TRAINING VOLUME : THE BASICS OF STRENGTH TRAINING
LUKASZ RARÓG, 24-09-2019
Training plan should be designed in a detailed and individual way. First, it should determine the goal we want to achieve during a given training period and how to manoeuvre training parameters in order to create an effective training program.
Training volume is one of the most important training parameters. It plays a key role how muscles adapt to strength training. We can objectively measure what work we have done in a given training unit , muscle group or during certain amount of time.
It can be expressed by the following formula: number of series x number of repetitions x load
These parameters can be specified in relation to a particular training unit, a week or a training cycle. In practice, performing 5 sets of bench press on a horizontal bench ,100 kg of 10 reps gives us a training volume of 5000 kilograms, which is our volume in the bench press.
We must remember that constant increase in training volume is one of the most important factors affecting muscle growth and sports development of an athlete. It is carried out by means of progressive body adaptation to increasing training stimuli. However, how do you know how much you should workout during a week for to achieve an optimal muscle growth?
Training volume Landmarks
At the beginning we need to know the meaning of VOLUME LANDMARK. These are landmarks of the training volume,more precisely they determine the amount of work done. Thanks to them, we are able to determine whether it is sufficient for the right stimulus for muscle adaptation and growth, or whether our volume is too high and exceeds the point where our body is no longer able to recover.
The landmarks are divided into:
For people who have never trained, MV is zero. However, if we've built up some muscle mass while training, we need to do a certain amount of work to maintain that muscle mass. Fortunately, the amount of work needed to maintain current muscle mass is not large. It is about 6 sets for each muscle part per week.
Beginners should remain close to this limit whereas it should be a starting point for those at intermediate. Advanced athletes will have a slightly higher level of MEV than beginners. According to research, it stays within 8-12 sets per muscle group for an average person.
This is the number of sets that leads to the optimal growth of our muscles in a given training period. It increases from training to training. It is the point where we want to stay the longest, because the stimulus is right and we achieve adaptation.
It is very important to understand the correlation between our individual landmarks and our experience / time spent in the gym.
BEGINNERS VS. ADVANCED
One should remember that the minimum volume point to maintain adaptation between these two groups will be completely different. Beginners will have to do a very small amount of work to provide the right stimulus. More advanced will have to perform, e.g. 3 sets of a given exercise to maintain their form and provide a stimulus to maintain strength, muscle mass or other motor ability.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO WHEN RESULTS DON'T COME?
It was supposed to be so amazing. Better training results, fit body, larger biceps and toned abs. You stick to a training plan but results don’t want to come. What then?
Dr. Mike Isretel found that if you're doing 20-30 sets jobs per week and your progression doesn't come and you're stagnant then you should lower the number of sets rather than increase it. The reason for the lack of progression is usually the lack of adequate recovery. The type of exercise also affects the selected volume. Leg extension will cause less damage than, for example, deadlift.
Their volume will vary, because we will be able to perform more sets of leg extensions and our body will be able to recover from them faster than it would from a deadlift.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN RESEARCH?
First, we should approach them as landmarks for our training, a compass showing the direction but not the exact path. How does it translate into practice:
Number of sets for larger muscle groups should be closer to the limit of 10-15 sets per week at the beginning of your training program and gradually increase over the course of the program until it reaches the limit of 20 sets for heavier exercises and 30 sets for less strenuous exercises at the end of a several-week program.