Sep 142011

Back-tracking slightly…

I feel like in the last piece about Volume, I didn’t really clarify how this helps you to “get it in” as such as much as I would have liked. I’ll make it very simple…

By knowing what the most you’ve done of a certain movement (at a certain intensity) is in the past is, you make it easy to know when you have surpassed that. If you are busy or in a mood that is not conducive to packing work close together, you can simply aim to exceed the total previous volume and completely disregard how long it is taking you. (I still recommend recording how long you did take, but it isn’t a strong focus in this scenario.)
We’ve all heard the old phrase “practice makes perfect” and even though you may not be pushing the boundaries of how fast you could progress, at least you’re getting more practice at that movement.

The final piece of the puzzle…

Okay, so we’ve dealt with Intensity and Volume so far as components of Overload; the final metric that I want to talk a bit about is Density.

3. Density

Density can be very easily defined as “work divided by time”. I don’t think this actually needs a huge amount of explanation, but for the sake of completion I’ll give it a ramble. ;-)

The primary ways that I measure density relevant PRs in my own training are three-fold.

  1. Time taken to achieve previous max volume.
  2. More work achieved in a specific time frame.
  3. More work achieved in a single set (reps/set PR).

Basically I find that density is the hardest to “force” of all metrics (maintaining quality movement and avoiding elements of effort) and also the one that is hardest to “fit in”. If you are trying to find out just how much work you are capable of doing in a certain movement in a certain timeframe OR how quickly you can attain a certain volume of work, you pretty much need no other activity to interfere in the process. If something tests well and you decide to work at it, simply get going with tested reasonable recovery periods between sets and keep an eye on the time & volume. You can then choose to stop when you realise that (a) you have reached a significant marker with a greater workload achieved or (b) reached your maximum volume with lesser time taken. (If you reach maximum volume and it hasn’t taken lesser time, well; time to settle for a Volume PR, my friend.)

The exception is number 3; reps/set PR. In essence, the moment that you achieve more reps in a single set at a certain intensity than you ever have before, you have achieved a density PR. Essentially, your timeframe is “a single set” and your volume is “however many reps you did”. Makes sense, right? So this is the only density PR that you could potentially set in your first set of work, but it can be very unpredictable and is not something I would recommend “aiming for” as it would encourage using far too much effort on a regular basis.

I’m not going to lie to you…

I feel like I wandered and petered out a little bit on these few posts; the point may have been lost a little from my original concept.
No matter! Work must be done to progress and I hope you will continue with me on my progression toward making this blog a very useful resource for betterment in many ways. :)
I will touch back on these concepts many times in general and, next time I specifically write on them, I guarantee that my work will be better. As always.

Secret Project:

Writing this little series has inspired me toward something I desire to make into another series of its own. This series will involve my first significant amount of video footage!

First up: Using a 15L water dispenser bottle as a workout implement.
See where I’m going with this?

Hit me up in the comments with any suggestions for workplaces/scenarios/objects that you would like to find a way to get more constructive physical work done in/in/with and I will see what I can do! (If some of my online friends are willing and the load gets difficult, this may spread to other websites/guests… I’m looking at you specifically, Dave and Mathieu!) (P.S. I have made this statement with no consultation or evidence that it is fact. I may be a liar.)

  2 Responses to ““Finding time” for exercise a.k.a. “Getting it in”. (Part 3)”

Comments (2)
  1. You know what helps? Loading and unloading your barbell or whatever you’re using at the moment as fast as you can without hurting yourself. At best several minutes can be saved. Time is never on the busy man’s side. :)

    • Amen, Tomas.
      Planning ways to reduce prep time between movements/loads etc can definitely help your potential work achieved, I agree. I like to test more thoroughly around what the first load I use for my first movement will be, then test around that weight OR any other pre-prepared weights (e.g. available kettlebells, load already on the dumbells/barbell) for other movements, so I cut down on interchange time.

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