Use Intuition and Directional Accuracy to Build Your Workouts

This week was an exciting one if you like to watch the drama in the fitness community. On Facebook, there was some heated disagreement on the role volume has on hypertrophy between Lyle McDonald, Brad Schoenfeld, and James Krieger.

All three of these gents are at least 10x smarter than me on topics of lifting and they disagree. So how do I resolve issues when my mentors don’t agree with each other? Two methods.

#1 Use Intuition

The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. And that truth will vary from lifter to lifter. Our training age, our biological age, our somatype, and our general approach to lifting will be factors in determining what is best for us at any given stage on our fitness journey.

For me, I need to find a balance that allows me to improve, keeps me interested, allows time for me to recover, and most importantly is safe. There is no single recipe that fits my needs. There are many paths to achieve my goals. I need to find that path for myself. The gym is the place I go to get feedback. My workouts will tell me in due time if I’m slacking off or pushing it too hard.

Developing your own intuition on lifting is as important as lifting itself, especially as you age. Staying in the game and knowing what is best you on any given week is the key to staying fit. Other voices – evening dissenting voices – can be useful, but your intuition needs to be on point.

#2 Directionally Accurate

A lot of the debate on the role of volume comes down to specific ranges of numbers. Those numbers are unimportant to me. I’m measuring the tone and direction of serious voices. On the volume topic, I see the case for more volume getting stronger. How strong? That is not important. Just stronger than before.

I developed a lower training volume habit first via HIT and then during the years when my knee was in worse shape. I would be a fool to jump directly up to the high volumes being discussed online. (I think it was 30 sets per week). But I do believe the directionally accurate path is adding more volume.

New studies are always coming out and the volume case could get weaker or stronger. We will see. I can’t wait for new studies though, I’m heading to the gym tomorrow.

Connecting Intuition With Directionally Accuracy

My plan is starting this week to add a few more sets a week to my chest, back, and legs. Then periodically, I’ll add a few more sets as soon as I feel my recovery is solid. It might be a week or a month or longer. There is no rush. I’m not going anywhere.

I’ll listen to my intuition to guide me as I add on the volume. I’ll be checking my weight and using a tape measure as well. I’ve been undereating recently and I know I’ll need to correct that problem as I reach for more hypertrophy gains via increased volume. If I can’t fix the calories right away, I’ll pause on the volume until I can.

weights

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MAS

Critical MAS is the blog for Michael Allen Smith of Seattle, Washington. My interests include traditional food, fitness, economics, and web development.

3 thoughts on “Use Intuition and Directional Accuracy to Build Your Workouts”

  1. Ive been following this with interest, as a “believer” in HIT.
    I would have thought though that this conundrum should be scientifically solvable, ie I assume muscle damage can be measured, and muscle growth obviously can…
    I take it though that currently the data isn’t overwhelming or extensive enough to presently settle this? Or is it like the belief that stretching prevents injuries, a persistent old wives tail that actually has been settled years ago

  2. @matt – The news that muscle damage is not needed for muscle growth was the big foundation shift for me this summer. A belief that has been assumed for decades looks to be unfounded. Of course, that could change, but for now, the directional accuracy is saying that damage is not a prerequisite.

    https://www.strongerbyscience.com/muscle-damage/

  3. Ive changed my routine from HIT to volume now to see if it leads to more progress. Ive found tho I have to keep reminding myself not to train to failure, which has become an ingrained habit.

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