Hybrid Mindset Blog

The Two Types Of Muscle Growth

Posted by Lacey Byrd on

 The Two Types Of Muscle Growth

 

Becoming bigger, stronger and better-looking is one of the primary goals of many individuals that decide to take on weight training.

 

And while training may seem pretty straightforward, there are actually many different types of adaptations that can occur.

 

All the functional ones however, are dependent on the adaptations that happen in the muscles!

 

So let’s have a look at the two types of muscle growth and help you find out which style of training would therefore be suitable for your goals.

 

But First…

 

Muscle Fiber Types

 

Depending on the activity that you are doing throughout your training sessions, you can activate different types of muscle fibers.

 

Generally speaking, there are two of them:

 

  1. Fast-twitch muscle fibers
  2. Slow-twitch muscle fibers

 

At low levels of intensity (i.e jogging or using a light dumbbell) you only activate the slow-twitch muscle fibers.

 

Those fibers are fit for low-intensity work that is long in duration and are not really great at producing force and power, so think of these as your ‘endurance muscle fibers’.

 

The more your training intensity grows however, the more fast-twitch muscle fibers you recruit, in order to endure the load.

 

These fast-twitch muscle fibers were designed for high-intensity performance - Short, explosive bursts of power.

 

Think of the fast-twitch muscle fibers as the fibers you want to engage when building muscle, because these fibers have the greatest potential for growth as well as power output.

But Is It Just The Fibers That Grow?

As we mentioned, training may seem pretty simple at first - You lift heavy weights consistently and, well… You grow bigger and stronger.

 

However, you can get big in different ways, because different styles of training lead to a different type of muscle growth.

 

It is considered that there are two main types of muscle hypertrophy:

 

  1. Myofibrillar hypertrophy
  2. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy

 

Let’s have a look at each one, individually.

 

Myofibrillar hypertrophy is the increase in size of the muscle contractile units, called ‘myofibrils’ and commonly known as “muscle fibers”.

 

These muscle fibers are the contractile elements of the trained muscle groups, which allow contraction and relaxation.

 

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, on the other hand, is the growth of the ‘sarcoplasm’, which is basically a jelly-like fluid that surrounds the muscle fibers.

 

The sarcoplasm contains different non-contractile elements, which can grow in volume, depending on the type of training.

 

So What Training Triggers Either?

 

It appears that the myofibrils are more closely related to maximum output of strength and explosiveness, while their sarcoplasm is engaged during intense, yet longer loads.

 

In other words, myofibrillar hypertrophy is a result of a powerlifting approach to weight training, where you do 1-5 repetitions.

 

Oppositely, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is a result of a bodybuilding approach to training, where you do 6-15+ repetitions with heavy weights.

 

Now of course, these are not mutually exclusive!

 

Though myofibrillar hypertrophy primarily results in increased maximum and relative strength, you have those adaptations with the other type of hypertrophy too, BUT… They are not as prominent.

 

Take-Home Message

 

Our musculature appears to be flexible, having the chance to adapt for both short, very intense training bouts, or, medium intensity, prolonged bouts.

 

This is possible because of the nervous system, our wonderful muscle fibers and their energy reserves!

 

Whatever your goal may be, try to stimulate both types of muscle growth, as well as other functions like balance, agility, coordination, etcetera.


Become a functional human being!

 

To have a fitness and nutrition program built for you, visit www.hybridathletetraining.com

Read more

The Two Types Of Muscle Growth

Posted by Lacey Byrd on

 The Two Types Of Muscle Growth

 

Becoming bigger, stronger and better-looking is one of the primary goals of many individuals that decide to take on weight training.

 

And while training may seem pretty straightforward, there are actually many different types of adaptations that can occur.

 

All the functional ones however, are dependent on the adaptations that happen in the muscles!

 

So let’s have a look at the two types of muscle growth and help you find out which style of training would therefore be suitable for your goals.

 

But First…

 

Muscle Fiber Types

 

Depending on the activity that you are doing throughout your training sessions, you can activate different types of muscle fibers.

