Junk Volume: How You’re Wasting Your Time in the Gym

Coaching quantity is a pop matter in our world of health. Regardless whether or not we practice for muscle constructing or fats loss, quantity all the time performs an essential position. Nonetheless, quantity isn’t actually a easy calculation of (units x reps x weight), which regularly is claimed. We’re going to cowl this in additional element, however our major focus is junk quantity.

In short, junk quantity is all coaching that doesn’t contribute to our purpose of the exercise. Not solely is it a waste of time, however it might probably set you again and have your physique spend its sources on getting again to baseline as an alternative of adapting and recovering. 

Quantity Is Not Merely (Units x Reps x Weight)

Earlier than we start to debate junk quantity, we have to perceive that quantity is rather more than a easy calculation of (units x reps x weight). Which is what we have now been listening to for a lot of, a few years. Together with that the one solution to enhance your features within the health club is with progressive overload and rising your quantity over time.

On the floor stage that is true, but it surely doesn’t inform the entire story. We have to go a lot deeper into what quantity actually means.

Every Stimulus Requires Totally different Quantities of Quantity

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Doing dumbbell presses of 5 units of 10 reps with a 40 pound dumbbell, and 4 units of 20 reps with a 25 pound dumbbell, each equal “2000 lbs of quantity.” However the kind of stimulus your muscle tissue get from each situations are very completely different. Thus, simply merely doing (units x reps x weight) isn’t a great calculation when it comes to progress. 

As a substitute, we needs to be calculating the amount for every respective stimulus we are attempting to attain for the exercise session.

Shortened vs. Lengthened

Furthermore, every train offers a distinct stimulus to our physique. As an example, a Triceps Rope Pressdown, and a Triceps Rope Overhead Extension stress the triceps in several methods. The Pressdown trains the triceps extra within the shortened place, whereas the overhead extension primarily trains the lengthened place.

Regardless that you employ the identical quantity of units, reps and weight, the kind of stimulus to the triceps could be very completely different.

Coaching muscle tissue of their lengthened place is without doubt one of the most surefire methods to trigger mechanical harm. This may be nice for hypertrophy coaching, however is often not what we go for after we do metabolic coaching. 

Additionally, vary of movement performs a big position. Some workout routines just like the Squat and Dumbbell Lateral Raises are heavy in a small a part of the motion, and never very heavy all through the remaining. 

So clearly utilizing the straightforward components of (units x reps x weight) doesn’t make sense for 2 completely different workout routines.

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Tempo and Relaxation Have an effect on Stimulus

Lastly, tempo and relaxation durations additionally play a significant position in what kind of stimulus we obtain. As we regulate our tempo for workout routines and the remaining durations we have now between, the stimulus achieved will even change.

A Squat with a (3-0-1-0) tempo could be very completely different from a (4-1-1-0) tempo Squat. One additional second within the unfavourable, along with a pause on the backside. Simply take into consideration how otherwise we stimulate our quads and glutes in these two situations.

Once more, this isn’t accounted for in the old fashioned quantity equation.

In the identical method, the stimulus could be very completely different if we practice with 30 second relaxation between our units and three minute relaxation durations. With this in thoughts, it’s best to have a significantly better understanding of what quantity actually entails. Now we are able to transfer on to speak about junk quantity. 

Junk Quantity

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Once we check with junk quantity we imply all units and repetitions that don’t assist us progress in the direction of our targets. That features coaching in extra of what we’re capable of recuperate from, and coaching that’s not part of the stimulus we’re going for. 

Once we speak about coaching, we often divide it into three phases; hypertrophy, metabolic and neurological. Every kind of coaching has many several types of stimuli. Extra particularly, there are a number of completely different stimuli that may result in metabolic, hypertrophy and neurological results.

As an example, with neurological coaching we have now coordination; our means to contract and with how a lot pressure we are able to contract our muscle tissue; nervous system operate, and so forth.

Subsequently, as an alternative of simply blindly calculating the full quantity, we need to measure the amount that contributes to the forms of stimuli we are attempting to focus on. After all, in relation to the targets we are attempting to attain.

Neurological Stimuli

In easy phrases, junk quantity is all kind of labor that doesn’t contribute to our targets. For neurological coaching it may be work that’s under a sure depth wanted for adaption. Work that’s round 80% under your score of perceived exertion (RPE), will hardly ever be instrumental in the direction of neurological targets.  

Whereas that is true for neurological stimuli, it isn’t essentially true different forms of coaching. In neurologocial or energy coaching, it is vital that we go for optimum output.

