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When you're faced with the task of adding volume in tough movements, it can be difficult. But it is possible. Building volume with singles can be done!

Volume builds muscle, increases heart and lung health and powers strength gains, improving form and strengthening soft tissues, and conditioning the central nervous system and metabolism to power you through tough sessions.


But some movements are hard to program volume for. 

Here's an anecdote from my personal experience. At about 25 I was bored of weightlifting. My deadlift was getting good by my standards (bodyweight X2.25, so nothing spectacular but plenty for me) but my other lifts were stagnant at low numbers. I thought gymnastics looked cool and fun, tried a few seated Ls and was surprised how hard they were, and read a couple of articles about basic gymnastic exercises. OK, I thought, I'll head to the park, do maybe 2 sets of 12 muscle ups, then some lever work and round it off with a few planches at the end.

I truly believe that my own ignorance and naivety were gifts at this point. Because when I found I couldn't do a muscle-up, or even near one, couldn't even get close to a lever, couldn't even hold a faux planche, not for a second, not even close, I realised I had to be on to something. This stuff was worth knowing, because it was so hard.

I still think I was right about that, but along the route to being able to hold front lever, muscle up for reps and discover that I've been training planche all wrong and that's why I've never made any progress (can anyone see a pattern emerging?) I've discovered something that's useable if you're heading down the same route, but also if you want to train in the 85-95 percent strength or power ranges for anything else. Sprints, weightlifting, whatever. It doesn't just work for gymnastics, and if you have a stopwatch you can figure it all out for yourself, preferably without spending four years with your hands in the wrong position.

First, let's stop an identify what the actual problem is.

Why is it difficult to program volume for very hard movements?

Because you can't do more than one. So if you're at the stage where on any given occasion that you try to perform a movement, you're not sure it's actually going to work, or you find that failure can creep up on you, saying "Oh, just do triples and work up from there" is kind of unhelpful. Tell you what, you do triples of gallimores and then get back to me and tell me how you worked up from there, OK?

So that's our problem. How do we build on singles?

Well luckily for us there are several sports that have the same problem, so there are quite a few different solutions. I'm going to go into as many as possible,and depending on the movement you're struggling with, hopefully the answer that fits your needs in in here. If not, get hold of me in the comments and I'll see what I can do for you.

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