How hard is that really going to be?
Awesome post Steve. I think every beginner and intermediate lifter should read this.
I'd just like to share something of my personal experience to this.
I see many lifters be it bodybuilder or powerlifter posting about this program or that they are doing and expecting quick gains. I've been doing this a long time. Much of that time has been wasted making various mistakes. I've left lifting and returned to it a few times. I've followed bad programs combined with bad diets. I wasn't genetically gifted to begin with (not to launch into a tangent on that).
I'm going to mention the program I was just on not to advocate anything in particular but to make a point. For the past few months I have been doing a twice/week program with a heavy/light day setup. One day was 10x3 and the other was 10x10. Week in and week out I hit bench hard 2x/week using this approach. Workouts were long and hard. The 10 sets of triples were straining and the 10 sets of tens were draining (that rhymed).
I've heard both of these programs referred to as "shock" programs before. I've heard outrageous claims of 10x3 putting 30 lbs on your bench in a month and 10x10 putting on 10lbs of muscle in 6 weeks. Now I don't wish to argue over whether I was overtraining...I've built my work capacity up over months and years of training and I was recovering.
My point is I went in, I did grueling work, logged it and went home. I continued this week after week on a program some people would call crazy or others would say should turn me into Arnold if I can recover from it. I'm at a point where there won't be any 30lbs on your bench fast programming. I added 2.5 lbs a week until I stalled, reset 10lbs and repeated. I hoped for 5 lbs in 4-6 weeks and I got it. I added 10lbs or so to my bench and squat. I had no crazy expectations and I did it even when I wasn't sure I would make it.
This is the attitude you have to adopt. "Do you work and go home. Do what you do and get what you get". This should be your mantra. Your graph of progress might not be a nice looking continuous slope, in fact I can promise you it won't be. In all the time I did that program I never bragged about or even thought how "intense" or "hardcore" I was being. Those who adopt that attitude or approach are sure to fail. I was simply training and monitoring progress. If the training isn't getting results, make some changes. I assure you that the road ahead is long, hard and wrought with many perils. Do not be discouraged and always see your failures as what they are - a valuable learning experience in the iron game.
Sorry if that got rambly. Over and out!