 

Generally speaking, there are two of them:

 

  1. Fast-twitch muscle fibers
  2. Slow-twitch muscle fibers

 

At low levels of intensity (i.e jogging or using a light dumbbell) you only activate the slow-twitch muscle fibers.

 

Those fibers are fit for low-intensity work that is long in duration and are not really great at producing force and power, so think of these as your ‘endurance muscle fibers’.

 

The more your training intensity grows however, the more fast-twitch muscle fibers you recruit, in order to endure the load.

 

These fast-twitch muscle fibers were designed for high-intensity performance - Short, explosive bursts of power.

 

Think of the fast-twitch muscle fibers as the fibers you want to engage when building muscle, because these fibers have the greatest potential for growth as well as power output.

But Is It Just The Fibers That Grow?

As we mentioned, training may seem pretty simple at first - You lift heavy weights consistently and, well… You grow bigger and stronger.

 

However, you can get big in different ways, because different styles of training lead to a different type of muscle growth.

 

It is considered that there are two main types of muscle hypertrophy:

 

  1. Myofibrillar hypertrophy
  2. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy

 

Let’s have a look at each one, individually.

 

Myofibrillar hypertrophy is the increase in size of the muscle contractile units, called ‘myofibrils’ and commonly known as “muscle fibers”.

 

These muscle fibers are the contractile elements of the trained muscle groups, which allow contraction and relaxation.

 

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, on the other hand, is the growth of the ‘sarcoplasm’, which is basically a jelly-like fluid that surrounds the muscle fibers.

 

The sarcoplasm contains different non-contractile elements, which can grow in volume, depending on the type of training.

 

So What Training Triggers Either?

 

It appears that the myofibrils are more closely related to maximum output of strength and explosiveness, while their sarcoplasm is engaged during intense, yet longer loads.

 

In other words, myofibrillar hypertrophy is a result of a powerlifting approach to weight training, where you do 1-5 repetitions.

 

Oppositely, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is a result of a bodybuilding approach to training, where you do 6-15+ repetitions with heavy weights.

 

Now of course, these are not mutually exclusive!

 

Though myofibrillar hypertrophy primarily results in increased maximum and relative strength, you have those adaptations with the other type of hypertrophy too, BUT… They are not as prominent.

 

Take-Home Message

 

Our musculature appears to be flexible, having the chance to adapt for both short, very intense training bouts, or, medium intensity, prolonged bouts.

 

This is possible because of the nervous system, our wonderful muscle fibers and their energy reserves!

 

Whatever your goal may be, try to stimulate both types of muscle growth, as well as other functions like balance, agility, coordination, etcetera.


Become a functional human being!

 

To have a fitness and nutrition program built for you, visit www.hybridathletetraining.com

Read more


Should You Train To Failure?

Posted by Lacey Byrd on

Should You Train To Failure?

 

If you’ve watched the movie “Pumping Iron” you have probably seen the hardcore, peak intensity training that bodybuilders in the Golden Era went through.

 

Some of those bodybuilders, like Serge Nubret, swore by the effectiveness of training to failure… On EVERY SET!

 

And well, the truth is that for most of us, reaching failure on every working set will lead to burnout quite quickly.

 

This is why it is important to understand this concept and learn how to integrate it in your training regimen properly.

 

So let’s dive straight into this and discuss training to failure, shall we?

 

The Intensity Factor

In sports science and weight training, intensity measures how close you get to your maximum strength capabilities.

 

To put it simply, the heavier the weight you lift, the higher the intensity, meaning that technically, your one rep max (1RM) represents 100% intensity for you on a given exercise.

 

For example, if you can bench press 100 kg for one single rep, and fail to do a second rep unassisted, 100 kg is 100% intensity for you on the bench press.

 

Muscle Activation

 

One of the more important things to remember, is that the heavier you lift, the more fast-twitch muscle fibers are activated.

 

Fast-twitch fibers are the stronger, more powerful muscle fibers, which can exert great amounts of force, explosively.

 

However, fiber recruitment is the primary means of lifting heavier, only up until ~80% of your maximum strength capabilities (intensity).

 

Going above 85% and until failure is only possible with an increased frequency of brain to muscle signals.

 

What Does This Mean For Me?

