Sunday, 11 December 2011

Volume Training

         On a daily basis I see posts, receive emails, and personal train people that are swimming in a sea of confusion about what productive training consists of. It's blatantly obvious that most folks get their training information from the body-building magazines and watching what others do in the gym.

          They are convinced that MANY sets and exercises are needed for each body-part and many days in the gym each week is just the ticket for the results they seek, when in reality this type of training protocol is EXACTLY what is holding them back from the gains they seek.

          While volume training is responsible for most of the pro's physiques, it is the same protocol that has almost every gym in the world full of guys mostly spinning their wheels going nowhere. Look around you in the gym. How many guys are even remotely big and moving big poundage's? The vast majority of these guys don't even look like they lift at all. But truth of the matter is they are there almost every day.........and therein lies the problem.

          The #1 reason people fail to add size and strength is over-training. In many cases it goes hand in hand with under eating/not having the macro, and micronutrient profiles even close. It is certain no matter how perfect the routine, growth will be slow or nonexistent if you don't fuel it. If diet isn't there you might as well stay home.

         But will an optimal diet allow you to actually increase your volume and frequency? In almost every case the answer is yes, with a perfect diet you will raise the threshold. What varies a HUGE degree is how much of an increase occurs. Some a little, some quite a bit, but what's universal is the fact that if you picked a 100 people at random, at your average gym without any bias used in the selection process, you will find pure volume training will not work for the overwhelming majority.

         And please all you volume junkies; I'm not bashing it. It works absolute WONDERS for those that respond to it. Unfortunately most people just don't have the innate capacity to recover from true volume training. I work with people all the time that aside from the initial gains they got when they started training have barely gained an ounce in YEARS, and for many that saw a steadily increasing scale, they ended up fat with no appreciable muscle to show for it. And again, volume guys reading this that can't wait to finish this to start slamming me; VOLUME FLAT OUT WORKS for a small percentage of the overall populace. Most of the true “monsters” I have met do volume training, as do most of the pro's. Guess what? Not everyone has this capacity, MOST DON'T.

        I train people and exchange info with folks all across the globe, and it is sickenly common to hear from guys that have been killing their selves in the gym forever with such pitiful results they hate to admit they weight train. Or the guys that put on enough muscle when they first started training that they got a taste for what they no longer seem to be able to have, more muscle. It's great when everyone comments on how big your getting, and how great you look. And it sucks when no one says a word anymore because you haven't changed a bit in like…….FOREVER!

       Then you get these guys doing a SIMPLE routine with a handful of basic compound movements (more or less dependent on the individual, but nothing compared to volume) spread out over 2-3 times a week, and even less for some people, and they add 20-30 lbs of muscle in a short period of time.

        Keep doing the endless sets to assure all aspects of the muscles are fully stimulated or whatever  crazy reason you want to do that many sets and they continue to be stalemated with both poundage progression and size gains. What works for a few is pure poison for the masses. Pick up a copy of Brawn by Stuart McRobert. Or read some of Mentzers early stuff and Dorian Yates stuff.

        Here is my question for you:

      If your current routine isn't working now, how the hell is one day going to "magically" start working one day? Unless you are consistently adding weight to the bar or size to your frame you are lost and without direction will stay lost. If volume training works for you please, please keep using it. It truly is a great way to train IF you can recover from it. But if you can't today, how will you tomorrow?

      I train people for a living, and all that matters to me is; what will make the person I am working with right now grow. After they have filled out the questionnaire and done an interview I make a determination on what kind of routine to put them on. I am not dogmatic in my approach at all, and when I believe volume is the answer, that is what they get. And for some of these guys, low volume training will often make them shrink due to the decreased workload.

      But in all honesty I don't worry much about the guys I train that respond well to volume work. They usually have above average recovery ability and much more growth capacity than Joe average. I usually end up reducing volume a LITTLE bit, reduce all overlap, and give them a routine with weekly rotating loading parameters, nail down their diets, and monitor their excellent progress.

      Contrast that to the guys that are there because they have very little appreciable muscle, and despite having tried every POPULAR training program (usually changing it with each month's arrival of “Flex” magazine) have barely added any muscle in years. Now these guys have to have everything spot-on to progress.

       Low volume training is the way to get there for these guys.

       I'm not saying HIT and hardgainer style training is for everyone, and I write quite a few medium-volume routines for those that are not pure hardgainer. But it's pretty safe to say if you are not making progress, under-training is not the problem. AGAIN, THIS IS ALL WRITTEN WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT IF DIET IS NOT CORRECT, ANY AND ALL TRAINING PROTOCOLS ARE MEANINGLES.

       ALL that matters is what works, and if it's working it should be blatantly obvious its working, not a subtle, “yeah, I think I'm improving”. Strength gains are not the, be all, end all of training. But until you are fairly advanced, as in benching 275-300, and squatting/deadlifting 400-500, it should be your primary goal.

       I have NEVER seen a big guy that only benches 200 and squats 300, it just don't work that way. Until you have a fair strength base built, being progressive with your poundage's is what matters. Going to the gym, getting a great pump, and then repeating the same workout, with the same workload next session, week in, week out, won't get you there.

 For information on the 'Evolution Of Natural Muscle Building' CLICK HERE      
                                                                                          Iron Addict

No comments:

Post a Comment


Post your answers to one or both of these questions:-

1. Whats the best piece of advice you've received since you started bodybuilding? Wether it be from a book,a training partner or just someone in the gym.

2. Whats the biggest bodybuilding mistake you've made since you started?

After your answers have been checked over they will be posted on