Hello dear Zec+ community and sympathizers. In this article we dedicate ourselves to the “old hand” Workload. What it is and what role it plays in muscle building, we explain in the next lines. Have fun reading!
Workout and muscle building
In the past, that is, very many years ago, it was thought that the muscle grows through training. So at first it sounded logical that you cause more muscle growth in which you train more. That sounds logical even to a layman, doesn’t it? If I press the gas pedal harder on a car, I’ll go faster.
But this belief was a misconception. Because when a car goes faster, it also consumes more fuel. Theoretically, the body also consumes more energy in the form of calories when we exercise longer. But we do not necessarily achieve muscle growth because of this. So there is a “sweet spot” here. A point where the combination of intensity and volume achieve the perfect result (or the desired one).
Today we know, training sets a stimulus, but accounts for less than 30% of success. You can train as much and as intense as you want, if regeneration and nutrition (fuel) are not optimally matched, nothing (positive) happens first.
So the question is HOW and by WHAT do you achieve an optimal stimulus in the muscle so that it grows better, more effectively and faster – so that the muscle quality increases? This is where the workload comes into play.
What is the Workload?
Workload refers to a simple formula: Reps x Sets x Weight = Workload. Now we could stop here. But then you wouldn’t be much smarter.
If you train (using fictional numerical examples) your chest on the bench press with 100kg, do 3 sets of 8 reps each, then your workload would equal 2400kg. So that’s the TOTAL weight your muscle has moved in the entire training time! Sounds like a lot, right? But not as much as 4800kg, so if you do 100kg for 4 sets and 12 reps! Because that’s twice the weight, or let’s call it work, that your muscle is doing.
Basically, the workload is a guide for you and your training. You can thus determine a value that will give you a goal for each workout. A goal could be to reach 10,000kg workload for every chest workout – all exercises combined of course (10,000kg is already a lot!)..
Is there another factor?
But now a much more important factor comes into play. It’s NOT ONLY the workload that matters, but also the quality of it. That’s right, quality. You can’t really measure this quality, rather feel it. A good orientation is provided by the TUT method. TUT means time under tension, i.e. how long a muscle is under tension. Basically, you can call TUT an extreme intensity technique, which can certainly crack any plateau.
Here, contrary to the general recommendation, a repetition is not completed with a ranking of 1-1-1 (concentric, static and eccentric phase) but with a sequence of 5-5-5. The very idea of performing the positive part of a movement, i.e., pressing the barbell up, for a full five seconds scares off many athletes. Holding for five seconds to then lower the barbell for 5 seconds is very challenging (times are purely fictional and vary from athlete to athlete and exercise to exercise!). The biggest advantage of this method is that the slow movement activates DEFINITELY more muscle fibers!
Our body always works very effectively. It therefore performs a repetition with maximum effectiveness. And effectiveness here means activating as few muscle fibers as possible. What should also be mentioned is that TUT training usually also uses much less weight, on average 30-40% less.
Conclusion – All Together
Now the workload comes into play with different training methods and techniques. That is why it is difficult to generalize this value. To make it short: There is NO VALUE that guarantees muscle growth! You can have a workload of 10,000 kg and your growth stimulus will end up being less than an athlete with a 5000 kg workload – because they have more muscle fibers activated. After all, at the end of the day (or workout), it’s not just how many kilograms of iron your muscles moved that matters, but how (in)effectively it happened!