The Law of Diminishing Returns

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The Law of Diminishing Returns

Pro-Tip - The Law of Diminishing Returns (sound smart and train better)

This is something they make you learn in economics, but the basics of this theory is that you can’t keep adding to one factor of a production line, and think there is still a positive outcome. The example they always give is adding more humans on the assembly line works until the number of workers creates its own issues. You add more workers, you need someone to manage those workers.

This applies to lots of things. You can add volume in squats, and it works until it creates its own issues (ie, you overtrain and you get injured). You add more volume, you need to increase recovery or lower intensity.

If you are doing your own programming (or even working with a coach) this is a fundamental cornerstone of planning. Deal with the positive and negative of each change, and ACTIVELY plan for the known outcome.

Do not assume that you accumulate stress over a block, and magically heal during a deload, then proceed in perpetuity. Ask around, the vast majority of injuries are the accumulation of stress from PLANNED training load that results in tendonitis, pulled muscles or worse, torn muscles.

The longer you have trained, the more you require a variety of stimuli and a reduction of repeated movements. Not many people benching over 5 years can do long blocks of PL based bench and still have elbows or shoulders healthy enough to scratch their own head.

Some basics you could consider


1. The longer you have trained, the more likely you have accumulated damage in joints, the more likely you will need changes in the big movements
2. The stronger you are, the less RPE and % of max movements are relevant to your program
3. The stronger you are, the more warm ups you need to do, the more you are accumulating tonnage before your main movements
4. The less advanced you are, the less your tonnage is affected by warmups
5. Total tonnage counts, always
6. Total cals burned during the week is a good metric for recovery (ie, if you do other sports or manual work, you have other strains on recovery)
7. The less advanced you are, the more you can gain from technical proficiency
9. The more advanced you are, the more you can gain from highly specific training (ie, same warmups and pauses as comp day)

In EVERY one of the above, we are trying to show the net effects of your training to date, so you can consider them when you make changes to your program (or your coach does). Never just assume more is better.
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Its a worn cliche, but powerlifting is truly a marathon, not a sprint.

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