As the REVL training program begins its next stage, the nature and goals of your sessions will change. This brings with it new challenges, new adaptations and new progress for your fitness journey.
To kickstart your Build phase efforts with intention, in this blog post we’ve broken down the product team’s debrief and top tips on making the most of everything coming up next. Offering insight on all things Volume recovery, as well as how you can expect the new Build phase to feel in your body and reflect on your progression.
How Volume prepares you for Build
The Volume block was all about increasing work capacity; stimulating a physiological adaptation from the accumulation of lower loads at higher reps. Having just completed this higher-rep phase, you’ll be in a strong position on aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, as well as muscular endurance and hypertrophy. What’s more, your lifting technique, confidence and mobility have just had the chance to develop, now leaving you ready to take on the higher loads in Build.
With this in mind, we touched base with product designer Josh on how he’d recommend smoothing your transition from Volume to Build:
“Each phase can affect people differently. After the high amount of quality contractions from targeted muscles in Volume, it’s common to be feeling more muscle soreness than usual. It’s not a bad thing. But to avoid this tightness compromising your form and risking the wrong kind of soreness, I’d recommend some extra mobility work- with stretching after your sessions and foam rolling pre-session helping to maintain your full range of motion as the lifts get heavier.”
With the Volume block having sustained such challenges and positive adaptations for the body, many members are left wondering why they’re suddenly in a new phase, with a new focus. Muscular endurance, hypertrophy and a strong aerobic base were all feeling pretty good, so- as fun as the new 60 burpee Sweat or Hip Thrust burnouts are- what is the point of the switch up, or is it really just for ‘fun’?
The reasoning behind training program switch ups
The human body is all about efficiency- it’s not wasting energy on an adaptation or growth it’s not going to need. The resulting fitness reality is that without new challenges, comes no new adaptations, no progress and no change. It’s why your first 3 months at other studios might have come with increased muscle and fitness which, despite sustained efforts, seemed to hit plateaus or diminishing returns over time.
As explained by Product Expert Josh, what distinguishes group training at REVL is a commitment to using new challenges to foster continued progress:
“The Volume to Build is to avoid plateaus in adaptation, which occurs when a stimulus remains the same. Adaptations to a new stimulus are significant in the first 3-4 weeks and begin to taper the longer a stimulus remains “similar”. Instead of getting stuck at lower loads, with tapering progression, we take the endurance and technique mastered in Volume, and shift the stimulus to building progressively heavier loads. This allows for even faster strength progression, at the same time as maintaining the endurance and hypertrophy we’ve worked hard for.”
The improvements made in Volume provide the perfect springboard to make these further muscular gains. Allowing you to utilise and enhance your newfound strength and power with the increased intensities coming up next in Build. With this in mind, let’s turn to what you can expect from your sessions and progression in the upcoming weeks.
Looking forward to Build
At its core, the Build block of programming is pretty transparent. Its focus is centred on building strength – sculpting your body and your mind to cope with higher intensity before the Peak Phase. We’ll shift to reduced reps and increased loads, as well as prolonged efforts of hard work to build up anaerobic and aerobic capacities.
Below, we break down how these shifts priorities translate to changes in your programming:
The fundamental goal of Perform sessions is strength progression. In the 3 week Build Phase, this focus is accentuated as programming becomes centred around tracking progressive overload and amping up the numbers across main compound lifts.
If you think of the past few weeks as walking up the ‘Volume Hill’, in Build you’ll be working your way back down until Testing Week with lower reps and increased weight. For your main squat, deadlift and bench compound lifts this will look a little something like:
Week 1 – 6-8 Reps
Week 2 – 4-6 Reps
Week 3 – 3-5 Reps
Within this range we’ll be working to build strength and lean muscle; testing and prioritising your strength, instead of muscular endurance.
Move is also about strengthening muscle, but with a slightly more balanced approach to some sweaty endurance at the same time. Within the Build block, reps in Move will be reduced incrementally. However, relative to Perform, you can still expect to see higher rep ranges and added volume to maintain muscular endurance and a strong but fit aesthetic.
The Build focus is as much on building muscle, as it is the capacity to transfer these gains into more sustained outputs of power. Sweat sessions within the Build phase will therefore focus on reducing the work-to-rest ratio down from the double work to rest ratio built up in the Volume block, and towards more equal work to rest ratios. Looking a little like:
Week 1 – 0:30 : 0:30
Week 2 – 0:45 : 0:45
Week 3- 0:60 : 0:60
Building up to longer efforts with shorter rest, the Sweat sessions in this block will make use of fast-paced EMOM’s and intense partner work. In addition to these changes, comes the return of alternating Sweat Sprint & Sweat Engine classes on Tuesday and Thursday.
So what’s with all the changes?
At REVL we’re all about sweating and sculpting with intention. And as much as we all love a good routine, we also love the progress that comes with embracing the ‘nothing changes if nothing changes’ attitude.
So, after another chat with product expert Josh, we’ve given a brief sum on the reasoning behind these specific program switch ups; armouring you up with the bigger picture benefits to motivate you through those tough sessions ahead:
- Alternating Sweat sessions: offers you the opportunity to train both classes every fortnight, regardless of your schedule. This boosts movement variation within your weekly programming, and avoids any reduced load falling exclusively on Engine or Sweat sessions and movements. Ultimately offering all round progressive overload on your muscles and overall fitness.
- Longer Work & Shorter Rest: increases your time spent at your anaerobic threshold (higher heart rate zones) to promote significant adaptations in anaerobic capacity. These efforts are tough, but in providing greater challenges you encourage greater adaptations. Leaving you feeling stronger and more resilient, both in the body and in the mind.
- Progress tracking & measurements: whilst you might not believe us, we’re not just using percentages as an additional sweat factor in the studio. Meticulous tracking will keep you progressing without overloading.
Getting the most from your Build phase
Whilst there’s less reps and contractions, the heavier weight places extra demand on the Central Nervous System (CNS) during the Build phase. Whilst this represents a positive stress on the body when it comes to increasing muscle strength, there is a risk of burnout if the body is overloaded. Product Expert Josh provides some helpful tips to avoid this pitfall. Ensuring you continue to progress through Build as intensities increase:
“It’s common to feel a little drained towards the end of the Build Phase. It’s why we include a de-load week, to counteract this fatigue. If you start to feel exhausted early on in the Build Phase, it’s important to avoid muscular failure at every set. Slightly back off the load, leave Leave 1-2 reps in reserve, and save the max out sets for where it counts, in Testing week!”
To Wrap Up
The Build block of training is designed to test your limits; providing challenge and adaptations for both the body and the mind. As you progress throughout the weeks and watch your micro numbers go up, it can be motivating to keep the bigger picture reasoning in mind. Remembering that with incremental increases in demand, come incremental adaptations, incremental change and ultimately- incredible cumulative impact.