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"Junk Volume"

which makes me wonder why all the "science crew" guys advocate very low volume with high intensity (e.g. 6-9 sets per muscle group per week)
I'm not sure who you are referring to specifically, but Brad Schoenfeld is the best person to listen to since he conducts so many of these studies that are valuable to us, and Menno Henselmans does a fantastic job at interpreting them and spreading the message. That's who I typically go to if I want to know what the science says.

Of course the studies are done in natural lifters, but if naturals benefit more with higher volume, we might benefit from even more volume.

Or on the other side of the coin, we obviously need less volume than naturals to see better results, so is there a ceiling effect for us when it comes to volume? Something to ponder...
 
I'm not sure who you are referring to specifically, but Brad Schoenfeld is the best person to listen to since he conducts so many of these studies that are valuable to us, and Menno Henselmans does a fantastic job at interpreting them and spreading the message. That's who I typically go to if I want to know what the science says.

Of course the studies are done in natural lifters, but if naturals benefit more with higher volume, we might benefit from even more volume.

Or on the other side of the coin, we obviously need less volume than naturals to see better results, so is there a ceiling effect for us when it comes to volume? Something to ponder...
The question is what really counts as volume that drivers hypertrophy? Are three sets of 8 at an RPE of 8-10 the same as the same amount of volume from a bunch more sets at an RPE of say, 4-5? Guys like Liftrunbang talk about mechanical tension being the primary driver instead, and that basically, a set only counts as volume when muscles start to slow down during a set (lifting speed declines).

Think about this from a progressive overload point of view; how is volume ever progressive overload? You can literally do more volume, almost infinitely, without having to adapt to anything. Also, there HAS to be a threshold where doing more volume is just not efficient anymore (gains to effort ration is very low), and I think finding that point is very important because why work more when you can get 95% of the results by doing far less? or even 100% of the results by working less but doing it say, 2 weeks longer? This is a very good conversation.
 
That makes sense especially when you look at John Defendis who did 40-60 sets per body part saying all sets were to failure .

Exactly...think about it just practically. If someone trained daily or 5-6 days a week and did 20-30+ sets and actual muscle damage was caused they'd 100% have rhabdo and likely die. The repeated bout effect is a VERY strong protective mechanism.

Why do we see so many crossfit people get rhabdo? They train often so shouldn't the RBE kick in? It often does, but their workouts can differ so much and changing workouts so often they likely DO cause more muscle damage (at times) than their body can repair and remodel.

So what's the downside? Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is literally non-tissue growth. Damage and repair is actual tissue growth. You have to ask yourself, what are we accomplishing as far as permanent, tangible results?
 
the current science crew in germany pushs frequency but very low volume.
like Push/Pull/Legs or OK/UK 6workouts a week but only 2-3 working sets per muscle per workout. Sets till Failure, low rep range (5-9)

i dont like this style of training but they currently push it immensly
Yeah they love to push ppl 2x a week. I tried ppl once hated it, walked out of the gym. I just hated having to train so many parts in a workouts minimal sets. Rather have 1 part maybe a second smaller and just go to town. This echos why I also hate ppl

 
The question is what really counts as volume that drivers hypertrophy? Are three sets of 8 at an RPE of 8-10 the same as the same amount of volume from a bunch more sets at an RPE of say, 4-5? Guys like Liftrunbang talk about mechanical tension being the primary driver instead, and that basically, a set only counts as volume when muscles start to slow down during a set (lifting speed declines).

Think about this from a progressive overload point of view; how is volume ever progressive overload? You can literally do more volume, almost infinitely, without having to adapt to anything. Also, there HAS to be a threshold where doing more volume is just not efficient anymore (gains to effort ration is very low), and I think finding that point is very important because why work more when you can get 95% of the results by doing far less? or even 100% of the results by working less but doing it say, 2 weeks longer? This is a very good conversation.
liftrunbang for example is one of those guys who advocates extremely low volume high intensity (his chest/shoulder workout usually consists of 3 sets chest and 2 sets side laterals)
in germany, there are more "science based guys" who advocate more or less the same. low rep range, low volume, high intensity.
@qbkilla
you got me wrong. I usually train push/pull/legs and even rotate OK/UK in there sometimes. But i dont go to the gym and do 7-8 working sets. For me, this does not satisfy me. I rather do higher volume and dont push to failure on every set.. also, rep range rarely below 10, usually 10-20
 
The question is what really counts as volume that drivers hypertrophy? Are three sets of 8 at an RPE of 8-10 the same as the same amount of volume from a bunch more sets at an RPE of say, 4-5? Guys like Liftrunbang talk about mechanical tension being the primary driver instead, and that basically, a set only counts as volume when muscles start to slow down during a set (lifting speed declines).

