There are numerous valuable resources on Earth, such as gold, fossil fuels, and rare minerals used in modern technology. However, for most people, the most precious resources are their time and energy. Unfortunately, time and energy are often in short supply due to constant demands. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed, our time and energy are drained away by tasks and people we may prefer to avoid. Common drains on time and energy include work, commuting, household chores, unproductive relationships, stress, and worrying.
For many individuals, adding exercise to an already packed schedule is not only unappealing but also seems impossible. While some may argue that even the busiest person can find time to hit the gym if they prioritize exercise, life often gets in the way of our best intentions. Many people believe that dedicating several hours to exercise is necessary to see any benefits. Fitness professionals often exacerbate this issue by designing programs that are too long, complicated, and unsustainable for anyone except full-time athletes and bodybuilders.
Typically, a strength training workout includes multiple exercises and multiple sets per muscle group, resulting in several lengthy workouts per week. However, this time-consuming approach is impractical and unnecessary for most individuals. The good news is that you don’t need to spend hours working out to transform your body, build muscle, lose fat, and get fit. In fact, you can achieve these goals in minutes instead of hours. To do so, you must forget much of what you’ve been told about exercise and embrace lesser-known but science-backed training strategies.
Low-volume strength training is an efficient way to shorten your workouts while maximizing results. When asked how many sets are needed per week to build a muscle group, bodybuilders often suggest around 20. This answer aligns with numerous studies suggesting that a high training volume is required for optimal muscle growth. However, high-volume training is incredibly time-consuming and draining in terms of both time and energy.
But what if your goal isn’t to maximize muscle growth? What if you simply want to be stronger and more muscular than average, prioritizing your health and appearance? In that case, very little training is required. Studies show that while 20 sets per week may be ideal for muscle hypertrophy, one set three times per week is enough to trigger respectable gains in size and strength. This means that you only need one working set per muscle group per workout, which is significantly less time-consuming.
This low-volume approach contradicts what most fitness professionals prescribe. Many continue to promote workouts that are too long for the average person to follow. If time and energy are already scarce resources, it won’t be long before workouts are skipped or abandoned altogether. Low-volume training is almost as effective as high-volume training but saves a significant amount of time and energy. This makes it more accessible, increasing the likelihood of consistent training and potentially producing better results.
Let’s explore the benefits of low-volume strength training:
1. Shorter Workouts: By limiting yourself to one work set of 2-3 exercises per muscle group, your workouts will be much shorter compared to conventional strength and bodybuilding training. This is particularly appealing when time and energy are limited.
2. Reduced Training Frequency: Most strength training programs involve split routines, where different muscles are trained on different days. This allows for better time and energy management throughout the week. However, when training volume is reduced to a minimum, it is possible to combine more muscle groups per session or even train the entire body in one go. This means fewer trips to the gym and a reduced training frequency of two or three times a week.
3. Improved Recovery: High-volume training can be draining. Having to gather energy and push through lengthy workouts four, five, or six times a week can be exhausting. With low-volume training, workouts are less tiring, shorter, and less frequent, allowing for improved recovery and more time for other activities.
In conclusion, low-volume strength training offers a time-efficient and effective approach to building muscle and improving strength. While high-volume training may be optimal for maximizing muscle growth, it is often impractical and unsustainable for the average person. By embracing low-volume training, individuals can achieve impressive results while saving time and energy. This approach is more accessible and increases the likelihood of consistent training, ultimately leading to better overall fitness and well-being.