Productive or Destructive?

Chances are you’re aware of the evolution of how many training days I will now suggest most people do per week.
 
2-4 works well for many, with 3 splitting the difference 😂
 
While it is true that this attitude comes from years of making mistakes and doing too much it is not without some aspects of the past.
 
You see training less, or doing less better doesn’t mean pissing about.
 
Your sessions still want to be worth your time.
 
This will mean putting in a decent amount of intensity/effort each time you step foot in the gym, that doesn’t mean killing yourself for the sake of it.
 
There is a big difference between intense training that is productive and and intense one that is destructive.
 
Which would you rather – Productive or Destructive?
 
Many think that the training they do is the former when in reality it’s the latter and because of this they struggle to make progress.
 
When you delve into the training literature you’ll find that volume & intensity are not as inversely related as you might think.
 
True enough you still need to wave the loading and play with the volume* levels however many can work far harder than they realise and the result of not doing so is progress/gains being left on the gym floor.
 
*A volume reduction every third or fifth session by 40-60% is a good way to not burn out, intensity can be kept in the 70-85% 1RM range by doing this.
 
**If you venture in to the 90%+ realms you will last about three weeks as this level, then you may need to back off for 6-9weeks before going back to this height again.
 
Many are becoming more aware of this though.
 
The introduction of ‘Effective Reps’ lately has helped many.
 
You will find the common theme is that you need to have 15-35 effective reps per movement to make progress.
 
Say you do 5 sets of 5 with 90% of your 5RM, fresh yo will find the first 2 sets of 5 may have no real effective reps due to the muscle recruitment needed, set 3 you might get 2, then 3 on set 4 and perhaps 4 on set 5, yielding 9 total effective reps.
 
This is not new information.
 
I remember writing about this back in 2010 (the muscle fibre recruitment side of things and how more sets lead to greater fatigue and thus great muscular recruitment), I shall try and dig it up.
 
You see often 5×5 isn’t 5×5, it’s actually 2×5.
 
The first three sets while they are ‘working sets’ they’re not ‘WORKING SETS’ due to the bodies neurological firing/ramping processes.
 
It is at times like these where knowing how the numbers work can make all the difference.
 
Here is a short version that you can apply literally today:
 
– Lifting sub max RM loads you’d do well to add 2-3 extra sets (7×5 instead of 5×5)
 
– Using 100% RM loads you’d do well to do 2-3reps less than the RM load (sets of 8 with 10RM load)
 
– TUL is important, you want to create as much tension from rep 1 as possible and aim to keep this throughout the entire set (or ideally generate more tension if possible)
 
A nifty way to apply this in training without needing to know the numbers though is as follows – Ramping.
 
Ramping:
 
– Pick a rep range (6)
– Do sets of 6 adding weight until you hit the 6RM for the day.
 
Next Options:
 
– Drop down 10% and rep sets of 6 until you lose a rep, then drop another 5% and repeat.
 
Looks like this – 6RM = 100kg, -10% to 90kg 6,6,6,6,5, -5% to 85kg 6,6,6,4 – finished for the day on lift movement.
 
Alternatively:
– Hit the top 6, rest 5min and repeat the same load, do this as many times as possible with good form.
 
Looks like this – 6RM = 100kg, rest 6, rest 6, rest, 6 rest, 4 now done for the day.
 
Finally:
– Hit the top 6, drop 20% off the load and re-ramp, repeat this from the original 20% drop until speed/tension/form can no longer be maintained.
 
Looks like this – 6RM = 100kg, -20%, 80kg re-ramp>97kg, -20%, 80kg re-ramp>90kg, -20% 80kg re-ramp>85kg – a good place to stop for the day.
 
While simple they are effective ways of getting in more quality work.
 
Remember that you don’t need to spend hours training.
 
You do however how to train with intent, otherwise you’re merely there for the sake of being there and while people may say that you doing something is better than nothing I can tell you without any hesitation it’s not.
 
Something isn’t better than nothing.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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