Which is more effective – increasing the volume of the load and training each group once a week, or increasing the frequency of training by reducing the volume? The answer may surprise you!
Why does almost every gym goer do high volume workouts for different body parts? In any gym on the planet, Monday turns into chest day. On Tuesday, everyone does the back, on Thursday, the legs, and Friday is about the hands … or something like that.
What is the reason for the lack of variety and common sense? Why do you need such a large training load?
It must be understood that for decades training strategies have been passed down from generation to generation without any analysis, rethinking or constructive criticism. In the distant sixties, the rational approach to training planning faded into the background due to the rapid proliferation of anabolic steroids.
In the old days, guys like Steve Reeves and Paul Anderson trained on more rational programs with less load, but in the sixties such programs disappeared. When Arnold first stepped into the Gold’s Gym in Venice, California, high volume body splits were already a well-established strategy. They have been used by anyone who has trained for muscle mass and strength.
This type of training is not based on a deductive method, but on the simple fact that “everyone does it”. Adepts of such training methods will always tell you that “a large training volume is necessary for muscle hypertrophy.” But who decided that?
I can confidently state that the University of Chicago has not studied the effects of Jay Cutler’s marathon training. There is no research that says you need to do 8-12 sets per muscle group to make it grow. Moreover, experiments suggest otherwise; one approach is as effective as three approaches.
Fans of volume training argue that a large volume of exercise increases the secretion of growth hormone. But they rarely think of the fact that the rise in HGH levels achieved doesn’t affect your results at all.
In fact, almost anything you do will increase your growth hormone levels. The high temperature increases the secretion of GH, but my biceps don’t get bigger every time I take a hot shower. The increase in GH secretion in response to training is so negligible that it is not enough even for a minimal acceleration of muscle hypertrophy .
For an athlete who does not use anabolic steroids and does not possess the unique genetics of the Austrian Oak, training in this style would be a huge mistake. It not only depletes the amino acid pool and glycogen stores, but also dramatically increases the recovery time between workouts.
If you do 8-12 chest sets on Monday, you won’t be able to recover quickly from your workout, and you won’t be training your chest muscles for another 7 days. It turns out that you get one growth incentive per week, or 52 incentives per year. But reduce the amount of exercise to a level where you can recover faster and more efficiently, without severely depleting glycogen and amino acid stores, and you can train body parts 2 times a week instead of just one.
Instead of 52 workouts with growth stimulus generation, you will do 104 for each body part. If the volume of the load is small, you can even train each muscle group three times a week. What do you think is more effective, 156 workouts with stimulation of hypertrophy or 52?
To train more often, you need to reduce your training load. The total number of sets in a workout should be small, and the number of approaches in one exercise should be even less.
In chest training, there is no need to do four sets of bench press lying on a horizontal bench, on an incline bench, head up and head down. Such a program is one of the forms of neurosis; you think you need to work the muscles from every possible angle, and do countless sets to stimulate the last muscle fiber, but this is not the case.
The reason for the popularity of such training programs is that no one wants to admit their mistakes. Acceptance of mistakes is a thing that many are incapable of. This is why high volume training adherents get upset and offended when they offer something radically different. Nobody likes it when their pride is hurt, so people continue to do the same high volume workouts that they have always done.
Great, let them keep going, but there are more important things in my life and I don’t want to spend all my free time in the gym. If there is an opportunity to get better results in less time, I will take advantage of it.
Reduce training volume, increase working weights and intensity, and expect to hear the question “what are you taking” more often.