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Volume goals and low reps.

Morning all,
 
High reps, low sets are popular for getting in a lot of volume, however you can do the same by using submit weights and lower reps and we shall look at why you should be doing this.
 
Why use low reps higher sets to hit a daily volume goal?
 
1 – You use a higher % of 1RM – say 85% (a technical 6RM) for multiple sets of 2-3 reps until you hit perhaps a 50 rep target. 16-25 sets required.
 
2 – It stimulates more muscle due to it being a higher relative load, more muscle fibres used means more adaptive need, this means more progress.
 
3 – Lifting heavier weights is more fun and provides what is called ‘functional hypertrophy’ – essentially you’re strong and look good, rather than just looking good with nothing back it up.
4 – It’s way more fun.
 
Here is a simple structure to use:
 
High volume workout – 80%+ 1RM – 50 reps – 3 lifts per session: these don’t have to be the sam lift each workout, cover the following movement patterns across the week for optimal results.
 
– Full body – snatch, clean/jerk etc)
– Loaded carry – farmers walk, sand bag carry and so on
– Hinge – deadlift
– Squat – umm well… a squat, obviously
– Pull – Chin up or row perhaps
– Push – Press or a dip
 
^^ The options are endless, just pick a moment and find a lift to go with it.
 
Train movements for miracles.
 
Moderate volume workout – 80%+ 1RM – 30 reps – 3 lifts per session
 
Low volume workout – 80%+ 1RM – 10 reps – 3 lifts per session
 
This volume cycling will allow you to get some much needed recover if you start feeling beaten up, you can utilise the H-M-L as you see fit. A weekly loading high look like this:
 
M – H
T – M
W- L – or off
T – H
F- M
S – M
S – L or off
 
Aim for 80-210 reps of volume per movement per week.
 
Make sense?
 
If you lift heavier weights more often you will find a lot of benefit to strength, muscle mass, fat loss and less boredom from doing endless high rep pump sets.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Low Reps for Muscles?

Can you build muscle on low reps, say 1-3?
 
^^ A question that a lot of people would like to hear a resounding YES for, however while the answer is indeed a yes, it’s not as easy as you may think, let’s look at why.
 
Strength, skill & speed, that’s what most low rep training is for.
 
Typically lower reps are also used for building limit strength and neurological facilitation/connection, this is due to the often high % of relative 1RM meaning that the excessive amounts of volume required to achieve hypertrophy would cripple a mere mortal.
 
Lower reps are also very good at grooving a movement or practicing a skill as you will be forced to reset and perform more first reps, while also amassing less mechanical fatigue.
 
Keeping this in mind, how could you use lower reps to help you build muscle then?
 
There are several ways but these are some of the easiest to apply:
 
– Target Sets
– Super Sets with a ladder format or single rep choice
– Cluster Sets
 
All three can be ran for 3-6 weeks. Here is how they are applied.
 
Target Sets –
 
These are similar in nature to a rest-pause style of training where you will do say 3 reps and then rest briefly to get your oomph back before doing another three and another until you’ve hit your target amount of reps, say 25-50 with 75%+ of your max.
 
Super Sets w/Ladder Format
 
You have an A1/A2 pairing, do 1 rep of each, then two, then three, then back to one and repeat until you can no longer get to three reps.
 
OR
 
You have an A1/A2 pairing, then do 1 rep and keep alternating the exercise until you’ve hit your rep target. This also works well with 2 or 3 reps.
 
Cluster Sets –
 
Let’s say you’re working for a set of 12 reps on a single exercise, you do three then rest 15 seconds, repeat 4 times, the rest before your next set. That’s the format.
 
If you were looking to program a cycle of this training your workouts might look like this:
 
Weeks 1-6 – Target Sets 70-80% 1RM loading
 
A1 – Main Lift 3-8×1 working towards a heavy daily single
B1 – Main Lift at % for 50 rep total as fast as possible
C1 – Accessory movement, your choice of reps
 
Weeks 7-12 – Super Sets 75-85% 1RM loading
 
A1 – Main Lift 3-8×1 working towards a heavy daily single
B1 – Main Lift at % totalling 25-50 reps
B2 – Antagonist exercise to main lift
C1 – Accessory movement, your choice of reps
 
Weeks 13-18 – Cluster Sets 80-90% 1RM loading
 
A1 – Main Lift 3-8×1 working towards a heavy daily single
B1 – Main Lift at % for 3-5 Cluster Sets totalling 25-50 reps
C1 – Accessory movement, your choice of reps
 
This is only a guideline of how you might apply the above methods, there are plenty more you can use. The defining factor to building muscle will always be total volume, to achieve that using low reps you will need to up your workout density (keeping rest to a minimum) and get as many quality reps as you can with ideally 80%+, however that will take time to build up to.
In short, while you can build muscle with low reps it takes a lot more planning, the best rep ranges for hypertrophy has to be 6-12 for 2-6 sets typically, however lower reps are far more fun :).
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How Much Protein?

How much Protein do you need?