 

With this information in mind, it is quite clear that training to failure is way more strenuous for the nervous system.

 

Nevertheless, reaching muscular failure is quite the powerful stimulus as well, but due to its strenuous nature, it should be properly implemented into your routine.

 

Generally, you should test around muscle failure, by only taking 1 set for each muscle group to failure, per week and working up from there.

 

If you go overboard with failure, you will experience:

 

  1. Joint/ligament aches
  2. Prolonged muscle exhaustion
  3. Lowered strength capabilities

 

Monitor those and adjust the volume of failure sets in your training split accordingly!

 

Failure And Muscle Growth

 

Some of the legends like Arnold & Serge can sell you on the idea that reaching failure is ESSENTIAL.

 

However, modern studies suggest that staying 2-5 repetitions shy of failure is more beneficial for muscle growth, than training to failure.

 

Nevertheless, each and everyone reacts differently to certain stimuli, so your best bet is to, again, test around!

 

Take-Home Message

 

Carefully managing your training intensity will allow you to optimize your quality training volume in the long-term, thus creating a better stimulus and maximizing gains.

 

Improper implementation of training to failure can prevent this from happening, due to its innate ability to, well, fry your nervous system!

 

This is why, your main means of creating greater stimulus, should be to increase training weight, number of repetitions and sets, and also, opening up better recovery windows between sets.

 

Only when you have this covered, you should consider implementing sets to failure, in which case, you can start with just one set and see how far you can take it.

 

Train smart, not hard!

 

For more fitness tips, or to have a training and nutrition plan built for you and your goals, visit www.hybridathletetraining.com

Read more

Should You Train To Failure?

Posted by Lacey Byrd on

Should You Train To Failure?

 

If you’ve watched the movie “Pumping Iron” you have probably seen the hardcore, peak intensity training that bodybuilders in the Golden Era went through.

 

Some of those bodybuilders, like Serge Nubret, swore by the effectiveness of training to failure… On EVERY SET!

 

And well, the truth is that for most of us, reaching failure on every working set will lead to burnout quite quickly.

 

This is why it is important to understand this concept and learn how to integrate it in your training regimen properly.

 

So let’s dive straight into this and discuss training to failure, shall we?

 

The Intensity Factor

In sports science and weight training, intensity measures how close you get to your maximum strength capabilities.

 

To put it simply, the heavier the weight you lift, the higher the intensity, meaning that technically, your one rep max (1RM) represents 100% intensity for you on a given exercise.

 

For example, if you can bench press 100 kg for one single rep, and fail to do a second rep unassisted, 100 kg is 100% intensity for you on the bench press.

 

Muscle Activation

 

One of the more important things to remember, is that the heavier you lift, the more fast-twitch muscle fibers are activated.

 

Fast-twitch fibers are the stronger, more powerful muscle fibers, which can exert great amounts of force, explosively.

 

However, fiber recruitment is the primary means of lifting heavier, only up until ~80% of your maximum strength capabilities (intensity).

 

Going above 85% and until failure is only possible with an increased frequency of brain to muscle signals.

 

What Does This Mean For Me?

 

With this information in mind, it is quite clear that training to failure is way more strenuous for the nervous system.

 

Nevertheless, reaching muscular failure is quite the powerful stimulus as well, but due to its strenuous nature, it should be properly implemented into your routine.

 

Generally, you should test around muscle failure, by only taking 1 set for each muscle group to failure, per week and working up from there.

 

If you go overboard with failure, you will experience:

 

  1. Joint/ligament aches
  2. Prolonged muscle exhaustion
  3. Lowered strength capabilities

 

Monitor those and adjust the volume of failure sets in your training split accordingly!

 

Failure And Muscle Growth

 

Some of the legends like Arnold & Serge can sell you on the idea that reaching failure is ESSENTIAL.

 

However, modern studies suggest that staying 2-5 repetitions shy of failure is more beneficial for muscle growth, than training to failure.

 

Nevertheless, each and everyone reacts differently to certain stimuli, so your best bet is to, again, test around!

 

Take-Home Message

 

Carefully managing your training intensity will allow you to optimize your quality training volume in the long-term, thus creating a better stimulus and maximizing gains.

