One of the hardest things to do when creating a training program for anyone is deciding if everything you wrote down was really that necessary.
It’s always easier to say yes than it is to say no especially when you know you can handle the extra. The cool thing about the human body is that it can take a lot of stress when it needs to. This is vital in life or death situations but when it comes to the gym, it’s not such a good thing anymore for most people.
For example, just a couple of weeks ago I started training again after 2 months of inconsistent training. I started with a modified version of Jason Ferrugia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets program (which is freaking awesome and you can get it right HERE).
I started with 4 sets of 5 goblet squats with a 100 pound dumbbell. I was repping it out like there was no tomorrow and when tomorrow came, it sucked…. Really really bad.
My hamstrings and glutes where being roasted 24/7 for 2 weeks. I could barely get into a full squat position without breaking down let alone trying to work out again. Even upper body workouts were useless as the pain was just sitting there and wouldn’t budge.
The worst part was that I didn’t even get any results from it. Even though it was only one training session, I felt like I should have gotten something from it…
After those 2 weeks, I restarted again with 1 set of 10 on week 1-3 while adding an extra set every week. Not only did I not feel any soreness, the muscle just grew like weeds on me.
The moral of this story is that you should be questioning everything you write down on that piece of paper you call a training program.
It’s always easy to add stuff in. Just look at Crossfit. Those guys don’t give a fuck what they do and the results they get. They just want get in, train till they heart bursts through their chest, pick it up, and leave.
On the other hand, it’s hard to take things out. What many don’t realize is that recovery is just as if not MORE important than the actual training session itself.
Training is where you provide stimulus to the body and recovery is where you reap the rewards. Without recovery, you will not get results.
At the very beginning of a program, things such as intensity or volume will increase overtime. Actually, at every part of a program, something will be increasing. This is the rule of progressive overload.
There will come a point though that you can only handle so much while still increasing variables in a program, especially if you play sports and or don’t have the greatest capacity to recover faster.
If all you need is 3 sets of 6 to get your targeted result, is 3 sets of 8 really that necessary? It’s not like you are going to build extra muscle because of it.
Of course, there are some times in a program where you should go beyond what you need but most of the time, you will not need to and if you don’t need it, why do it?
If your main goal is jump higher or punch harder and you need to work on your posterior chain, then deadlifts and or glute thrusts would take up most of your lower body training. Because of that, your squat volume should go down.
Simple, easy, but not everyone does it.
This doesn’t mean though that if you add a couple of reps on something, everything should go down. This is subjective as it is about science.
Some people do really good with high volume/frequency training and others don’t but when it comes down to it, certain parts of a program demand more overall focus than others.
If you are a hardgainer and trying to build muscle, maybe you shouldn’t be doing too much aerobic training and instead focus more on the resistance training.
If you are a powerlifter trying to get your deadlift up, it might not be smart to be sprinting 4 times a week.
If you are trying to burn fat, maybe it’ll be better if you do “just enough” work on your power movements than it is to spend most of your time on it and neglecting the circuit that comes right after.
If you are going to train biceps 3 times a week, then you don’t need to do 12 sets of curls every workout.
If you play a sport 4-5 days a week, it might not be the best idea to go to the weight room 4 times a week.
Remember, the goal of training is to provide a stimulus. Preferably the exact and minimum amount of stimulus you need for your goal.
Recovery is where you get the results of the stimulus you placed on your body.
Train hard, recover hard.
When in doubt, ask yourself “is that really necessary?” If it’s not, take it out and focus on what is.