Strength Training 101: Minimum Effective Dose

More often than not, many think that you need to do a lot of repetitions of an exercise or to spend hours upon hours in the gym in order to benefit or see results. At Bodymass Gym, we stress Quality over Quantity.  Performing an excessive amount of repetitions or using a weight that does not suit you can increase the risk of injury due to form breakdown and overuse of the specific muscle group being used.  There is a difference between doing as little as you can and doing as much as you need to.  The minimum effective dose is all that you need to see results.  For example, if you have an infection, and 100mg would help the infection, your doctor would not prescribe you 300mg of that medication.

Here are some tips to follow when planning your next strength training workout:

  1. Total Body, 2-3 Days per Week OR Two Days of Upper Body and Two Days of Lower Body: Your workout should consist of 8-10 exercises, with a repetition range of 6-10 reps, and complete at least 2-3 sets.  Be sure to perform a total body warm-up that includes mobility work specific to the focus of the workout.
  2. Agonist & Antagonist Muscle Groups: Incorporate supersets to cut down your rest time between exercises.  If you are performing a lower body exercise, pair it with an upper body exercise; or if you are performing a pushing movement, pair it with a pulling movement.  For example, barbell bench press followed by a bent-over dumbbell row.
  3. Contrast Training: Immediately follow a strength exercise with a power exercise of the same muscle group.  For example, goblet squat followed by squat jumps.
  4. Unilateral and Bilateral Movements: Everyone has a stronger side.  Incorporate the use of both dumbbells and barbell exercises.  For example, barbell push press followed by a single arm lat pulldown.
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In addition to the tips listed above, remember it’s important to ensure that your training plan and strategy is aligned with your training goals, in terms of both quality and quantity.

Written by: Megan Osysko