Lab Rats Needed Starting August 17, 2020 to Test the Effect of Time-Based Training Volumes for Strength, Work Capacity and Endurance

Long-time MTI Lab Rat, Cody “testing” some programming….

By Rob Shaul

MTI needs remote lab rats for an upcoming, multi-modal 5 day/week, 4-week, “Mini-Study.”

The Mini-Study will test the effect of training volume across three training measurables: Strength, Sprint-Based Work Capacity, and Endurance (3-Mile run Performance).

Specifically, we’re interested to see if we can reach the same fitness results by training 3/4 of the total volume for Strength, Work Capacity and Endurance.

It’s to both the coach and athletes’ advantage to search for programming efficiency. Less time in the gym or at the track to achieve the same fitness results gives the coach training time for auxiliary activities, and the athlete more recovery time and less overall impact on the body long term.

On the other side is the idea that there are no shortcuts to fitness, and ultimately, athletes can’t escape the work. Finding the most efficient level of training volume to achieve wanted results is the goal.

This mini-study is a follow up to another mini-study we complete last fall. That study tested volume based on training sessions. Group A completed training 5 days/week, and Group B completed the same or similar training 4 days/week, and overall 2/3 the volume of Group A. This study found that there was no significant difference between the groups in terms of performance increases across strength, work capacity and endurance assessments.

In last Fall’s mini-study, we manipulated the volume primarily through training sessions. Group B simply did fewer training sessions than Group A – but for the most part, the actual training sessions completed were the same or nearly so, and for the gym-based sessions, designed to last approximately 60 minutes.

For this study, instead of manipulating the number of training sessions, volume will be manipulated by training session time. Both Groups A and B will complete the same number of training sessions, however Group B’s sessions will have less volume and be shorter – approximately 45 minutes, vs. 60 minutes.

We’ve been experimenting with these shortened sessions with our local lab rats in Wyoming, as well as the past several cycles of the Operator Sessions on the website. Anecdotally, the shortened sessions have seemed to improve or maintain fitness as well as longer, 60-minute sessions, but we’ve never formally tested this. Which is why we’re conducting this mini-study.

Lab Rats will be broken into two groups, Group A and Group B. Both groups will complete a Strength, Work Capacity, and Endurance Assessment at the beginning of the cycle.

Over the next 4 weeks, both groups will train 5 days/week. Group A’s training sessions will include more volume, and be designed to last 60 minutes. Group B’s sessions will contain less volume and be designed to last 45 minutes. Below are the specific assessments –

  • Strength – 1RM Back Squat, 1RM Bench Press and Max Rep Pull Ups
  • Work Capacity – Max Rep 40-Foot Prone to Sprint Shuttles in 3 minutes
  • Endurance – 2 or 3 Mile Run for Time

Required Equipment:

  • Weight Room with rack, barbell and plates for the Back Squat and Bench Press, and a Pull Up bar for the Pull Ups.
  • 40-Foot indoor or outdoor space for the 40-Foot Prone to Sprint Shuttles
  • Track or known 2/3 mile running assessment distance and lesser distances (1 mile, 800m) for the run intervals.

Cycle Duration and Schedule:

This MTI “Mini Study” will take 4 weeks. It will begin Monday, August 17.

To Participate

  • You’ll need to commit to train and 5 days/week for 4 weeks, and follow the programming as prescribed.
  • You’ll need to commit to only do this training, no other fitness-specific training is allowed as it will skew the results. Regular weekend activities are okay.
  • You’ll need the required equipment (see above)
  • You’ll need to be an experienced, relatively fit athlete. This isn’t a cycle for unfit athletes, or athletes new to free weight-based strength training. You’ll need to know your way around a weight room.
  • You’ll need to communicate back to MTI your pre and post-cycle 1RM strength assessment results for the Back Squat and Bench Press, max rep pull up results, and your Running assessment time.
  • The cycle will begin Monday, August 17, 2019 and end, Friday, September 11, 2020.
  • We’re looking for 20-25 lab rats max. Ideally, athletes who have completed a previous MTI Mini Study.

Want to be a Lab Rat?

Please email, and put “August 17 MTI Lab Rat” in the subject line.

Please include:

  • your age
  • sex
  • height and weight
  • training experience.
  • please indicate if you already have an MTI account, and if so, the email for the account. Access to the cycle will be via the website.
  • Please verify you will commit to the 4 weeks, 5 day/week training cycle.
  • Please indicate if you have or have not completed (completed, not participated in) a previous MTI Mini Study

You’ll be assigned to Group A or B, and provided with further instructions next week. Training will start August 17, 2020.


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