The Debate Over Training Volume for More Muscle
The debate over training volume as it relates to adding muscle to your bones has been around, oh, well, forever – at least forever for me. How many sets should you do? Too many and you overtrain, too few and you are not realizing your real muscle-building potential.
I see interesting things in gyms. I have worked out in many all over the world and have seen all walks of life come and go including the old guard of trainers from the old school of thought as well as the confused newbies asking no less than 50 questions each day.
One thing I see, however, is that the thinking behind volume is pretty generic. Most programs go a little something like this:
15 to 20 sets for chest
10 to 15 sets for back
Countless sets for arms – focusing mainly on biceps
A few sets for shoulders and legs – if they have time for that kind of stuff!
What do these physiques show? Big chests (they usually will work chest several times per week), a shallow back and very small, weak legs.
Along with the unsightly visual, they are chronically weak in the functional aspect for lower body and have actually trained their bodies to recover SLOWER!
Yes, slower recovery.
Their frequency is set up so muscle tissue has a full week to recover. Why would your body behave any differently? In addition, why would you increase muscle mass, burn fat and get stronger if the body has that long to recover and possibly return to baseline after a week?
It’s a classic case of one step forward and one step back.
Are you honestly making progress on a monthly basis? Or are you always tired and dreading another marathon session of training one body part each day?
Frequency will have to increase in order to spur a growth response in muscle. If volume is regulated correctly, the body will recover faster enabling you to train again earlier and spur growth again.
Volume must be kept relatively low in order to avoid overtraining and overall fatigue. No more marathon sessions of 20 sets for chest once per week. Try six sets twice per week or four sets three times per week and be amazed at the results. Not only will you see instant results, you will actually be training your body to recover faster so you can hit the gym again in 48 to 72 hours later.
Just be honest with yourself: Are you truly making the kinds of gains you desire?
About the Author
Brad Borland paid for and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Kinesiology and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
As a drug-free natural competitive bodybuilder Brad has trained, motivated consulted and harassed many clients from all aspects of life from the competitive bodybuilder and athlete to the elderly and rehabilitated. Having trained in commercial health clubs, wellness clinics, hospitals, university facilities and military installations such as tents, sand pits and old Russian bunkers he has also helped many with diets and eating habits as well as contest preparation.
Brad currently writes for some of the top fitness magazines and websites on the subjects of training, nutrition, supplements, and motivation.
Brad created The Workout Lab, a health and fitness website that offers practical, real-life advice and tips regarding training, nutrition, supplements and a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to check out his website here.
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Date Published : 2012-07-10 08:06:16
Written By : Brad Borland
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