Volume and Tonnage as strength training metrics Volume and Tonnage as strength training metrics

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Thread: Volume and Tonnage as strength training metrics

  1. #1
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    Default Volume and Tonnage as strength training metrics

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    In a weightlifting sense, volume is a dimensionless unit (number of sets x number of reps). Tonnage has the dimension of weight.

    When Starting Strength specifies adding 5lbs to three sets of five reps, it implies keep volume the same and increase tonnage a little. That I get. It doesnít specify it the other way around.

    However, when someone says older people need less volume (or more volume which is en vogue), I donít know what to do. Itís really the same thing for tonnage as neither is specifying anything.

    I think training can not consider volume or tonnage in any way to be productive. Where did this all come from? Am I wrong?

  2. #2
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    It came from the same place that the de-emphasis on correct technique did: online/remote coaching. If PRs done to correct depth are not expected, and the only thing that is expected is volume/tonnage/thrashing around, then "estimated 1RMs" are calculated, the lifter gets sore, and the "coach" gets paid. It is a business model, not a training model. Starr used to get money in an envelope, for which he would return a month's training numbers. This was before the video era, and I always wondered what 375x5 actually meant if it was 6 inches high. But the guy was satisfied, so everybody was happy.

    Being an older lifter myself, and having trained them in person, on the platform with them, for many years, I'm telling you that more tonnage for older lifters is not productive, because every significant rep must be recovered from, and insignificant reps do not increase force production capacity. But if you're the type of person (not you, Barry) that likes thrashing around in the gym and who thinks soreness is marker of accomplishment, go ahead. And pay your online coach. He has lots of clients that do. If you want to actually get stronger, you will have to actually lift actual weights you haven't lifted before -- not for more reps, but actual heavier weights.

  3. #3
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    I suppose programming that uses RPE is just an aggregate of indeterminate parameters such as volume and tonnage.

    Perhaps itís a hard nut for people to swallow but adding and multiplying unknowns doesnít increase precision. As such, RPE is really meaningless mathematically and in practice.

  4. #4
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    I may have mentioned this on here, and certainly I tell the story at the seminars, but a couple of years ago I was squatting a fairly heavy (for me) triple because I happened to have two spotters that night. The numbers were called for by the book, so I did them, even though every set felt like shit. Training, you know? Empty bar, 135, 225, 275, 305 all felt like shit. Work set was 335x3, I took it out of the rack, telling the spotters to stand close. First rep felt like shit, I said, "Get closer, this feels like shit." I did the next rep, felt like a limit rep, I said, "This probably not going to go, stay close." I took the third rep down, drove it back up, and it felt like a 10-second effort, definitely limit. I racked it, and said "That last one was horrible. Thanks for staying close." He said, "All three reps looked the same." I said, "Impossible." The other spotter said, "He's right. There was no difference in the bar speed of any of those three reps."

    I have been training for about 46 years, and I lack the ability to accurately judge the "RPE" of a set of three squats. Yet this "metric" is suddenly regarded as actual data, now that we have the internet? Wake the fuck up, people. RPE is a sales tool, and that is all. My feelings are not reliable, and neither are yours.

  5. #5
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    I have had a similar experience only benching. I was doing triples and the third rep on this set felt like it weighed a ton, like if there was two more pounds on the bar it wouldn't have gone up. After, my training partner said "That moved fast." I didn't believe him. All I know is it felt like my eyeballs were bleeding and it seemed like it took a loooong time.

  6. #6
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    starting strength coach development program
    Simply put, your own perception of the intensity or level of exertion is not data.

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