The Loadability Problem in Low-Skill Exercises

Aug 25, 2022


How stimulating is this particular exercise for this person?

This is the concept of loadability in exercise selection. 

What I'm looking for when I discuss loadability, is how easy is this exercise that I've selected to load (in total load), progressively overload week to week, and ensure this exercise is stimulating enough to elicit some sort of adaptation for the person doing the movement.

So, for example: Goblet squats are great for gen pop. This exercise is highly loadable (you just hand them the dumbbell and have them go). But, this exercise reaches a point of diminishing returns artificially - at a certain point you are no longer fatiguing out the targeted tissues (quads) due to the load, AND, if you're at that point, your squat max is probably high enough that this is an incredibly low percentage movement.

Most gyms I've seen have DBs up to 120. So, if you're a 405 squatter, and you're goblet squatting 120, that is 29% of your 1RM. Is that enough load to reach a stimulating amount of volume to grow the quads?

Probably not.

You would be better off with high bar, front squat, SSB, hatfields, hack squat or leg press if you're looking for more stimulation from a bilateral, knee dominant movement.

So when building a program, keep the loadability of the exercise in mind when thinking "how stimulating is this exercise for this particular person", because, remember that ALL movements accumulate fatigue. We want to make sure that we're getting the best stimulus to fatigue ratio that we can for the TARGETED tissues, if the goal is hypertrophy, or for the targeted movement pattern if the goal is strength.

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