T Nation

Importance of Work Capacity

Can I, or should I seek to increase my ability to do a greater volume of productive work over time? Typically I train 5 days a week, but I only do two big exercises for 4-10 sets each: Example: squats and steep incline presses; Decline bench presses and Zercher Carries. Usually 3-6 reps per set on a ramp or 60-120 feet for carries.

Many of your programs are recommending 1-2 big exercises plus 2-4 more bodybuilding type exercises. By the time I finish with the 2 big ones, I don’t feel like adding in the smaller or isolation work. Should I seek to build up my tolerance for it, or take it easier on the bigger exercises, or just stick with the big ones if I am making progress?

Basically, CAN I increase my ability to do more productive work, and is it a good way to improve results in the long term?

I don’t mean this as a bump, but I wanted to explain my post now that I have had a chance to think about it.

I am now 47 and training to enter my first powerlifting meet. When I was in my mid to late 30s, I could ramp up to a 3-5 rep max, or to 5 x 3 triples at 80% and when I was done, I was STRONGER on things lower down the layer levels like explosives, slow eccentrics, 5 x 5 EMOM at say 70% or repping out and going for 20 reps at 225 in the bench for example, or lots of work on the squat or assistance exercise. Now, if I work up to a rep max on the bench or squat, I am weaker on lower layer work. I even fatigue on my way up the ladder where in the past, I tended to ramp up neurologically to where each set did not really feel harder than the last.

If anyone has experience with this, 1) Is this just age related, maybe I’m sliding in the direction of a different neurotype, or just not able to handle volume like I used to. 2) If I am deconditioned, is HIIT or loaded conditioning, or forcing myself to do more volume going to work? Is that a viable strategy. I get strong pretty well on 3-6 reps on major movements anyway. 3) Are there other strategies that might work like actually having a light, higher rep day by itself rather than after a heavy ramp, or possibly ramping to a target that is 10-15% under my projected max for those reps first?

Thanks all.

I don’t have an explanation but I used to be fried and now I’m stronger after my neurological work/ramp etc. Maybe it’s recovery? Or I might have ramped too intensely or with weights too heavy for me

Yes try what i’m doing ->
3 days a week full body ramping up 3-6 reps on major barbell.
2-3 days higher rep (calisthenics, rings, dumbells). These can also be MMA sports or just general physical movement.

You will love the change of pace and feel rejuvanted. Added benefits of hypertrophy & CNS reset