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How to Progress Resistance Training


Not all exercises progress at the same rate.

  • Each muscle group will be ready to progress at different times.
  • Do not progress if you do not feel comfortable when doing the exercise.

To make sure you continue to challenge your muscles and make them stronger, it is important for you to progress your resistance training exercises. This means that, as your muscles get used to the weight you lift, something has to change. This could be how much weight you lift or how many times you lift the weight.

  1. Progress your program when you can perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions comfortably.
  2. Gradually increase the number of repetitions from 10 to 15.
  3. Increase the weight by 2 to 5 lbs and reduce the reps back to 10.

Remember: your RPE should never be any higher than 16

Example of How to Progress Your Resistance Training Program

Week of RT Program​# of Sets# of Repetitions​​Change in Weight Lifted
​3​210​​No change in weight
​4​2​Increase to 12​No change in weight
​5​2​Increase to 14​​​No change in weight
​6​2​Increase to 15​​No change in weight
​7​2​Decrease to 10​Increase in weight (see below)
​8​2​Increase to 11​​No change in weight

If you are using dumbbells they increase in the following weight increments:

Lightest Heaviest
1 lb2 lbs3 lbs5 lbs8 lbs10 lbs12 lbs15 lbs20 lbs25 lbs30 lbs35 lbs40 lbs

You can follow the same progression with exercise bands as you do with weights. When you are ready to reduce the number of reps back down to 10, move to a higher resistance band. Exercise bands increase in resistance by the following colours:

Lightest Heaviest
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