What is the Maximum Recovery Volume?

The Maximum Recoverable Volume is the point from which we will exceed the ability to recover from training.

Maximum Recoverable-Volume or MRV

The MRV is the Maximum Volume to be which an athlete can recover , generally defined as recovery from one micro cycle to another (Israetel, 2018; Israetel & Hoffmann, 2017).

Therefore, recovery in this context is the return to their usual performance capabilities (figure 1) within the characteristics of the physical condition (Israetel, 2018; Israetel & Hoffmann, 2017).


So knowing when you have exceeded your MRV is simple: you will have a lower performance than the previous microcycle.

In general ( Israetel, 2018; Israetel & Hoffmann, 2017), the exact quantification of MRV-based training volume would be determined based on the fact that a decline in performance suggests that she outperformed her MRV in her most microcycle. recent, but a similar decline did not occur in the previous microcycle.

Hence, the MRV is likely to lie between the volume of the penultimate and the last microcycle.

Importance of Training-Volume

Manipulation of training variables stamina (RT) is considered an essential strategy to maximize muscle adaptations (Schoenfeld, & Grgic, 2018).

Specifically, training volume seems to be one of the key variables for gaining muscle mass.

Related to this, higher volumes show greater increases in muscle growth (Schoenfeld, & Grgic, 2018). From this it follows that those people looking to maximize hypertrophy should train with multiple standard protocols (Schoenfeld, & Grgic, 2018).

On the other hand, the working volume must be manipulated according to the individual response.

Based on this and keeping in mind the current literature, more than 10 sets / week per muscle group seems to be a good starting point for planning the volume in those people whose goals are hypertrophy oriented (Schoenfeld, & Grgic, 2018). Significant muscle mass gains can also be achieved with volumes starting at 4 sets or less per muscle group per week (Schoenfeld, & Grgic, 2018).

On the other hand (Schoenfeld, & Grgic, 2018). ), the volume of training must be contextualized in terms of overtraining . That is, since constant training with high volumes of work accelerates the onset of overtraining, it can be assumed that periodic volume can improve hypertrophy (Figure 2).

A good long-term strategy would be to alternate high and low training volumes .

A good approach would be to progressively increase from the lowest working volumes (e.g. 10 sets / muscle group / week) to the highest ones (e.g. 20 sets / muscle group / week) over a period of several months, being able to help promote a state of functional overcoming.


However, Krzysztofik, Wilk, Wojdała & Gołaś (2019) provided a systematic, objective and critical review of advanced methods and techniques ( BFR , Drop Sets, Sarcoplasmic Stimulation Technique, Supersets and Pre-Fatigue ) Strengths Affecting Skeletal Muscle in both Recreational and Competitive Athletes.

They concluded that it is difficult to provide specific guidelines for volume, intensity of effort and frequency of the techniques and force methods mentioned above.

However, well-trained athletes can integrate advanced RT techniques and methods into their routines as an additional stimulus to traverse the plateaus and avoid monotonous training.

Finally, the already mentioned literature (Krzysztofik et al., 2019; Schoenfeld, & Grgic, 2018) invites us to think that and the key is in the correct determination of training volumes :

  • Maintenance volume;
  • Effective minimum volume;
  • Adaptive maximum volume; and
  • Maximum recoverable volume.

Training-Volume Indices

Maintenance Volume (MV)

Refers to the amount of training (number of sets per muscle group) which allows you to maintain your current level of muscle mass.

In beginners it will be 0, however, in people of intermediate or advanced level it will be the minimum work they will need do to maintain gains .

The volume benchmarks may vary slightly depending on the frequency of training and its relationship to the muscle groups to be worked.

On the other hand, the main goal of this reference is to use low volume training periods to give rest to growth processes and allow full regeneration.

And if the recovery capacity of the muscles is limited by the training volume, a possible solution would be to reduce the volume of work of some muscles (use of VM), giving priority in training to those target muscles.

Volume Min Imo Effective (MEV)

This concept refers to the amount of training that increases muscle size .

Any work below this element may only be suitable for their maintenance.

Indeed, the average weekly training volume should be above the MEV. A good strategy is to start the first week of the mesocycle using the MEV and increase the workload from there.

One issue to consider is the relationship between the MEV and the level of experience of the athlete.

This relationship becomes visible based on : MEV and MV are usually very similar, however, as the athlete’s experience level increases, the MEV leaves the holding volume behind.

Volume di allenamento

Maximum Adjustment Volume (MAV)

Finally, the last element refers to that volume of work in which the athlete obtains the greatest gains in terms of muscle mass and performance.

It is a much broader index than previous volumes, as it changes widely within each mesocycle.

The latter is due to the fact that when a muscle group is trained, systems adapt and greater amounts of training are required to stimulate optimally.

Hence, the AVM continuously increases during the mesocycle.

Muscle-group-based volume indices

As a practical reference, in the following image you can see the guide that Mikel Israetel (2017) has proposed on the volumes of a Training by muscle group .

These recommendations should not be taken at face value, as they are estimates based on years of experience and, as the author himself comments,

“… must be individualized and recycled…”


Maximum recoverable-volume and individual-differences

The serial number per muscle group discussed above must be related to individual differences and the principles of sports training (Israetel, 2018; Israetel & Hoffmann, 2017).

In relation to this, a series of points will be required to be taken into account in determining the volume ranges of each index (Israetel, 2018; Israetel & Hoffmann, 2017):

  • Adapt the reference values ​​to your physiological and physical context.
  • Interdependence between recovery, training, nutrition and psychological aspects.
  • Relationship between the type of exercise and the organization intra and inter-microcycle with MV, MEV, MAV and MRV.
  • Exercises with high loads and full ROM: lower MEV and higher MRV values. The most effective exercises have a lower MEV and a higher MRV.

Determination of MRV

Starting from the previous premise that MRV is the maximum recoverable volume, it makes sense to think that you have reached or exceeded it when performance decreases.

In other words, there is a worse performance than the last week of work and, therefore, one might suspect reaching the MRV .

However, is Has the actual mean MRV been determined or is there an error in the evaluation and interpretation of the results? The answer is simple, two strategies are needed: repeat and record.

Another consideration to take into account is the establishment of relationship between decreased performance or ability to recover or for external reasons (stress, family problems, illness, etc …).

Finally, here are specified the steps to take into consideration to correctly determine the MRV in reliable and valid way. (Israetel, 2018; Israetel & Hoffmann, 2017):

  1. Beginning of the mesocycle with a relatively low working volume (small number of sets per muscle group).
  2. Add 1-2 sets to muscle group per week.
  3. Identify when performance decreases.
  4. Training download.
  5. Start the new mesocycle (2nd) by adding 1-2 additional sets per muscle group and repeat steps 1-3.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 2-4 times and set the average number of weekly sets in which performance decreases.
  7. Estimated current MRV.
  8. MRV increase: use of a high intensity microcycle after microcycle where performance decreases (use of simple exercises ).

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