MENOPAUSE FITNESS MOMENT: High-Volume Training

fitness in menopause

MENOPAUSE FITNESS MOMENT: High-Volume Training

I tried it and love the results – Give it a try

As we age, it is important for our overall health that we work to retain muscle mass and strength.  Otherwise, the risk of falls and fractures becomes greater. This can lead to a lower quality of life.  A great way to retain both muscle mass and strength is through strength training. That’s why I have always made it a priority in my own workouts.

Because I am both a fitness professional as well as a middle-aged perimenopausal woman,  I am trying out a variety of types of exercises to find what really works best for my personal needs.

We all have unique experiences that influence the way we exercise.  I sustained injuries when I was in the U. S. Air Force. That changed the way I was able to exercise.  Before those injuries, I usually opted for high-intensity workouts. Now I look for exercise routines that will cause the least amount of pain.  At the same time, I want these to be as beneficial as possible for strength and endurance. For the past four months, I have been testing out something called High Volume Training. This got my attention because there is evidence that it reduces body fat, enhances strength and lean muscle mass. It’s something you might want to try. 

What is high-volume training?
Basic resistance training programs usually consist of one exercise performed three times for a certain number of repetitions. For example SQUATS: Do 12-15 squats three times which yields a total of 36-45 repetitions of that exercise. In comparison, with high-volume training, you will either do more repetitions per set (for example 25-30 repetitions versus 12-15) or do more sets (for example seven sets versus three). Either way, the result is more volume/repetitions. As you progress, you up the intensity by adding more resistance or weight. The higher volume will challenge your muscle endurance and the higher intensity will target your strength and hypertrophy/muscle growth. This is a great combination to build more muscle and strength. 

WHAT I DID
For the last 3 months, I incorporated a high-volume and high-intensity progression to my lower body routine. I gradually increased the weights and number of sets to observe how my body would react. The results are in and I have increased my endurance and strength significantly without adding significant muscle size. These are the results I wanted, so I’m happy to have found this training program. I think it’s worth a try. 

Here’s my high-volume/high-intensity routine for leg presses: 
Week 1: 3 sets (25, 20, 15 repetitions) 
Week 2-3: 4 sets (25, 20, 15, 10)
Week 4-5: 4 sets increasing the weight by 10% (25, 20, 15, 10)
Week 5-6: 5 sets (25, 20, 15, 10, 8)
Week 7-8: 6 sets increasing weight by 10% (20, 15, 10, 10, 8, 5) 
Week 9-10: 7 sets (20, 15, 15, 10, 10, 8, 5) 
Week 11-12: 8 sets (20, 15, 15, 10, 10, 8, 8, 5)

Note: If you’re new to this type of training, make sure to ease into it and progress very slowly. Always give yourself plenty of rest to recover or you’ll be asking for injury. Pick a weight that you can do for the number of repetitions. Increase weight if you can do more, decrease weight if you can’t complete the number. There are many variables within this programming. The numbers, weights, and exercises I chose worked well for me. You will need to find what’s right for you. 

I’d be very interested in hearing about your experience with this training. Leave a message for me on the blog. 

Stay curious, unafraid, and armed with knowledge!
– Dr. Maria Luque