-based & sustainable fat loss. www.absscience.com