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Rep Ranges and Goals

Rep Ranges and Goals

1-5 reps for strength

6-7 Strength/Hypertrophy

8-12 for hypertrophy

13-15 Hypertrophy/Endurance

15+ Endurance

 

Research has actually shown that hypertrophy has been shown to be the same at any rep range as long as the muscle is taken close to failure and the load is anything above 30% 1RM

 

This study supports that claim: Fink, J., Kikuchi, N., Yoshida, S., Terada, K., & Nakazato, K. (2016). Impact of high versus low fixed loads and non-linear training loads on muscle hypertrophy, strength and force development. Springerplus5(1), 1-8.

 

Experienced endurance runners have actually been shown to increase performance more when spending their S+C sessions completing high load, low rep work compared to low load high reps as the increase in strength helps increase running economy in the latter stages of races

 

Study to support this claim: Ebben, W. P., Kindler, A. G., Chirdon, K. A., Jenkins, N. C., Polichnowski, A. J., & Ng, A. V. (2004). The effect of high-load vs. high-repetition training on endurance performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research18(3), 513-517.

 

The effect of volume on muscle growth

The effect of volume on muscle growth

 

The study: Schoenfeld, B. J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, K., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2019). Resistance training volume enhances muscle hypertrophy but not strength in trained men. Medicine and science in sports and exercise51(1), 94

 

 

  • 45 men with an average lifting experience of 4.4 years of lifting performed the same exercises in the 8-12 rep range, 3x per week for 8 weeks

 

 

  • The men were split into 3 groups. One performed each exercise for 1 set per session, one group for 3 sets per session and 1one group for 5 sets per session

 

 

  • The results found a dose-response-relationship between sets performed and change in muscle thickness (muscle hypertrophy)

 

  • This was still the case with extremely high volumes up to 45 sets.

 

Summary and application:

 

  • In summary, the study supports the idea that higher volume results in increased hypertrophy even up to very high levels of volume (45 sets on a muscle group per week)
  • This information is applicable to the general population who may be experiencing plateaus in their training, which could be down to them not increasing their volume for a prolonged period of time.
  • How can you increase volume without spending vast amounts of time in the gym? Methods include drop sets, rest-pause sets and giant sets.

Exercise Selection and Goals

One aspect of programme design that many people are confused over is how to decide what exercises to add to their programme. There can be many misconceptions about regarding this, such as ‘machines are less functional than dumbbells’, causing many people to stray from using machines. However, ‘functional’ has become an ambiguous term in fitness, so it’s worth applying its original definition of ‘designed to be practical and useful’. Therefore, if an exercise is practical and useful to that individual then it is, by definition, functional.

 

How do we decide what is practical and useful for an individual? Well, there is several factors to consider. One of which, is their goals, as different goals will require different exercises, we apply the concept of specificity to choose the most optimal exercises. Not to mention a form of assessment and screening of an individual to determine what they a lacking in terms of mobility, strength and stability.

 

Hypertrophy:

 

If someone’s only goal is to build or retain muscle, then exercise selection can make a significant difference to the end result. For an exercise to be effective for this goal, the limiting factor in the exercise has to be the targeted muscle tissue. In other words, the reason you fail to do another rep must be due to fatigue felt in the muscle you are trying to work, and not another reason such as a loss of balance.

 

To achieve this, exercises that have high external stability will deliver better results. Exercises that have high external stability require less stabilisation from the person performing the exercise (internal stability), therefore muscular fatigue is much more likely to be the reason for failure as opposed to a breakdown in technique, thus making it superior for hypertrophy.

 

However, there is a caveat to this- Stability drives output. Therefore, if someone is lacking stability at a joint then this can limit long term hypertrophy of the muscles attached. For instance, someone with average mobility at the hip could get significant results in hamstring hypertrophy using a Barbell Romanian Deadlift or a Squat up to a point. However, form may start to breakdown once using a certain load which would express the underlying lack of stability within the hip.

 

 

Therefore, the use of exercises with a higher internal stability can be implemented in their programme, to improve performance and further drive hypertrophy. To go back to the hamstring hypertrophy example, the person may add a single leg Romanian Deadlift variations and progressions to their programming to help improve stability at the hip and further help increase load and drive hypertrophy when performing Barbell Romanian Deadlifts.

 

Strength:

If the goal is strength, then the focus shifts away from muscle tissue and towards the movement itself. What movements do you want to get stronger in and why? Often this goal is adopted by athletes as their sports will have specific movements to get stronger in, which will help advance them in their sports.