Depending on what sources of information you read that number will vary from 0.6g per pound of Lean Body Mass up to 4g per pound.

*Quick Guide at bottom of post.

With all the different opinions which is correct?

Technically they all are, however what is forgotten is the conditions in which the data that give us these numbers is accumulated, not to mention the individual needs of the people used and their respective training goals/needs/training ages/steroid use and much more.

There are a great many factors to determine protein needs. For the average person who trains 3, maybe 4 times per week the best advice is to aim for a starting point of 1g per pound of LBM when looking to maintain and potentially build some muscle. Provided you’re in the correct caloric surplus and have adequate carbs/fats your body will use the protein for its intended purpose – building things.

Why 1g to start? It’s easy to workout the numbers (calories – 100g protein =400 calories for example) and serves as a good starting point. Consuming more protein than you need won’t make you more muscular, unless you’re on steroids and/or your uptake and use of protein is far superior, but having less than you need will prove troublesome as you can’t really build new cells without protein.

Typically to bulk (add muscle) starting by using 1.2g per pound seems to work well for most, try it and see how your body reacts, if you feel you need more than increase it slightly and the same goes for t you feel you ned less, simple.

A worthy fact to remember is when you’re looking to lean out or cut some fat you will want to in fact increase you protein to perhaps 2g per Lb of LBM as a base, this is because of the reduced calories through fats/carbs required to put you in a deficit, the extra protein will help in muscle sparing so that you don’t lose you hard eared muscle.

The topic of protein is very vast and complex, we have kept this very simple and give some basic and easy starting points to use, however, if you want know more of the details then some deep research will be needed  to be done by yourself. I am not going to go in to the complexities because there are articles written by people who are far smarter than me out there who have already done it.

*Quick Guide

Maintenance – 0.8 – 1g per Lb or LBM
Muscle Gain – 1.2 – 1.5g per Lb of LBM
Cutting Fat – 2g per Lb of LBM

These are only guidelines based on current research, make sure you experiment and try varied ranges to find what works best for YOU.

Enjoy,

Ross

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The Secret of Constant Progression: Part 1

When it comes to lifting weights well all want to have a steady progression, but many will stall and find their progress grinding to a halt without much warning.

Do you want to know how to avoid this?
Do you want the knowledge to build strength and muscle consistently?
Do you want to know what many trainers hesitate to tell?

Do you want to know the secret of constant progression?

I am going to write one short post per day about what elements of your training you can tweak that will allow you to continue to progress, they are not as complicated as you may think and on top of that there are only 3 KEY elements you need to be mindful off.

Volume

Intensity

Density

That makes 3 content filled posts for you to increase your knowledge and understanding of lifting weights, progression and progressive overload.

If you hied my advice you will find steady progression for many weeks, months and even years to come, so now we have all of the standard chatter of you the way;

Lets get started.

The route to progression is classed as continued progressive overload*, otherwise known as TOTAL VOLUME. This is the amount of weight you lift in one session, the get stronger or build more muscle you must lift more than you did before; simple right?

*Progressive overload by definition is that in order to adapt/grow we require a gradual increase in volume, intensity, density (frequency/time) in order to achieve the targeted goal of the user. In this context, volume, intensity and density are defined as follows: Volume is the total number of repetitions multiplied by the resistance used as performed in specific periods of time.

Not quite. Trying to constantly lift more weight each week will have you hitting a brick wall much sooner than you might realise, your body needs time to adapt, your ligaments and tendons need time to grow stronger as do your muscles. This is where the concept of volume can become skewed, lifting more weight to achieve more volume does not happen quiet the way you would think.

What is VOLUME?

Volume put simply is the cumulative amount of Sets & Reps you ave performed in that one session (Don’t get confused with Total Volume of Weight Lifted.*), the weight you’re using is known as the INTENSITY, but that’s something to talk about on another day, but as you will learn all 3 elements are intrinsically linked.

*The sum total volume of your weight lifted is what you will calculate at the end of your workout to see how much weight you lifted throughout the entire session and over a prolonged period of time throughout your different training phases, this will become important for establishing your ‘Power Index’, but more on that another day.

Example:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg lifted (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

So theoretically then this would be the next logical step:

Week 2 – 5×5 @ 105kg – 5×105 = 525 – 525×5 = 2625kg lifted (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

This progressive volume thing is easy according to this, the gains will be constant and strong… Or so we would like to believe. You have not changed the volume, you have changed the intensity, yes that has lead to more total volume, but not quiet in the way we are trying to achieve today.

Your body would only progress in this way for a certain period of time before it simply couldn’t handle any more weight for 5 sets of 5 reps, this is when you will need to change the volume load, I.E the amount of set’s and reps you’re doing.

You see, you can can increase your volume from a workout without having to increase the weight, take a look at this example:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

Week 2 – 8×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×8 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 40reps Total Volume

Are you starting to get the picture now?