 

Improper implementation of training to failure can prevent this from happening, due to its innate ability to, well, fry your nervous system!

 

This is why, your main means of creating greater stimulus, should be to increase training weight, number of repetitions and sets, and also, opening up better recovery windows between sets.

 

Only when you have this covered, you should consider implementing sets to failure, in which case, you can start with just one set and see how far you can take it.

 

Train smart, not hard!

 

For more fitness tips, or to have a training and nutrition plan built for you and your goals, visit www.hybridathletetraining.com

Read more


How To Train Smart | PT 2 - Understanding Your Goals & Setting The Plan

Posted by Lacey Byrd on

How To Train Smart | PT 2 - Understanding Your Goals & Setting The Plan

 

If you have no formal education on fitness and nutrition, odds are that you are just testing around to see what works for you.

 

However, if you have a goal in mind, there are specific actions to be taken towards that goal, because, well, training results are predictable!

 

So let’s have a look at how you can define your goal with training and more importantly, what things you need to do to set the plan right.

 

Common Training Goals

 

Going into the gym, there are a couple of types of people:

 

  1. Really skinny people, trying to grow
  2. People with excess weight, trying to shed it off
  3. Individuals with a normal body composition looking to improve

 

So let’s have a look at each one of those and what are some actions you can take towards setting your plan in place.

 

The Hardgainer

 

As we mentioned, there are many people who are really skinny and try to gain weight by training.

If that’s the case for you, take the following guidelines:

 

  1. Start training at moderate intensity (6-10 reps with a weight that leaves plenty of repetitions in reserve)
  2. Focus on learning the correct exercise form
  3. Rest at least 2 minutes between sets
  4. Start off with ~5 working sets per muscle group, per week
  5. Increase the number of sets progressively
  6. Allow each muscle group to recover for at least 72 hrs before training it again
  7. Eat, eat, eat, eat, eat!

 

Doing all of this over at least a year will likely lead you to be, well, not so skinny anymore!

 

Furthermore, this will set the fundament for more growth, which you can build upon.

 

The Fluffgainer

 

Hey, listen, if you’ve been inactive for some time and have enjoyed your favorite foods in big amounts, that’s alright, you’ve just relaxed for a little bit.

 

Getting back on track and losing the excess weight will be fulfilling and with a bit of training and nutrition, you can do wonders.

 

Follow these tips!

 

  1. Train at moderate levels of intensity (a couple of reps shy from failure)
  2. Rest ~2-3 minutes between sets
  3. Do ~10 challenging working sets per muscle group, per week
  4. Allow each muscle group to recover 72-96 hours
  5. Eat in a caloric deficit (most important part)
  6. Consume plenty of protein (~1g per lb of body weight, per day)
  7. Consume plenty of natural fats (~0.45g per lb of body weight, per day)
  8. Consume some carbs to fuel training

 

In doing this, you will allow the body to tap into its fat reserves to compensate for the deficit of energy, and you will also create sufficient stimulus for muscle mass retention.

 

The Normie

If you’re someone who has a normal body composition and is neither fluffy nor skinny and sustains healthy eating habits, well, you have a good foundation!

 

In case your primary form of training involves weights, define your goal and train accordingly to the guidelines below:

 

  1. Use the powerlifting rep range mentioned in PT 1 of the article series, for the goal of increasing maximum strength
  2. Use the bodybuilding rep range mentioned in PT 1, for the goal of bulk muscle growth
  3. If you want to be more functional and not just strong and big, combine weight training with activities like climbing, running, hiking, swimming, etc.
  4. Maintain your regular eating habits, but add more food as you become more active!

 

Generally, people with a normal body composition are well-tuned to their hunger and satiety signals, so no specific diet changes are required.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Training smart is about recognizing your goal and setting the correct training stimulus in place.

 

Most hardgainers should focus around moderate and high intensity training that progressively increases in time.

 

People who lose weight on the other hand are also prone to eventually losing muscle mass, so training at a moderate level of exertion and intensity will create sufficient stimulus for the retention of that muscle mass, thus helping the person look more toned through their journey.

