Minimum effective dose is a phrase getting thrown around at the minute and I’d like to give you some insight on it!
In layman’s terms – this is doing or changing the least amount of variables possible, while achieving progression!
To give an example – lets say we’re an average joe with a 9-5 job, medium level stress levels from work and social life etc.
If we do 2 days a week training which involves 2 full body sessions each day. Both day’s we do 1 exercise per body part, a total of 6 exercises a day and 2/3 sets an exercise with very good intensity and execution. Due to the fact, its only 2 sessions a week, we can recover fully and are 100% ready for out next session, mentally and physically. With the right nutritional strategies, we can absolutely make progress with this split!
On the other side of the spectrum, we have the same person training 6 days a week, push pull legs rest and repeat, 5-6 exercises per day and 3/4 sets per exercise. How do you think our recovery is with only one day rest? Physically will we be ready to go and give it our all in the next session? Mentally will we be there or will we be fatigued? My guess is we will be tired, sluggish and heavily fatigued due to the amount of volume we are doing and the little amount of rest days.What does this then mean? A decrease in intensity and performance. And as we know – intensity builds muscle density. We need to keep performance levels high to promote growth. And I haven’t even mentioned work and social life. High stress levels, impaired sleep, poor work performance and mood, low energy to name but a few are the symptoms.
Another way to look at this, is if you are plateauing in progression of your lifts. You’re stuck on the same numbers for weeks. What do you do now? Rather than changing the exercise, range of motion, rep range, tempo, rest time, overall volume and order in your programme all at the same time, change one thing. Use the minimum effective dose. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, try one other variable until it does.
So…. in summary. Plan a routine that gets you results, but that you can recover from. This is much more long term focused. Use the minimum amount of effort to achieve said results, until results stop. When they do, change one variable at a time!
If anyone needs any help with this – i offer online coaching and personlaised training/ meal programmes!