Transitioning from VOLUME to BUILD:
As the REVL training program enters its next stage, there will be a shift in the nature and goals of your sessions. This transition brings new challenges, adaptations, and progress for your fitness journey. To help you kickstart your efforts in the BUILD phase, this blog post provides insights from the product team’s debrief and offers top tips on maximising the upcoming changes. It covers topics such as VOLUME recovery, what to expect from the new BUILD program in terms of its effects on your body, and how to reflect on your progression.
How VOLUME prepares you for BUILD:
The VOLUME phase focused on increasing work capacity by stimulating physiological adaptations through the accumulation of lower loads and higher repetitions. Now that you have completed this phase, you are in a strong position in terms of aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, as well as muscular endurance and hypertrophy. Additionally, your lifting technique, confidence, and mobility have had a chance to develop, preparing you to handle heavier loads in the BUILD phase.
With this in mind, we consulted product designer Josh to provide recommendations for a smooth transition from VOLUME to BUILD:
“Each phase can affect individuals differently. After the high number of quality contractions targeting specific muscles in the VOLUME phase, it’s common to experience more muscle soreness than usual. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, to prevent this tightness from compromising your form and risking the wrong type of soreness, I recommend incorporating extra mobility work. Stretching after your sessions and using a foam roller before your sessions can help maintain your full range of motion as the lifts become heavier.”
Given the challenges and positive adaptations experienced during the VOLUME phase, many members may wonder why they suddenly find themselves in a new phase with a new focus. Muscular endurance, hypertrophy, and a strong aerobic base may have been feeling great, so what’s the point of switching things up? Is it just for fun?
The rationale behind program switch-ups:
The human body is efficient and won’t waste energy on adaptations or growth it doesn’t anticipate needing. Without new challenges, there can be no new adaptations, progress, or change. This is why you may have experienced plateaus or diminishing returns over time after the initial few months at other studios, despite sustained efforts.
As explained by product expert Josh, what sets group training at REVL apart is a commitment to using new challenges to foster continued progress:
“The transition from VOLUME to BUILD aims to prevent plateaus in adaptation that occur when a stimulus remains the same. The first 3-4 weeks of exposure to a new stimulus yield significant adaptations, but these adaptations taper off the longer the stimulus remains ‘similar.’ Instead of getting stuck with lower loads due to continuous high volume, we take the endurance and technique mastered in the VOLUME phase and shift the stimulus to progressively heavier loads. By doing so, we can achieve faster strength progression while maintaining the hard-earned endurance and hypertrophy.”
The improvements made during the VOLUME phase serve as a perfect foundation for further muscular gains, enabling you to utilize and enhance strength and power with the increased intensities in the upcoming BUILD phase.
Looking forward to BUILD:
At its core, the BUILD phase of programming is focused on building strength. It sculpts both your body and mind to cope with higher intensities through increased load before reaching the Peak Phase. The BUILD phase introduces reduced repetitions and increased weights, as well as sustained efforts of hard work to enhance anaerobic and aerobic capacities.
Below, we will break down how these shifted priorities translate into changes in your programming:
The fundamental goal of Perform is strength progression. In BUILD, 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 pushing your strength instead of 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 block 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 why and how the specific program switch ups will benefit you. Armouring you up with the bigger picture knowledge to motivate you through those tough sessions ahead:
The 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 allround 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. in higher heart rate zones to build anaerobic capacity, alongside usual aerobic fitness. 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 BUILD. And, whilst the goal is to increase challenge on the body to spur muscle strength, to avoid burnout this has to be done gradually. Product Expert Josh provides some helpful tips to avoid this pitfall, and 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 deload 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 increasing the demand increases the adaptations a little bit each week, with a large cumulative impact when the block ends.