 

Whatever your goal may be, do analyze the backend of your workouts and take actions accordingly, if any change is needed!

 

To have a personal fitness and nutrition plan made for you based on your needs and goals, visit www.hybridathletetraining.com

 

Read more

How To Train Smart | PT 2 - Understanding Your Goals & Setting The Plan

 

If you have no formal education on fitness and nutrition, odds are that you are just testing around to see what works for you.

 

However, if you have a goal in mind, there are specific actions to be taken towards that goal, because, well, training results are predictable!

 

So let’s have a look at how you can define your goal with training and more importantly, what things you need to do to set the plan right.

 

Common Training Goals

 

Going into the gym, there are a couple of types of people:

 

  1. Really skinny people, trying to grow
  2. People with excess weight, trying to shed it off
  3. Individuals with a normal body composition looking to improve

 

So let’s have a look at each one of those and what are some actions you can take towards setting your plan in place.

 

The Hardgainer

 

As we mentioned, there are many people who are really skinny and try to gain weight by training.

If that’s the case for you, take the following guidelines:

 

  1. Start training at moderate intensity (6-10 reps with a weight that leaves plenty of repetitions in reserve)
  2. Focus on learning the correct exercise form
  3. Rest at least 2 minutes between sets
  4. Start off with ~5 working sets per muscle group, per week
  5. Increase the number of sets progressively
  6. Allow each muscle group to recover for at least 72 hrs before training it again
  7. Eat, eat, eat, eat, eat!

 

Doing all of this over at least a year will likely lead you to be, well, not so skinny anymore!

 

Furthermore, this will set the fundament for more growth, which you can build upon.

 

The Fluffgainer

 

Hey, listen, if you’ve been inactive for some time and have enjoyed your favorite foods in big amounts, that’s alright, you’ve just relaxed for a little bit.

 

Getting back on track and losing the excess weight will be fulfilling and with a bit of training and nutrition, you can do wonders.

 

Follow these tips!

 

  1. Train at moderate levels of intensity (a couple of reps shy from failure)
  2. Rest ~2-3 minutes between sets
  3. Do ~10 challenging working sets per muscle group, per week
  4. Allow each muscle group to recover 72-96 hours
  5. Eat in a caloric deficit (most important part)
  6. Consume plenty of protein (~1g per lb of body weight, per day)
  7. Consume plenty of natural fats (~0.45g per lb of body weight, per day)
  8. Consume some carbs to fuel training

 

In doing this, you will allow the body to tap into its fat reserves to compensate for the deficit of energy, and you will also create sufficient stimulus for muscle mass retention.

 

The Normie

If you’re someone who has a normal body composition and is neither fluffy nor skinny and sustains healthy eating habits, well, you have a good foundation!

 

In case your primary form of training involves weights, define your goal and train accordingly to the guidelines below:

 

  1. Use the powerlifting rep range mentioned in PT 1 of the article series, for the goal of increasing maximum strength
  2. Use the bodybuilding rep range mentioned in PT 1, for the goal of bulk muscle growth
  3. If you want to be more functional and not just strong and big, combine weight training with activities like climbing, running, hiking, swimming, etc.
  4. Maintain your regular eating habits, but add more food as you become more active!

 

Generally, people with a normal body composition are well-tuned to their hunger and satiety signals, so no specific diet changes are required.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Training smart is about recognizing your goal and setting the correct training stimulus in place.

 

Most hardgainers should focus around moderate and high intensity training that progressively increases in time.

 

People who lose weight on the other hand are also prone to eventually losing muscle mass, so training at a moderate level of exertion and intensity will create sufficient stimulus for the retention of that muscle mass, thus helping the person look more toned through their journey.

 

Whatever your goal may be, do analyze the backend of your workouts and take actions accordingly, if any change is needed!

 

To have a personal fitness and nutrition plan made for you based on your needs and goals, visit www.hybridathletetraining.com

 

Read more


How To Train Smart

Posted by Lacey Byrd on

How To Train Smart

 

“Hey bro, I found this sick Dwayne Johnson workout on the internet and I’m about to try it out today, I’m so pumped!”

