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Training Less vs Increasing Work Capacity

Recently, after reading a lot of Dan John’s stuff I realized that sticking to the basics and not complicating things was the way to make gains.

So on the one hand I started training with less volume AND less intensity and less often. However I realize that in the long term it would probably be good to bring up my work capacity to allow for more hypertrophy.

Any thoughts?

how does sticking to the basics mean to train less often with less intensity and less volume? are you taking a break or doing pilates?

Over generalization here:

Increasing work capacity over time is the only reasonable way I can see to make continued long term gains

I think there is a general overall fear of overtraining now a days and also believe “the basics” includes a lot of good old fashioned hard work. Also if you can handle/properly recover from more work how is this not going to help your training goals?

[quote]Zulu wrote:
Recently, after reading a lot of Dan John’s stuff I realized that sticking to the basics and not complicating things was the way to make gains.

So on the one hand I started training with less volume AND less intensity and less often. However I realize that in the long term it would probably be good to bring up my work capacity to allow for more hypertrophy.

Any thoughts?[/quote]

Dan John says that it’s best to keep it short and frequent, in the long haul, and that it’s best to be an all-round athlete, and that all training is complementary to a competition.

What Dan basically says, is that you don’t need “a lot” of anything.
Just do some of it, just enough to make progress, and do it just often enough to make progress.

For example, his throwing athletes have 3 times weekly weight training, on top of their throwing practice, and other drills(sprinting, farmer’s walk, stone carry, etc…GPP if you will)

Increasing your work capacity comes from being increasingly active throughout the day and the week, not from making extra long hours in the gym in one area, even if your intensity is in check.

For example :

3 days of focusing on a few basic lifts, 3-4 per workout
2 days of sprinting and other outside drills
one day or more of some fun active hobby … whatever you want …

None of this is exhaustive … it’s just to “learn” your body and nervous system to be and keep active …

In this article Dan pretty much gives some examples :

http://danjohn.org/2003directory.html

zulu, you can definitely have success with 3-4 brief workouts a week using the compound lifts. You can use the dan john 1-lift a day approach which is fine. However, dan john keeps in mind that so many people just freak out about tempo,reps,sets,etc. They just overanalyze the hell out of everything instead of working hard. However, if you want to maximize strength/size its important to increase work capacity over time. The key is to make sure the increased work is beneficial and not harmful. This means when a workout is added, it makes you stronger by helping you recover. If adding volume/workouts is harmful then you’re doing something wrong. A lot of this comes down to other factors including diet/sleep/genetics/lifestyle. However, increasing your work capacity if done correctly and at an appropriate rate helps a lot

[quote]vandalay15 wrote:
… However, if you want to maximize strength/size its important to increase work capacity over time. The key is to make sure the increased work is beneficial and not harmful… [/quote]

this is basicly what I was trying to say… an increased work capacity is necassary to maximise results, and this will become more of an issue as time goes by. The more training experiance you get under your belt the more you will have to push the envelope to get continued results, and eventually without increasing your work capacity you will exhaust all your other training veriables eventually.

Hey guys,

Thanks for the input. The summer is here and I really feel like training outside and ditching all the indoor exercises like benchpress, regular pull-ups, etc.

My plan is go outside every day alone or with friends and just do kick ass heavy movements(C&J, throws, ring work, sandbags, turkish get-ups)–getting as much quality work done while staying as fresh as possible.

One thing I’ve learned is that you have to tinker around with your workouts. This is painfully obvious, but it didn’t occur to me for a whole year. If I did 3 sets of 5 for grip work and didn’t gain, I assumed I had to change rep scheme. Now I realize maybe I just wasn’t taking enough rest between training, or whatever. I went back to exercises I had stalled on and started doing ONE single set NOT to failure every few days and made gains with that. It doesn’t take much.

[quote]Zulu wrote:
I went back to exercises I had stalled on and started doing ONE single set NOT to failure every few days and made gains with that. It doesn’t take much. [/quote]

this makes me think that it’d be nice to know how little one must do to make gains.

Of course, a single submaximal set doesn’t work for very long…but the point is simply that there’s no use doing 103, or 55 of 10*10 when a single set will do the trick early on.

The reason a single set worked was because you were used to doing 5 sets. Once you get used to doing one set, it won’t work anymore.