Brains and Brawn… Turn the volume up for a great workout
Published 9:28 am Thursday, February 10, 2022
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BY CHAD SALYER
When you do something over and over for a very long time, it can become a thing you do on auto-pilot. This is like when you drive to work and barely remember the drive at all.
Spacing out during a tedious task is one way your brain copes with boredom. Your body has a similar way of coping with working out.
If you do the same reps and sets with similar weights for a very long time, it begins to affect your body less and less. If you find this happening during your workouts, it is definitely time to mix things up.
One way to mix things up is to change the “volume” of your workout.
This number is the weight used times the repetitions completed. So, if you completed a bench press workout with 200 pounds for 5 sets of 5 reps, your volume for that workout would be 200 x 5 x 5 or 5000.
This may seem like a high volume, but it could be much higher. If that person had been doing basically the same weight for the same reps and sets for a long time, the stress on the muscle which leads to muscle growth is probably very low.
Instead of your habitual sets and reps, try a max volume workout to shock the muscles and give you the most for your time spent in the gym.
A good place to start is about 50% of your max lift for 10 sets of 10 reps. Imagine if the lifter above reduced the weight to 150, but completed 10 sets of 10 for 100 total reps.
The volume would be 150 X 10 X 10 or 15000. That is 3 times the volume of the previous workout! Your body will feel it too, trust me. Every set might be fairly easy, but the net of the workout will be intense.
So, if you forget the tired old sets and reps you have been doing for the past many years, reduce the weight to something around one-half of your one-rep max, and blast out 10 sets of 10 reps you can actually increase the muscle stress.
You can get bigger while using less weight. It really is a win-win.
Now, you shouldn’t rely exclusively on high-volume workouts. High-volume workouts with low weight and high reps mixed with lower volume using high weight and low reps will work best.
I program my workouts to have a month or so of high-volume and then a month of lower-volume workouts. Anytime one of those strategies starts giving you poor results, switch it up.
Don’t let your workouts go on auto-pilot.
Instead, grab the wheel and steer yourself towards strength and fitness.