Check out the Best Hypertrophy Guide for Triceps from Renaissance Periodization.
Best Hypertrophy Guide for Triceps
Build bigger triceps with these tips from Dr. Mike Israetel.
Firstly, it is important to understand three concepts.
- MV = Maintenance Volume
- MEV = Minimum Effective Volume
- MAV = Maximum Adaptive Volume
Mike Israetal explains them in more detail below.
MV = Maintenance Volume
“This is the amount of training (aka number of sets) that allows you to maintain your current level of muscular size.
If you’ve never trained, obviously that amount is zero sets! But when you begin training hard and make gains above your body’s default levels of muscle, you’ll need to train at least at your MV to retain those gains.
Bad news: there is no way to retain previously gained muscle without training. Good news: MV is actually very low, and you can typically keep almost all of your muscle with as little as 6 working sets per muscle group per week.
Another piece of good news is that your training loads go up as you build muscle, so the relative effort you must put in to maintain muscle stays stable over the long term.
Though we might expect the MVs of advanced lifters to be much higher than 6 working sets per week, they usually aren’t, and set for set, beginner and advanced alike need about the same volumes to keep muscle on.
Volume landmarks can change somewhat depending on your training frequency, so it’s important to note that MVs in these articles are for individuals training at least 2x per week per muscle group. It’s possible that similar MVs can be attained training 1x per week, but, for smaller muscles that recover quickly (like rear delts), some deviation may arise.
MEV = Minimum Effective Volume
This is the amount of training that actually grows your muscles: anything below this amount may only maintain them.
If, like most of us, you’re training to make gains, you had better make sure to be above your MEV: your minimum effective volume.
Notice that, unless you literally want to make the slowest gains possible, your average weekly training volume should be above your MEV, which is the minimum volume required to make any gains.
That said, your MEV is a great place to start the first week of your mesocycles and build up from there.
For those who just recently started training, growth comes faster, making their MVs and MEVs nearly identical.
However, the minimum volume needed to grow climbs higher and higher the more training experience you have.
As such, your MEV starts to really leave your MV behind as you grow from an intermediate to an advanced level.
MAV = Maximum Adaptive Volume
Finally: the range of volumes in which you make your best gains.
It’s much more of a range than the other volume landmarks because it changes greatly within each training mesocycle (week to week).
Every time you train a specific muscle group with a specific set of exercises, weights, and volumes, muscle growth results. Overload the system, and you get results.
But systems adapt, and what was very overloading last session is no longer as overloading in the following one.
In order to keep optimally overloading, you must use some combination of heavier weights and higher volumes with each successive microcycle in the accumulation phase of training.
Recapping: each time you train hard, the volume needed to get the same great gains in the next session goes up, and thus, your MAV continually goes up through the mesocycle.
Eventually, the amount of volume to keep you progressing at the best rates actually hits and then exceeds the amount of volume you can recover from.
This makes further gains impossible within that microcycle, and demands a deload to drop the accumulated fatigue and restart the progression in the next mesocycle.
Because the MAV changes markedly after each training session, it can’t be a fixed goal, but rather a range you aim to move your volume through.”