Are Isolation Movements Better for Muscle Growth? | Which Comes First: Strength or Hypertrophy? | Do I Need Rest Days? | Overtraining vs. Overreaching | Stability Quantity and Depth | The Power of Autoregulation

Periodization in powerlifting coaching is commonly underappreciated at greatest, or fully butchered at worst.

On one hand, we are able to discover lifters working the identical monotonous scheme of reps and units for months on finish with no idea of progressive overload questioning why they are not making any progress.

However, we have now lifters who redline each single exercise, maxing out at RPE 20 for each set, additionally questioning why they’ve hit a plateau of their efficiency.  

The perfect mixture of quantity and depth should shift over the course of a coaching macrocycle to mitigate fatigue and maximize positive factors. Finding that balance between how a lot work you are doing with whole reps, units, and cargo (quantity) how heavy you are lifting (depth) is essential to make sure that you make progress, avoid injury, and are as ready as doable for meet day.

Defining the Preferrred Stability

Health and fatigue are typically inversely associated, so if the purpose is to optimize performance and progress, extreme fatigue is the enemy.

Stability very best coaching quantity and depth with the best merchandise to maximise your positive factors. 


The athlete who ceaselessly exceeds his personal capability for coaching quantity and depth will not achieve the long term. Extra just isn’t all the time higher! Sure, it feels nice to push past barriers in coaching—which will be carried out strategically—however what issues most is that you just execute simply sufficient quantity to drive the specified variations with out impeding your efficiency in future classes. This goal is named your most recoverable quantity (MRV).

On the different finish of the spectrum is the athlete who constantly trains properly beneath his capability, unable to supply a robust sufficient stimulus to elicit muscle growth and power positive factors. This athlete might have a lift in quantity to realize the suitable loading dosage. This idea is named your minimal efficient quantity (MEV)—the edge of labor that should be reached in coaching to make regular, noticeable enhancements.  

What the Science Says

Analysis has proven that anywhere from 5-20 sets per week will be sufficient to drive power and hypertrophy positive factors. That’s a fairly large vary. Furthermore, “excessive quantity” is relative to every particular person athlete, which means excessive quantity for one individual could also be properly beneath one other athlete’s MEV.

As a substitute of assigning your self an arbitrary variety of units to interrupt by way of a coaching plateau, attempt boosting your current volume by 20 %, monitoring your progress for 8-12 weeks, and re-assessing from there.

Barbell squat

Listed here are a number of inquiries to ask your self when monitoring your progress:  

If power is your purpose:

  • Am I getting stronger?
  • Am I lifting the identical weight for extra reps or at a decrease RPE worth?  
  • Am I getting extra run-down and the weights simply aren’t going up?  

If muscular hypertrophy your purpose:

  • Am I placing on lean muscle mass?  
  • Can I see constructive modifications in physique composition?  
  • Am I extremely sore/unable to maintain up with the coaching frequency and depth?  

Ideally, quantity and depth will intermingle inside a periodized training program. Whereas there are lots of methods to create periodization, one of many easiest methods is to alternate accumulation with intensification, working in the direction of a closing peaking part previous to competitors.

Through the accumulation part, additionally known as the hypertrophy phase, quantity is excessive and depth is average. This 4-6 week part is when the lifter sees the best positive factors in work capability, ability acquisition, and muscle dimension. 

Subsequent comes the intensification part, which is when—you guessed it—depth will increase. Whereas the number of sets might barely lower throughout these 3-6 weeks, general work carried out is anticipated to extend throughout this part. Fatigue is excessive throughout this part, however issues actually begin to come collectively by way of noticeable progress.

Because the competitors approaches, taper quantity again much more in the course of the 1-2 weeks of the peaking part. That is to prevent unwanted fatigue accumulation, which may very well be detrimental to an athlete’s efficiency on meet day. Throughout this time, depth stays excessive to supply enough stimulus for maximal pressure manufacturing, whereas performing fewer units helps mitigate the chance of extreme tissue harm and subsequent irritation that may be related to high-volume coaching.

Quantity and depth play a endless recreation of cat and mouse as you chase most positive factors with minimal fatigue. In case you follow the program and all the pieces goes as anticipated (which, I’d add, it not often ever does), you may be completely peaked on your testing day and as ready as doable to take that barbell for a experience.

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