Week 3 – 10×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×10 = 5000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 50reps Total Volume

*Week 4 Deload to 6×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×6 = 3000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 30reps Total Volume a reduction of 40% Volume, you can have multiple variations of this, but you will learn that over the next few days – This allows your body to back off form he volume but maintain its neuromuscular connections and familiarity with the weight.

As you can see for my rather basic examples above you can increase the VOLUME of your workout by changing the numbers of sets you perform, you can also change the reps but of the purpose of this example I decided to change the sets as it’s easier to see the progression.

That said, if you did want to keep the sets the same but change the reps you might do the following:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

Week 2 – 5×8 @ 100kg – 8×100 = 800 – 800×5 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 40reps Total Volume

Are you starting to get the picture now?

Week 3 – 5×10 @ 100kg – 10×100 = 1000 – 1000×5 = 5000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 50reps Total Volume

*Week 4 Deload to 3×10 @ 100kg – 10×1000 = 1000 – 1000×3 = 3000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 30reps Total Volume a reduction of 40% Volume

AS you can see now from the second example the sets can remain the same and the reps can change, provided your Total Weight Volume is increased you will be progressively overloading, thus getting bigger and stronger.

*PROVIDED YOU’RE EATING ENOUGH!

Hopefully now you have a solid understanding of what Volume is and what it actually means.

Tomorrow I shall be covering Intensity.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below.

Enjoy
Ross

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The Busy Persons Guide to Fitness: Nom Nom Nom

Time is the only thing we have, but more often than not it is filled with tedious tasks such as work, family gatherings and sitting in traffic while the light is green because the learner in front of you has stalled.

Not having enough time also effects trying to eat the ‘right’ foods, nay, eat enough food to avoid crashing and heading straight for the coffee and pro plus can also be a challenge for some. Nutrition is clearly just too large a subject to ever be understood for such a busy person.

All of these can get in the way of achieving a rock solid physique, or can they?

In our world of limited time a simple guide is called for to help those who only have perhaps 2 days per week to train…This is that guide.

I will give you some tips and tricks to help you achieve not only a good physique but also strength and fitness too.

In this 4 part mini series I shall cover the following:

– Nutrition
– Programming – Based on 2 Days Per Week
– Recovery Nutriton
– Progress Tracking

Now you know what to expect, lets get your nutrition requirements sorted.

To get your total calories I would suggest multiplying your weight in lbs by 11 & 13 for fat loss and 17-19 for muscle gain.

*For the purpose of this example I have used 17-19, but I would advise you to use 11-13 when working out your needs.

Now we need to get your basic macro nutrients sorted.

The easiest way to find out how much fat you will need in your diet is to take your weight in lbs (Optimally your lean weight – if you know it.) and multiply that number by 0.3-0.6 to give you the amount in grams you will need per day. Multiply by 9 to find out how many calories this is.

I would say to start on the lower number (0.3). The you can workout your required protein by taking your weight (Again ideally lean.) by 0.8-1.2 depending on your activity level. This will give you your grams of protein needed, them multiply this by 4 to get the calories.

Add those two numbers together and then subtract that number from your total required calories for your specific goal. This will give you what calories you need in terms of carbs, then divide that number by 4 for the grams required.

With the amount of carbs your require in grams multiply that by 10 & 15% to get your fibre intake – this is included in your crabs, not added on top.

Example:

Weight – 175lbs x 19 = 3325 calories
Fat – 175 x 0.3 = 52.5g = 472.5 calories
Protein – 175 x 1.2 = 210g = 840 calories
Carbs – 3325 – 472.5 – 840 = 2012.5/4 = 503g
Fibre – 503 x 0.15 & 0.10 = 75g & 50g

So you will have the following:

Protein – 210g
Carbohydrates – 500g
Fat – 52.5g
Fibre – 50-75g

I would also suggest having 1 litre of water per 25kg of total bodyweight. Add in 1 exert litre for each hour of exercise on your chosen workout days too.

If you happen to like a cheeky drink after work to help wind down then you can use this to help you factor the calories from your chosen beverage.

There is 7 calories per 1 gram of alcohol (Just for your information.) but this isn’t really too relevant for the following. Count your alcohol towards your overall carb content (People we often speak to have carbs left over), simply because it’s easier to accept for this way.

To count your alcohol towards your carbs all you need do is take the number of calories in your chosen beverage and divide it by 4. (If you want to count it towards fat divide the calories in the alcohol by 9.)

If this doesn’t make sense so far please bear with us and keep reading.

Here is an example:

An average pint can have 300 calories per pint.

Divide this by 4 = 75. This can be counted as 75g of carbs.

There you have it. You have successfully accounted for alcohol, but be aware you should not actively try and get smashed just because you can count it in to your macros. There is nothing wrong with a little alcohol, just don’t over do it.

Now you have the guidelines to follow I would suggest downloading an app to help your track how well you’re doing form day to day. You can use a book if that suits you, but apps are easier.

*Try to have 80% of your calories coming from whole foods and 20% from what ever indulgences you desire.

There you have it, the first part of the guide all you busy people need to achieve results like never before.

Enjoy
Ross

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