 

If you’ve heard this in the gym, odds are you’ve stumbled upon someone who does not really know what to do with their training plan and is, well, experimenting.

 

Which is not bad, really!

 

However, much like anything, training is precise mathematics and you need to understand each variable and factor affecting the end result and create your plan based on that.

 

And so, if you are over those celebrity workouts and are ready to get in the best shape of your life, keep reading!

 

Training Fundamentals

 

To find out what the best training regimen for you is, you have to first and foremost understand the backend of your workouts.

 

A workout can be measured using 3 main variables:

 

  1. Intensity
  2. Volume
  3. Density

 

Essentially, intensity shows how close you are to your maximum strength capabilities - The heavier the weight, the higher the intensity.

 

Volume measures the total amount of weight lifted in kilograms or pounds - To calculate volume, you take the working weight and multiply it by the number of sets and reps (100 kg x 10 reps x 2 sets = 2000 kg total volume)

 

Density measures your volume, relative to the total time needed for its completion including rest times, and is measured in kilograms per minute (i.e 2000 kg volume completed for 2 minutes would be a density of 1000 kg/minute)

 

Ok I’m Confused, Why Do I Need This?

Understanding the different training variables presented above is essential for being able to create the correct training stimulus.

 

Let’s have a look at the variables and how you can set them up for certain results.

 

Intensity

The level of intensity, or in other words, how close you get to your maximum strength capabilities, will determine the recruitment of muscle fibers, as well as the stimulus for certain adaptations. (i.e strength gains, bulk muscle growth)

 

 

Intensity (%)

Description

0-35%

This is the warm up zone, you don’t want to be here for too long if you’re trying to grow muscle!

40-60%

On here, more and more muscle fibers get recruited - This is a good zone to go through before your heavier working sets

65-80%

This is the intensity zone where you can do moderate to heavy weight sets for 6-15 repetitions, until failure.

 

Focus on this zone if you want bodybuilder-like muscle growth!

85-100%

In this intensity zone, you can do 1-5 repetitions with a really heavy weight.

 

This is known as the powerlifting zone and mainly results in maximum strength gains.

 

If you are training in the bodybuilder intensity zone, do include this powerlifting one every now and then.

 

 

Volume

 

One of the interesting things is that in terms of muscle growth, it doesn’t really matter if you will train in the 65-80% intensity range or the 85-100%, as long as volume is equated.

 

However, the 65-80% range allows for greater volume to be put out, more easily, due to its less strenuous nature.


Below is a volume cheat sheet, which can help you determine the number of sets depending on your training experience.

 

 

 

Training experience

Volume (per muscle group, per week)

Beginner/novice

~5 Challenging Working Sets

Intermediate

~10 Challenging Working Sets

Advanced

15-20+ Challenging Working Sets

 

Note that a “challenging working set” implies a working set that is taken close to failure (1-4 reps in reserve).

 

What About Density?

 

Though many people pay attention to the weight (intensity) and the number of sets and reps (volume), no one really cares about density.

 

And let us tell you this - Density is important when you are trying to achieve the highest volume of greatest quality possible in your workout, because density is dictated by rest times.

 

For instance, if you do a set of 5 reps using 100 kg and only rest 1 minute, odds are that you will only get 3-4 reps on the next set.

 

On the other hand, if you take 2-3 minutes of rest between each set, you will be able to sustain sets of 5 and thus, your quality volume will be greater.

 

Spread that density, both in your workouts and in your entire training plan!

 

Here’s a rest times cheat sheet:

 

 

Intensity

Rest Times

0-50%

1 minute

60-80%

2-3 minutes

85-100%

4-15 minutes

 

 

Take-Home Message

 

On the back end of your workouts, are different ratios of the 3 main training variables which we discussed in this article.

 

Now that you have an idea about these training variables and how their different ratios create different end results, let’s hop onto part two of this article series, where we’ll talk about understanding your goals and actually creating the training plan!

 

See you there.

 

For a personalized training and nutrition program based on your needs and goals, visit www.hybridathletetraining.com

 

 

Read more

How To Train Smart

Posted by Lacey Byrd on

How To Train Smart

 

“Hey bro, I found this sick Dwayne Johnson workout on the internet and I’m about to try it out today, I’m so pumped!”

