There is a reason they say that that less is more.
It might seem counterintuitive in the fitness industry, especially given that to make progress you need to provide your body with a stimulus that forces adaptation and then to keep progressing the stimuli needs to continue too increase.
So that law in itself means you must always do more, right?
From a basic standpoint, yes, but from a longevity and realistic progression one, no.
Have you heard of MED – minimum effective dose – it means doing the least amount you need to ensure progression.
A lot of people tend to opt for the other option known as MRV – maximal recoverable volume – both are similar, yet hammering yourself with the most you can recover from and doing what you need to do to trigger growth/adaptation don’t always go hand in hand, even though they should.
This is because of what we end up doing, which is usually too much because we come from a world where more is considered better, when it’s usually just more.
The fact is is a great many people did what they should and in fact needed to be doing they’d progress faster and have better results, that’s a fact.
Over the years I personally have tried to do too much and as a result spent a long time not really progressing the way I’d hoped. A lack of sufficient recovery lead to sessions being less intense than they should have been, I’m sure you’re guilty of this as well.
Take for example a set of 5, you should be using around 80% of your 1RM for this, I bet you don’t because 80% is a hefty lump and it’s hard, you don’t like working hard, do you….
If you ever look at a typical gym bro (natural or not), they grow, not because they have a special gym routine but because they train as hard as they should each session and force the body to adapt. Well, at least their upper body anyway, legs tend to be forgotten.
Most will train as follows:
– Legs (skipped)
So 4x upper body session per week, these end up as a pushing/pulling format as triceps usually get hit with chest/shoulders and biceps are done on back day and then again on arm day.
Each session will they will give it their all. I can vouch for this 100% because I’ve seen it in person and for all their faults of skipping legs and big compound lifts that are hard and make them look weak because they don’t train them (ego is a fragile thing), what they do train, they train with intensity and a sense of purpose so fierce it’s frightening.
A limiting factor for many is time, so the time they have they use well, going to the point that many won’t, thats the secret to their success.
The better ones usually have good form as well.
The successful ones do what they need to do, not more. It’s the ones who try to do too much that don’t progress because they think more is better and it’s not, it’s just more.
What can you learn from the basic gym bro?
– Lift to the point just short of failure (keeping a couple of reps in the bag before form goes)
– Lift as heavy as weight as your body will allow with good form
– Intensity, Intensity, Intensity
– Rest is important
– Be willing to go in to places mentally that others won’t, you’ll need strength when things get tough
When it comes to my personal results, the best ones came after injury (major knee damage), training wen’t down to 2xpw at the start, then up to three days and I had no choice but to make each one count.
The added rest allowed me to push hard in each session, something I’d not been able to do previously when training more because I was simply faffing about for lack of a better term.
How can you apply this to your training?
– Limit training days 3xper week for example
– Limit training session light 45-115min
– Limit exercises to 3-5 movements
– Limit sets to 3-6
– Set rep goals (25, 50, 100 etc)
– Push sets to the limit
Remember you can do it all, train like you only have some much time and you’ll find you work harder and progress faster because you’re doing what you need to be doing to maximise your session.
Just because it’s less, don’t think it’s easier.