Quality vs Quantity
The age old question has once again come to light through several emails that I've received lately.
Am I doing enough?
To answer that question, we need to know your goal.
Is your goal to get stronger, stay in shape, run a marathon?
Just what is your goal, Steven?
Ron from Draper, Utah, is using a very popular result producing routine designed for getting bigger and stronger.
Here is his question:
"Hi Bill, I have a question for you.
When doing the 20 rep squat, how many sets should I work up to?
Is the norm one set of 20 reps?
I am doing the 20 rep squat and add weight when I can complete one set.
Then I got to thinking, Am I doing enough?
I know I am sore about two days later and sometimes I can barely walk, but I was wondering if I should back off the weight and do more than one 20 rep set.
I am 56 years old if that means anything.
I work out once every third day, breaking up my exercises into five parts, so I actually only squat once every 15 days.
I know you're busy, but should you find a moment to respond, I would appreciate it.
First, congratulations Ron, for training at 56 years of age.
That, in itself, is something!
The routine you are using is designed for getting bigger and stronger.
Considering your age, training every third day is wise for the sake of recuperation.
You are sore two days later and can barely walk.
That is a good sign.
Your body is reacting to the overload principle.
You are wondering if one 20 rep squat is "enough".
Your goal is to get stronger.
You are adding weight to your squat.
Well, Ron, are you getting stronger?
If you are adding weight, then of course you are!
So, you are in fact, doing "enough".
Don't fall for the, "If a little bit is good, then more has got to be a whole lot better!"
It doesn't work in progressive resistance exercise.
In fact, sometimes, "less is more".
For example, you are doing less by training every third day instead of every second day.
To allow more time for recovery to avoid overtraining.
What you are wrestling with, Ron, is the balance between quality and quantity in your progressive resistance exercise.
The difference between short term explosive power as seen in weightlifting, sprinting, wrestling, etc., and long term endurance as seen in long distance running, cycling, etc.
If your goal is getting stronger, then you must load the bar and allow plenty of time for recovery.
If your poundages and/or reps are increasing, then your strength is increasing.
A simple law of physics.
And if you want to see what I'm talking about, go to the following link and check out one of the best books ever written about the 20 rep squat routine:
Randall J. Strossen - Super Squats: How to Gain 30 Pounds of Muscle in 6 Weeks - IronMind
Popularized as far back as the 1930s, this routine is probably responsible for adding more muscular bodyweight than any other.
Until the next time...
Yours for greater strength,
P.S. Are you still confused about the set system in your training? Discover the history behind the set system and how to use it properly in your training for the best results. Read more here:
Thomas DeLorme - Arthur Watkins - Progressive Resistance Exercise