 

If you’ve heard this in the gym, odds are you’ve stumbled upon someone who does not really know what to do with their training plan and is, well, experimenting.

 

Which is not bad, really!

 

However, much like anything, training is precise mathematics and you need to understand each variable and factor affecting the end result and create your plan based on that.

 

And so, if you are over those celebrity workouts and are ready to get in the best shape of your life, keep reading!

 

Training Fundamentals

 

To find out what the best training regimen for you is, you have to first and foremost understand the backend of your workouts.

 

A workout can be measured using 3 main variables:

 

  1. Intensity
  2. Volume
  3. Density

 

Essentially, intensity shows how close you are to your maximum strength capabilities - The heavier the weight, the higher the intensity.

 

Volume measures the total amount of weight lifted in kilograms or pounds - To calculate volume, you take the working weight and multiply it by the number of sets and reps (100 kg x 10 reps x 2 sets = 2000 kg total volume)

 

Density measures your volume, relative to the total time needed for its completion including rest times, and is measured in kilograms per minute (i.e 2000 kg volume completed for 2 minutes would be a density of 1000 kg/minute)

 

Ok I’m Confused, Why Do I Need This?

Understanding the different training variables presented above is essential for being able to create the correct training stimulus.

 

Let’s have a look at the variables and how you can set them up for certain results.

 

Intensity

The level of intensity, or in other words, how close you get to your maximum strength capabilities, will determine the recruitment of muscle fibers, as well as the stimulus for certain adaptations. (i.e strength gains, bulk muscle growth)

 

 

Intensity (%)

Description

0-35%

This is the warm up zone, you don’t want to be here for too long if you’re trying to grow muscle!

40-60%

On here, more and more muscle fibers get recruited - This is a good zone to go through before your heavier working sets

65-80%

This is the intensity zone where you can do moderate to heavy weight sets for 6-15 repetitions, until failure.

 

Focus on this zone if you want bodybuilder-like muscle growth!

85-100%

In this intensity zone, you can do 1-5 repetitions with a really heavy weight.

 

This is known as the powerlifting zone and mainly results in maximum strength gains.

 

If you are training in the bodybuilder intensity zone, do include this powerlifting one every now and then.

 

 

Volume

 

One of the interesting things is that in terms of muscle growth, it doesn’t really matter if you will train in the 65-80% intensity range or the 85-100%, as long as volume is equated.

 

However, the 65-80% range allows for greater volume to be put out, more easily, due to its less strenuous nature.


Below is a volume cheat sheet, which can help you determine the number of sets depending on your training experience.

 

 

 

Training experience

Volume (per muscle group, per week)

Beginner/novice

~5 Challenging Working Sets

Intermediate

~10 Challenging Working Sets

Advanced

15-20+ Challenging Working Sets

 

Note that a “challenging working set” implies a working set that is taken close to failure (1-4 reps in reserve).

 

What About Density?

 

Though many people pay attention to the weight (intensity) and the number of sets and reps (volume), no one really cares about density.

 

And let us tell you this - Density is important when you are trying to achieve the highest volume of greatest quality possible in your workout, because density is dictated by rest times.

 

For instance, if you do a set of 5 reps using 100 kg and only rest 1 minute, odds are that you will only get 3-4 reps on the next set.

 

On the other hand, if you take 2-3 minutes of rest between each set, you will be able to sustain sets of 5 and thus, your quality volume will be greater.

 

Spread that density, both in your workouts and in your entire training plan!

 

Here’s a rest times cheat sheet:

 

 

Intensity

Rest Times

0-50%

1 minute

60-80%

2-3 minutes

85-100%

4-15 minutes

 

 

Take-Home Message

 

On the back end of your workouts, are different ratios of the 3 main training variables which we discussed in this article.

 

Now that you have an idea about these training variables and how their different ratios create different end results, let’s hop onto part two of this article series, where we’ll talk about understanding your goals and actually creating the training plan!

 

See you there.

 

For a personalized training and nutrition program based on your needs and goals, visit www.hybridathletetraining.com

 

 

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