Volume – Total amount lifted per session (or per week/training block)
Intensity – The overall % lifted relative to your given Rep Maxes
Density – Doing more done in the same time/same done in less time
Frequency – How many times per week you train a muscle group
Four key elements of programming, however they are often overlooked by many.
When I say this it is in reference to how some novice/intermediate lifters don’t take in to account how to correctly plan them in their workouts to ensure constant progression over the long term.
Often people will look to progress volume and only volume, which sadly leads to a lot of junk volume.
Your numbers on paper might increase in terms of total amount done, but this can be from adding in massive amounts of isolation exercises with very light weights, which does nothing but cause fatigue and provide little to no adaptive stimulus. Essentially the more volume you add in willy-nilly, the lower you make your average intensity.
To establish your total volume: Sets x Reps x Weight = Total Volume
Be careful of that trap.
Many know how to increase intensity. You simply add more weight, simple.
The downside with adding too much intensity is that there is a compromise in the amount of total volume you can lift, so while this is great for getting stronger and making neural connections etc, it does little for adding size because you start to lack the necessary amount of stimulus to do so.
You just can’t lift super heavy weights (relative to your own strength levels) for lot’s of reps.
In most good programs you’ll find the average intensity falls at around 85% of 1RM for each respective lift, with a decent amount of volume (volume differed from person to person specifically, however 80-210 reps seems to be the common theme for hypertrophy at a good average intensity).
How to establish average intensity: Sets x Reps x Weight (all exercises of session) / Reps = Average Intensity
Now, lets talk about density.
A quick example of how it works: You train squats for 45min, total volume is 10,00kg, average intensity is 80%, next session you hit those same numbers in 40min OR you hit 11,000kg in 45min, in both you have increased the density of the session.
^^ That’s also how you establish how dense each session is, how much you’re doing in what times.
Great for keeping your intensity/volume in the right areas while focusing on getting more quality work out and less faffing about.
This is usually a forgotten method of progression, however it’s one of the more useful ones.
Lastly we have frequency.
If you are training a body part once per week you will make progress, plenty of people do, however what they don’t seem to realise is that there is a high degree of crossover in training certain areas, such as chest & arms one day, then shoulders & arms another – both will actually hit similar muscle groups.
It’s common for en especially to have 3-4 upper body sessions in a week when following a standard Bro-Split and only one leg day, this is why their legs end up lagging behind.
In an optimal world you will train each muscle group 2-3 times per week, keeping in mind that some training sessions have cross over to others, here is the typical thought process of how to plans sessions to optimise that crossover:
– Legs: Anterior chain (Quads as main focus, hammies as secondary etc)
– Legs: Posterior chain (Hammies as main focus, quads as secondary etc)
^^ A good 7 day split that hits each muscle group twice per week, you’d do Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday each week 🙂.
All of the above will help you program a successful way to the gains you desire.
The key to progression is progression.
People forget that, please don’t be one of them.
How do you plan your progression in your programs?