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The most important training variable

If you’re not seeing the fitness results you want, you should assess your total training volume.

Training volume is the most important factor when it comes to exercise training variables.

Total training volume is a simple equation…

Number of exercise sets, multiplied by number of exercise reps, multiplied by weight performed.

Another way to write it… (Sets) x (Reps) x (Weight).

Many people I’ve worked with have one or two of these levers dialed in, but fail to execute effectively on all three.

For example, you may be doing the appropriate amount of exercises with a solid set/rep scheme, but your weights are entirely too light.

On the flip side, you may be lifting heavy, but you’re not actually executing a quantity of reps to create consistent and meaningful adaptation.

I cannot overstate this enough – there is no replacement for total volume.

(Side note: I’m NOT saying go drive yourself into the ground and make sure every workout is max effort. Rather, just understand that there is no replacement for “doing the work”.)

Even small incremental changes like increasing 5-10 pounds or adding an extra set can create significant compounded results.

With all that said, if you’ve plateaued in your fitness or athletic performance, start first by assessing your overall training volume first and then make adjustments as needed.

Not only will this approach help you break through sticking points, but it help you prioritize your workouts. Instead of constantly searching for what you need to add, change, tweak, etc. it will keep you focused on the “meat and potatoes” of exercise training.