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  • Writer's pictureDave the physio

Quality vs Quantity

When training and exercising there are a plethora of different training protocols and paradigms that can be followed but which one is suitable for you?

The same movement (e.g. row) can be completely different based on the intensity, speed, technique and resistance and quality of the exercise control.

By reducing the speed of the repetition and perfecting the movement, you will reduce the overall volume of training. Does this mean reducing the overall volume will mean you have a decreased training effect as currently all research indicates that one of the major factors in obtaining a training effect is the total volume of training?

Yes and No. Because once again the dynamics of the exercise changes if we change the volume, intensity and speed of the exercise. By training to a higher volume the overall intensity must be reduced to accommodate for said higher volume. In doing so we have now shifted to a endurance based training and our body will react and adapt differently.

Performing 20 sets of 3 repetions is completely different from performing 3 sets of 20 repetitions even though the volume is equal (60 repetitions).

Consensus of set and repetition is still yet to be reached from the scientific community regarding the perfect volume/intensity/frequency/training cycle as there is so much variation in the population and how different individuals react to training.

Guidelines such as the ACSM are based on the latest or most well established evidence we have for training: - Power 1-3 repetitions at ~90+% 1RM - Strength 3-6 repetitions at ~80-90%1RM - Hypertrophy 8-12 repetitions at ~ 65-80% 1RM - Endurance 15+ repetitions at ~ 60% 1RM

So back to the old question of Quality vs Quantity.

How do we know what is the correct and optimal quality/quantity trade off?

Ultimately it all comes down to performing the exercise in a range of movement that is repeatable, safe, and training the target muscle group. If you answer no to any of them the factors as said before must be modified to create the correct movement pattern. Not only will this ensure longevity of your training, but it builds stronger and more efficient neural pathways to create even better training results.

For more information book online @

Strength and Pilates Physiotherapy Surry Hills

Level 2, 103 Foveaux Street Surry Hills

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