Barbarian Strong: A Barbarian’s Guide to Linear Progression for Beginners

Hail Barbarians! Long days and pleasant nights! Avenger: Endgame is out now, who is excited? Well, I will watch it next week, so I guess I will have to put up with everyone else. As much as I am a fan of the movie franchise and the comics, I do not mind missing out. My world would not stop because I watched it a bit later than everyone else. But you know what would definitely make my world stop? Being weak. Now, now, now, I am not trying to be condescending so hold your horses. There is a reason why our uncivilized ancestors were able to fend off predators with a stick and a stone. That is because they were strong, sure they are a bunch of brutes and primitive but they do know how to survive. That is why strength is the foundation of survival (thanks to Darwin!), in my opinion of course.

I remember myself saying “I would never touch those (barbell)…” or “I would rather run”. But to be honest, I am scared and insecure so I make up excuses not to. I kept on making excuses not to be better,  out of fear and insecurity until I hit rock bottom. It was during those low points in my life that I decided to take up physical training.

As a young boy, I took up taekwondo and was lucky enough to represent my school in both city and regional competitions. Then I grew older and my physical development was put to a back seat and I focused on my studies and my work later on.  It was only recently that I picked up my physical training again (5 years ago ). First, I started long distance running which did not work for me. Then I started barbell training. Yep, the thing that I swore never to touch. I finally got the courage to pick up a barbell and fell in love with it. Then I took up Brazillian Jui-Jitsu and Muay Thai, which I suck at by the way but I enjoy doing. Now, with all this talk about training did not turn me into an underwear model. To be honest, I looked normal, maybe a bit better but it definitely made me feel confident about myself.

Enough of myself, and back to getting stronger. Once, there was a Greek wrestler named Milo of Croton who has started carrying a young calf on his back at a young age. As he grew, so did the calf and continued to practice until he could manage to hoist the grown bull on his back in his prime. Too bad the ancient Greek did not have social media to substantiate Milo’s claim. But hey, ancient Greece has not let me down so I will take their word for it.

Linear Progression is old news actually, Milo figured it out so as those who came after him. But remained as a staple to anyone who wishes to be strong because it works.

Again, my friends, I am no way claiming to be some expert. I am just writing my experience on what worked for me and what I understood of the process as I go along. There are tons of articles about strength training in general and I advise you to educate yourself.

The concept of Linear Progression is simple. Keep making small increments to the weight that is being lifted each session for as long as possible. Simply put, continue to increase the weight until “progress” is no longer happening. It is an essential training concept for any beginner lifters should utilize before proceeding to a more sophisticated method of getting strong.

How does Linear Progression work? The idea is to expose your body to a little more stress than it is used to. Then adapt to that stress and apply slightly greater stress the next time. This cycle of stress and adaptation allows your body to develop. This is a process of breaking down and building up muscle allows you to build strength over time.

For Linear Progression to work, one must think of the long haul. Since you are adding small increments per session (2.5 lbs – 5 lbs), progress will be slow but steady. Avoid doing huge increments that would lead to injuries. I do not see the point of risking injury when in fact you are not competing. I suggest doing it for your general fitness and strength (looking good naked will come after, trust me).

Depending on how you are eating, results may vary from fat loss to an increase in muscle mass. But there will definitely change in workload capacity and body composition. After trying out some popular linear progression programs, my workload capacity has definitely improved. Being able to perform a menial physical task with ease that was taxing. I was able to run 5 k with less difficulty and have been able to move the furniture around the house by myself. There is also a definite change in aesthetics (yet, still no 6 packs; but to be honest 6 pack abs are stupid). From a skinny 120 lbs to 144 lbs and was happy with the weight I gained. I got bigger on the thighs and developed my buttock. I gain some size on the chest and back area. Sure, it is not underwear model kind of physique but it is not bad at all and I am definitely a lot stronger than I used to.

Again, I cannot state enough how important strength is for a man. Given that we are the gender with the most amount of testosterone in our system. We are more capable of gaining more muscle mass and thus strength. But ladies, that does not mean you cannot be strong; quite contrary as a matter of fact. We just have different levels of chemicals that yield different outcomes.

Linear progression coupled with good nutrition and enough rest could do wonders on any beginner who wishes to be strong. Training does not mean you can be overindulgent in your eating habits or sleep (or the lack thereof). It is a long term step for your health and you should learn to trust and enjoy the process. There are a variety of linear progression programs and countless resources; so feel free to educate yourself. Be a tireless student in your pursuit of making yourself better. A few examples of linear progression programs that I have tried:

All those mentioned above are designed for absolute beginners. Aside from the obvious physical benefits, training has helped me in overcoming anxiety. As an added benefit, physical training helped me developed a tough mentality. I could as far say that physical training has helped me become a better man.

Strength is not vanity, not much like the excuses weak people have. Strength is confidence, may it be physical strength or strength of character. Strength makes you harder to kill, thus giving you more chance for survival. To be strong means discipline and hard-work, not excuses. Strength almost fixes everything in life and makes everything better.

Strength is not obsolete…

Now ask yourself “on whose shoulder does the world rest upon?”

“The weak fall, but the strong will remain and never go under!” ― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

7 thoughts on “Barbarian Strong: A Barbarian’s Guide to Linear Progression for Beginners

Add yours

  1. ultimately is feeling better with ourselves and being healthier for the long haul. i like this concept of linear progression, can be applied to other areas in life, introducing stress in increments to build strength.

    Liked by 2 people

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