 

The most obvious example would be powerlifting. Powerlifting involves lifting the most amount of weight for 1 rep each of the Bench Press, Deadlift and Back Squat. Therefore, when putting together a powerlifting programme we apply the concept of specificity and base the programme around the 3 main lifts mentioned, accompanied by accessory movements to assist the improvement in performance of the competition lifts. However even with strength if an individual is lacking adequate hip stability and they are aiming to achieve absolute strength on the said lift then spending time on one leg within their program will help further drive the adaptations required to exert force on their lifts.

 

Alternatively, athletes of other sports are going to select resistance exercises which complement the movements that they complete in their sport. For example, many sports involve running. Therefore, for many of these athletes, performing front foot elevated split squats may be beneficial. This is because this exercise shares many similarities to the skill of running. Both are uni-lateral, internally stable skills, involve flexion and extension of the hip and knee as well as plantar flexion and dorsi flexion at the ankle it will also train the athlete to keep their centre of mass balanced as fatigue can kick in during long distances and heel strikes can get heavier towards the latter stages of a race. Building strength in this movement can allow the athlete to apply more force at a given effort when performing the sport.

 

This can aid in the development of running economy- a reduction in the amount of energy expended at a given speed. In terms of transfer to performance, this can help the athlete run faster, for longer without form breaking down and thus reduce the risk of injuries.

 

 

Overall, it is crucial to truly analyse your goals because many people wish to simultaneously achieve improved strength and hypertrophy, which is very achievable for everyone except very advanced lifters. The importance of each goal is going to play a role in which exercises are selected, so it is important to have this established before forming the programme.

 

With anyone we work with here at Soma Fitness, we run them through a full assessment to determine where the starting point of the program is. This is highly beneficial as if you don’t pick certain aspects up and run with a cookie cutter program you will be leaving a lot on the table in terms of the progression of your results. If someone cannot get into certain positions and we then go and load them in those positions, it’s a quick way to set yourself up for injuries which will then hinder your overall progression towards your goals.

Importance of Resistance Training for Elderly Populations

 

What is Resistance Training?

Resistance Training can be defined as a form of exercise, whereby external weights provide progressive overload to skeletal muscles in order to make them stronger and often result in hypertrophy (growth in overall size of muscle cells) (Alix-Fages et. al, 2022; Phillips and Winett, 2010), which can lead to several benefits.

 

Benefits:

Less chance of falls and subsequent physical inactivity:

Araujo et. al (2022) found that middle aged or older people who could not stand on one leg for more than 10 seconds were more likely to die in the next seven years, compared to people who could. Why could this be the case?

 

People with less balance can be more prone falls. When in older age, this is more likely to lead to serious injury to lower bone density. If this results in a hip fracture, then there is no guarantee they will reach pre-injury level of recovery, leaving a lack of mobility and pain. With many people, this can result in them stopping activities which they used to enjoy, such as regular walks, and meeting up with friends to do things. This decrease in physical activity and increase in isolation can further accelerate the negative effects of the fall such as increased risk of depression and heart disease from being physically inactive

 

Reduce risk of chronic diseases and keeping one’s independence:

Furthermore, regular resistance training (2-3 sessions per week) has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, arthritis and type 2 diabetes. (Fragala et. al, 2019),  as well as being important in managing sarcopenia (the gradual loss in muscle mass due to age). Avoiding these chronic diseases can help people keep their independence in their old age, thus increasing their quality of life. For example, if someone can avoid osteoporosis and arthritis, then they can move with much more ease. This allows them the ability to complete activities such as playing with grandchildren and climbing stairs.

 

The snowball effect of being able to do these things can also have a positive effect on one’s mental health as they will be able to live with more confidence, less anxiety and more social interactions instead of potential isolation due to lack of mobility.

 

Seeing these benefits first hand:

As a personal trainer, one of the main protocols I take when working with older clients is to incorporate exercises which improve their balance and stability into their training programme, at a level suited to them. This can start off as simple as dowel assisted front foot elevated split squat, progressing all the way to unassisted single leg Romanian deadlifts. When performed consistently and accompanied by adequate nutrition, results are seen quickly so never think that it’s too late to start resistance training.

 

Reference List:

  • Alix-Fages, C., Del Vecchio, A., Baz-Valle, E., Santos-Concejero, J., & Balsalobre-Fernández, C. (2022). The role of the neural stimulus in regulating skeletal muscle hypertrophy. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1-18.
  • AraujoCG, de Souza e Silva CG, Laukkanen JA, et al, Successful 10-second one-legged stance performance predicts survival in middle-aged and older individuals British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 21 June 2022. doi:1136/bjsports-2021-105360
  • Fragala, Maren S.1; Cadore, Eduardo L.2; Dorgo, Sandor3; Izquierdo, Mikel4; Kraemer, William J.5; Peterson, Mark D.6; Ryan, Eric D.7Resistance Training for Older Adults: Position Statement From the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: August 2019 – Volume 33 – Issue 8 – p 2019-2052 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003230
  • Phillips, S. M., & Winett, R. A. (2010). Uncomplicated resistance training and health-related outcomes: evidence for a public health mandate. Current sports medicine reports9(4), 208.
  • Zhang, J., Ang, M. L., & Kwek, E. B. (2015). Who Will Walk Again? Effects of Rehabilitation on the Ambulatory Status in Elderly Patients Undergoing Hemiarthroplasty for Femoral Neck Fracture. Geriatric orthopaedic surgery & rehabilitation6(3), 168–172. https://doi.org/10.1177/2151458515583111

 

Resistance Training Benefits for Females

What is Resistance Training?

