A lot of my clients have a history of exercise programs that were actually counterproductive to their goals. They have done so much volume training over the years that they are now physically exhausted and nervous system is overwhelmed – with not much to show for it in the form of strength & muscle gains for all the hours they’ve spent training. Typically, it’s the lack of recovery and low energy availability that holding them back.
Saying a workout is too easy or not challenging enough for you based on a feeling of exhausted based on volume alone (number of exercises, sets and/or reps), is an incorrect measurement approach.
The biggest difference between a program that makes you tired & a program that actually improves & gives you results is SMART PROGRESSION.
What we are seeking is the MINIMUM EFFECTIVE DOSE.
Building muscle isn’t about doing as much as you CAN each workout. It’s about doing as much as you NEED. 💪🏼
So, let’s talk about What is under YOUR CONTROL:
👉🏻The weight you choose to use to challenge yourself. It takes awhile to learn how to navigate RPE and RIR scales. According to several studies, when females (trained & untrained) self-select their training loads, they’re not heavy enough to optimize strength
👉🏻How much you think about mind muscle connection, and squeezing each target muscle
👉🏻The tempo you use each rep, which changes the length of the set and overall time under tension (a big contributor to hypertrophy🙌🏻)
👉🏻How much you control the eccentrics, versus letting the weight control you
👉🏻How much you pay attention to form, and really leading with the target muscle and avoiding using others or swinging/using momentum
👉🏻How much you truly try to hit close to your wall within the target reps (ex choosing a weight you can truly only do 10-12 reps with, not a weight you can do 30 reps with) The researchers also indicated that the subjects didn’t appear to approach failure on any set & their ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were identified as only ‘somewhat hard’ (likely not enough intensity of effort to optimize muscle hypertrophy)
The load lifted doesn’t matter as much for optimizing muscle mass as long as effort is high (each set needs to be taken to near failure)
This would suggest the RPE on each set should be interpreted as ‘very very hard’ or ‘very hard’
In these studies, the RPE was only ‘somewhat hard’. Hence, muscle hypertrophy wasn’t optimized
TLTR: Taking your workouts to 7, 8, 10+ exercises per workout still can be “too easy” if you aren’t executing your lifts correctly. Conversely, you can leave the gym crippled after just 3-4 exercises with the right intensity😳
And what’s more, if you start approaching your sets with the correct mindset, focus and intensity: YOU WILL SEE WAY MORE & FASTER PROGRESS🙌🏻🙌🏻🎉
Who wouldn’t want that?!The next time you feel like a workout isn’t hard enough, run through this list of all the elements within your control and challenge yourself with the question: Is there any more I can do here?! 💪🏻
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