Recently the Canadian athlete and youtuber Jeff Nippard made a video interviewing 5 of the greatest personalities in the training world: Mike Israetel, John Meadows, Stefi Cohen, Eric Helms and Greg Nuckols, with a simple question: How hard should you train to build Muscle?
These were their responses:
Dr. Mike Israetel: we must train hard enough to achieve gains but not so that our next training is affected, at the beginning of a 4-week mesocycle we should train less hard (3RIR) and increase the load and repetitions progressively and at the end of the mesocycle very hard (we should reduce 1 RIR each week until we reach failure) and then do a deload phase.
John Meadows: depends on how advanced you are, but the main progression has to be in the form of strength, for begginers (1-2 years) they dont need sets to failure or high volume, for intermediates they need to add more volume and strengh, and for advanced lifters they should increase volume, increase intensity and add advanced techniques like cluster sets, drop sets … The most important thing for advanced athletes is to use mechanical tension.
Dr Stefi Cohen: you have to work obsessively, people don’t train hard enough, you have to push yourself to the limit but also rest as necessary, training to failure is necessary to improve strength, your workouts have to focus on increasing intensity each workout (always using accumulation phases), dedicate 6 to 8 weeks to training to the limit, trying to increase your maximum weight each week.
Dr Eric Helms: You need an RPE very close to failure to reach hypertrophy, or a weight that with enough volume will lead to failure, the muscle needs to feel a constant mechanical tension in order to grow, you have to combine a medium volume with a high weight, you dont have to leave many repetitions in the tank but also do not do very few repetitions with a lot of weight to achieve hypertrophy.
Greg Nuckols: it depends on the athlete, the exercise and the objective to be achieved, the workouts will depend on two things, how hard to push each set and how hard to push each session, for hypertrophy, the most effective is to approach failure , or what he calls “technical breakdown” (when you start to use momentum instead of proper technique, it would be time to stop), an RPE of 8 is recommended, the volume of training will depend on how you feel when you leave the gym and how recovered you are before your next workout.