Competition and performance can be a great way of tracking your progression and knowing where you stand compared to your competition. It can also be a great way of discovering holes in your game, or finding out your’e not quite where you want to be. If this happens, it can be common to look for what you want to add to your training plan. However, continually adding different elements can lead to a build of volume and time commitments. This often leads to overtraining or a lack of motivation. If you want to train smart, you may want to think about the minimum effective dose.
What is Minimum Effective Dose (MED)?
Simply put, MED is the smallest amount of input for the largest gain. One of the best descriptions I have read was by Zen Gray on Breaking Muscle.
“If water boils at 100°C at standard air pressure. Water is not “more boiled” if you add more heat. You would save money on your gas or electric bill if you didn’t continue to increase the temperature of the water – thereby conserving resources for something else more productive.”
The same applies for training. You don’t want to be wasting effort on lots of extra sets and exercises while burning through precious time and energy.
An Example For Endurance Runners
Runners like to run. I’m guessing that if you are a runner, the reason you started was because you enjoy it? The same goes for all sports and exercises. It’s well documented that endurance sports can benefit massively from strength training.
However, you want the training to supplement your running, not take away time and prevent you from doing what you enjoy. Don’t get bogged down in all the various methods of strength training available – remember your’e not training to become a powerlifter!
Research has found that the following protocols are sufficient to increase strength over a 12 week programme.
- 2 strength sessions a week
- 2-3 sets
- 4-10 reps
If you just want to improve the basics, then simply incorporate the basic movement patterns. For an endurance runner you may choose the following.
- Lower Body
- Back Squat
- Upper Body
- Bench Press
- Bent Over Row
Whilst this isn’t the most in depth programme full of varying movements, sets & reps it will get you where you need to be.
Think about your goal, what you want to achieve and how you can fit it all in. As a Leading Personal Trainer in Richmond, I often utilise the warm up as a time to focus on specific weaknesses.
Movement patterns and mobility can easily be addressed quickly and simply within the warm up. Keep it light and keep it moving. As the weeks progress you will see improvement with minimal interference on your session.