I’m a visual person. I like when things are laid out in a simple, visual manner, and that’s why graphs and charts work well for me. I especially enjoy when simple graphics can be used to explain some pretty complex ideas. Here’s a chart that I created that can help explain a lot of things:
- Exercise Dose- This can be whatever you want. It could be total workout volume-sets and reps. It could be exercise intensity. It could be time under tension. It could be the amount of time you spend stretching. It could be the distance you run. Whatever your definition of “dose” fits here.
- Exercise Benefits- Whatever you’re trying to get out of your training. If the dose is time spent stretching, the benefits might be improved range of motion. If the dose is the number of sprints your’re performing, the benefits might be improved body composition. If the dose is the number of bullpens a pitcher throws in spring training, maybe benefits means arm strength.
- At either end of the spectrum, we see very little benefit. Too much or too little of anything usually results in diminished results.
- Notice that on the ascending portion of the graph, Dose and Benefits increase pretty proportionally. Adding work or adding intensity leads to greater benefits…until it doesn’t, which is the descending portion of the graph. And once you reach that point of diminishing returns, the returns diminish in a hurry.
- The point between the ascending and descending portions of the graph is the money zone. This is where we want to live. This is where a good coach/trainer/teacher makes their money. Knowing where the minimal effective dose exists for each individual is paramount to success, regardless of what “success” means for the person–improved body composition, improved performance, etc.
- A good coach/trainer/teacher can take you to the very edge of this minimal effective dose without pushing you off a cliff towards fatigue, sloppy technique, and injury.