Side note: This article contains excerpts from my book Next Level Strength Training.
When it comes to designing strength training programs, there are only a handful of variables you can change. These variables include (among others):
• How many repetitions you perform
• How often you train
• Which exercises you choose
• How many sets you do
• Whether you perform a full range of motion in the movement or only partials
• The speed with which you perform an exercise
Training volume, intensity and frequency are all interdependent factors. Generally speaking, the lower your training intensity, the more volume you need in order to reap rewards and vice versa. Likewise, when frequency is high (i.e. daily training or multiple training sessions per day), intensity and volume can't remain high for long periods of time as this will compromise the body's ability to recover, leading to plateaued or even diminished strength levels and possibly overtraining.
In this installment of the Research Corner, I'll try and boil down what really constitutes effective training parameters for the natural, non-gifted strength trainee with the goal of strength and hypertrophy gains as far as the amount of total sets is concerned.