Something under a sure RPE, is not going to contribute in the direction of that sort of stimulus. Thus, if you’re doing an extreme quantity of labor that doesn’t contribute in the direction of the stimulus you’re going for, we’re merely accumulating plenty of fatigue. 

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Consequently, it might probably take away from the full quantity of output in the direction of the purpose stimulus you can get in that particular exercise.

In the identical method, when you hit the full quantity of output you may recuperate from in that session, doing something extra solely makes issues worse. Not solely is your depth dropping off, however you’re pushing previous your means to recuperate from this harm.

That means, it’s simply extra harm in your physique to recuperate from with none extra advantages. 

Metabolic Stimuli

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Then again, we have now metabolic stimuli. There are lots of methods and strategies to attain metabolic results. One in every of them being the Incomplete Relaxation Methodology, the place it’s really useful to us to have a decrease RPE mixed with decrease relaxation durations.

Our purpose with IRM coaching is to attain a systemic fatigue, reasonably than fatigue in any given muscle. By combining very low relaxation durations and decrease RPE, we’re capable of get that metabolic impact in a short time.

However similar to with neurological coaching, if we hold coaching previous the stimulus we already achieved, we might contemplate that work junk quantity.

By persevering with to carry out extra units and repetitions after we already achieved the metabolic stimulus, we’re simply giving our physique extra harm to recuperate from. Thus, losing pointless power on restoration. Once we ought to simply return dwelling to eat and relaxation.

Trainability Threshold

For instance extra clearly what we imply by junk quantity previous a sure level, we have to take a look at our trainability threshold. All of us have a certain quantity of labor we have to do to attain any kind of stimulus. As soon as we get previous the purpose we want, our physique will then adapt and recuperate.

Any level under the brink of a sure stimulus isn’t sufficient work required for adaption. That means, we have to get previous this barrier earlier than our physique really adapts and recovers. 

That is the place our trainability vary is. Extra exactly, the distinction between the quantity of labor wanted for adaption and your means to recuperate. Our purpose is to remain inside this sweet-spot. As a result of if we go above it, we clearly go previous the quantity of harm we are able to recuperate from. 

Correspondingly, our physique will use all its power to attempt to get again to baseline.

So, the entire work above our trainability threshold might be junk quantity, as it’s a waste of time and power. It is just slowing us down, and it’ll take longer till we are able to get again to the health club to smash some weights and repeat our exercise. 

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Subsequently, we’re all the time attempting to remain inside that sweet-spot. 

Trainability Vary Varies

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This trainability vary not solely varies from individual to individual, however from stimulus to stimulus. As we practice a sure stimulus an increasing number of, we adapt higher, and the trainability vary shrinks. The stimulus required to adapt will increase, however that doesn’t imply that your means to recuperate will increase, subsequently the vary will even get smaller.

After pushing that vary a little bit bit extra, we ultimately get to some extent the place we have to de-load or change the stimulus we practice for. Extra particularly, a stimulus that has a decrease threshold, however you could nonetheless recuperate from. 

With this in thoughts, it’s hopefully clear that we have now a threshold we have to break. Something under this threshold we contemplate junk quantity. Likewise, going above our means to recuperate can also be junk quantity. 

Each Single Repetition Issues

Each single rep and set that we carry out, will contribute in the direction of our recoverability. Thus, it’s vital that we have now targets which are as particular as potential. In flip, we’re capable of recuperate and adapt as effectively as potential. 

By designing each our coaching and diet plan as particularly as potential, we’ll know when to alter up our coaching. Once we principally faucet out one stimulus, we are able to swap to a distinct one, and are available again as soon as our physique is prepared.

We come again to the stimulus we initially labored on as quickly as the brink for this stimulus has had sufficient time to come back again down. It can come down as we again away from this stimulus, and cease pounding it.


Junk quantity put in perspective, is about being conscious of not overdoing a sure stimulus, and considering that you simply simply have to go more durable. As a substitute, again off from a sure kind of coaching with de-loads or swap to a distinct stimulus. This is without doubt one of the best methods to constantly progress, and to not fall into any plateaus. As soon as we push previous our recoverability vary, we’re solely digging ourselves right into a rut. At that time we’re slowing ourselves down, and our physique spends all its power on attempting to get again to baseline. Do your greatest to remain inside this sweet-spot, and don’t hammer away on the weights considering extra is all the time higher. 

Thanks for studying our article!

– Terry Asher

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