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  • davidh068

More is Not always better

Updated: May 27, 2020

One of the athletes we work with shared this feedback with us in their recent training block review. It compared the programming they did prior to working with us with what they have been doing the last 5 months:

“At first, I thought the amount programmed was too little, but this was because I was doing a lot of sets, reps, and different exercises before and not warming up enough on the main lifts. Now I see that the programming is the right amount and good for making gains.”

Research has shown that there is a dose-response relationship between volume and hypertrophy[1] and volume and strength[2]. This means in general, more volume leads to more strength and muscle gains. However, this is highly individualized, and more is not better in all cases, and more can actually lead to decreased results[3]. So part of the art of programming/coaching is finding the appropriate amount of work for the individual, and knowing when to change this over time.

A critical component to this process is collecting athlete feedback. We actually started this athlete on a higher frequency/volume layout based on what they were doing prior to working with us. We pulled back the amount of work as a result of feedback from the athlete. We communicated the change in programming, reasons for the change, and the plan to build up work capacity over time. Since then, over the last 5 months the athlete has flourished under the revised layout, shattering all of their previous PRs.


[1] Schoenfield BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. Dose-Response Relationship Between Weekly Resistance Training Volume and Increases in Muscle Mass: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Sports Science. 2017 Jun;35(11):1073-1082.

[2] Ralston GW, Kilgore L, Wyatt FB, Baker JS. The Effect of Weekly Set Volume on Strength Gain: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine. 2017 Dec;47(12):2585-2601.

[3] Damas F, Barcelos C, Nodbrega S, Ugrinowitsch C, Lixandrao M, Manoel E, Santos L, Conceicao M, Vechin F, Libardi C. Individual Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength Responses to High vs. Low Resistance Training Frequencies. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2019 Apr;33(4):897-901.

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