Resistance Training can be defined as a form of exercise, whereby external weights provide progressive overload to skeletal muscles in order to make them stronger and often result in hypertrophy (growth in overall size of muscle cells) (Alix-Fages et. al, 2022; Phillips and Winett, 2010), which can lead to several benefits.

Mental Health:

Firstly, Ramirez and Kravitz (2012) looked into the benefits of regular resistance training and found that it has been shown to improve numerous aspects of mental health including: lessened anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, self-esteem, memory and cognition. The way in which resistance training helps achieve this is not yet clear, but the benefits to mental health could well be consequences of the physical benefits that resistance training provides. For example, when we start training regularly, our sleep may improve. In turn, we see a reduction in stress hormones (Maggio et. al, 2013), which then can have a positive effect on our level of anxiety.

Fat Loss:

When wanting to lose weight, we need to be in a calorie deficit. When in this calorie deficit, weight can be lost via losing body fat, water, and muscle tissue. Regular resistance training helps preserve muscle mass when in a calorie deficit (Miller et. al, 2018). This, in turn, results in more of the weight lost being from body fat tissue, as opposed to muscle tissue. It is important to note that protein intake and sleep must also be sufficient to maximise muscle preservation, and therefore fat loss, in a calorie deficit. (Nedeltcheva et. al, 2010; Stokes et. al, 2018)

Frailty and Functionality:

As we age past the age of 35, we experience a gradual loss of muscle mass of around 1-2% per year, this is known as sarcopenia (Cruz-Jentoft and Sayer, 2019). Once we reach our 60’s and older, sarcopenia may contribute to a loss of functionality in daily tasks such as climbing stairs with ease, or playing with grandchildren.

Resistance training in elderly populations has been shown to increase their ability to go from sitting to standing with less postural sway and more proprioception, which is linked to more functional ability and lower risk of falls. (Faigenbaum and Myer, 2010)

‘I Don’t Want to Look Bulky’:

This is a common worry with female clients. Fortunately, there is about as much chance as accidentally adding significant amounts of muscle mass accidentally as there is as taking driving lessons and accidentally ending up in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Putting on significant amounts of muscle mass requires consistent training on a hypertrophy focussed plan, being in a calorie surplus, and consumption of adequate protein for a number of months before noticeable increases are seen. Overall, resistance training can be used as an excellent tool to improve one’s quality of life, regardless of age or goals.

Reference List:

  • Alix-Fages, C., Del Vecchio, A., Baz-Valle, E., Santos-Concejero, J., & Balsalobre-Fernández, C. (2022). The role of the neural stimulus in regulating skeletal muscle hypertrophy. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1-18.
  • Cruz-Jentoft, A. J., & Sayer, A. A. (2019). Sarcopenia. The Lancet393(10191), 2636-2646.
  • Faigenbaum, A. D., & Myer, G. D. (2010). Pediatric resistance training: benefits, concerns, and program design considerations. Current sports medicine reports9(3), 161-168.
  • Maggio, M., Colizzi, E., Fisichella, A., Valenti, G., Ceresini, G., Dall’Aglio, E., … & Ceda, G. P. (2013). Stress hormones, sleep deprivation and cognition in older adults. Maturitas76(1), 22-44.
  • Miller, T., Mull, S., Aragon, A. A., Krieger, J., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2018). Resistance training combined with diet decreases body fat while preserving lean mass independent of resting metabolic rate: a randomized trial. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism28(1), 46-54.
  • Nedeltcheva, A. V., Kilkus, J. M., Imperial, J., Schoeller, D. A., & Penev, P. D. (2010). Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of internal medicine153(7), 435–441. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006
  • Phillips, S. M., & Winett, R. A. (2010). Uncomplicated resistance training and health-related outcomes: evidence for a public health mandate. Current sports medicine reports9(4), 208.
  • Ramirez, A., & Kravitz, L. (2012). Resistance training improves mental health. IDEA Fitness Journal9(1), 20-22.
  • Stokes, T., Hector, A. J., Morton, R. W., McGlory, C., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Recent perspectives regarding the role of dietary protein for the promotion of muscle hypertrophy with resistance exercise training. Nutrients10(2), 180.