One of the most misunderstood training myths out there is that “more is better”. A lot of folks are under the presumption that if a little of something is good, then more must of course be better. Everything is good….to a degree. There is a point at which more is simply unnecessary and actually has diminishing returns.
There is a fine line that exists between doing more because it is deemed appropriate and will likely be effective vs. doing more simply for the sake of doing more. Often times, I believe that people have a lack of understanding about the implications of adding more volume in to a training program. As a result, they end up doing more without understanding the impact it will have on the training program as a whole and end up having a difficult time recovering from the volume of training.
Too often, I find that folks haphazardly add exercises, sets, reps and workouts to their current regimen without having any real basis for why they’re doing what they’re doing. A few tips I offer folks who ask “should I add this/that to what I’m already doing”? Well, the answer is, it depends. It depends on a wide range of factors, but let’s start with the simple question; “what is the desired outcome of your training program”? How they answer this question will dictate the answer I give. A difficult part about strength training is remaining focused on your desired goals and not changing course unless appropriate, because then you end up like this ship pictured below (slang term is program hopping).
Don’t begin adding more to your program simply because your friend is doing a certain exercise or because you think it’s cool. Now don’t get me wrong, training should be enjoyable, fun, and doing things you like, but add to your training program because it makes sense from a scientific standpoint.
So, how do you know whether or not you should add/remove exercises, sets, reps, etc. from your current training program?
I encourage clients to keep a training journal and monitor several variables. Those variables include;
- Resting heart rate upon waking
- Energy levels throughout the day
- Mood (i.e. are you becoming increasingly irritable?)
- Sleep quality (is your sleep disturbed or did you sleep straight through the night),
- How are you recovering in between training sessions?
By keeping a training journal and monitoring these few variables, it makes it easier to tease out volume/intensity adjustments to your training.
- Keep a training journal
- Don’t add volume, exercises, sets, reps simply for the sake of adding.
- Give your current program and any adjustments you make ample time to work. Too many people change too many variables too quickly. When you change a variable, give it 3-4 weeks to note the changes.
- CHANGE ONE VARIABLE AT A TIME! I see people make this mistake all the time, they change 3 – 4variables all at once and then if something does/doesn’t work, they have no idea what worked or what didn’t.
If you have questions, please fill out the contact form below and I’ll be glad to help any way I can.