Think about this from a progressive overload point of view; how is volume ever progressive overload? You can literally do more volume, almost infinitely, without having to adapt to anything. Also, there HAS to be a threshold where doing more volume is just not efficient anymore (gains to effort ration is very low), and I think finding that point is very important because why work more when you can get 95% of the results by doing far less? or even 100% of the results by working less but doing it say, 2 weeks longer? This is a very good conversation.
We can allocate the volume however we want over the week, so progressive overload is definitely still possible. It just wouldn’t be a good idea to go to complete failure. Best to keep a couple reps left in the tank, which is still very high effort. Higher rest time between sets is also a valuable tool.

That being said, I do think we shouldn’t overthink it and I think all training methods work almost as well as long as the effort is there.
 
I’ve made gains from both high volume and low volume.
Currently I’m making a ton of progress doing PPL once a week, setting it up like JP trains. 1 set to failure per exercise. Progressive overload. I enjoy the rush of hyping up and taking an extremely heavy set all the way until failure, and you can only do that so many times in a session.
Last weeks session:

Incline Smith: 405x9
Smith Shoulder press: 365x6
CG Jm press flat smith: 315x16
Side laterals: 2 sets
Lateral machine: 1 set rest paused
Cable flyes: 2 sets
Seated dip machine: stack to all out failure

I’ve been making a ton of gains the past few months lowering my volume. Although, I have a very physical job and do tons of cardio, so my recovery pool is limited
 
If you want to you can spend all day in the gym cranking out set after set. It won't get you anywhere good however.
If people don't like the "new" idea of lower volume and max intensity (is DC new?) perhaps consider Yates' idea that you can train hard or your can train a long time, but you can't do both. I always like his dynamite metaphor, if not a perfect one.

Volume is key, yes, but note that the research that supports this say 10-20 sets per week - that's not what most bodybuilders consider "volume".
Additionally you should consider how many of your sets are actually productive and how many are just digging a recovery hole.

Anecdotally - and we are all reporting anecdote - I did high volume in my younger years. I did DC in my 40s. I made better progress in my 40s than my 20s. Let's discard that initial jump from novelty and initial AAS, knowing that anything works in that stage.

 
Think about this from a progressive overload point of view; how is volume ever progressive overload? You can literally do more volume, almost infinitely, without having to adapt to anything. Also, there HAS to be a threshold where doing more volume is just not efficient anymore (gains to effort ration is very low), and I think finding that point is very important because why work more when you can get 95% of the results by doing far less? or even 100% of the results by working less but doing it say, 2 weeks longer? This is a very good conversation.

Here's an example:

Do a single max set of 10 with 100lbs. Over time work your second set to 10 reps with 100lbs. Eventually you get 5 sets of 10. Your best single will get a lot better from 1x10 to 5x10.

Eventually you can do so many sets with 100lbs that all those reps just aren't stimulative anymore because someone who does 20 sets of 10 with 100lbs is probably training with what was his 80% 1RM and is now 40% 1RM (is his first set of 10 could be repped 20-30x). Hence people train with relevant rep ranges say 8-12 and near or to failure which is simply a way of saying relevant weight on bar for the set and hard effort (concentric failure a la the Mentzer "binary light switch" that triggers adaptation is categorically false and without basis - just sounds cool and simple but fuck wrong).

Even a "set" is an artifical construct. Volume is really total reps and people break them into sequential rep clusters. Performing 3x10 in 15 minutes or 30 singles is very very similar to the body. One of them is a real pita so most do sets with weight where they are getting more volume.

Program design has 3 variables.
Volume is important both in a single workout and over a period of time
Intensity (properly defined as the load in %1RM) is important - this is why walking or LISS doesn't make you big. It's not stressful enough on the muscles.
Frequency is important. People practice to improve. Doing a lift once a year doesn't work. Body adapts to a consistent stimulus. It survives a one off stimulus.

ALL THAT SAID, this stuff gets highly individual. Notice how people have succeeded in high and low volume, with heavy weights and light weights, by training 6 days a week A and B sessions as well as 3x a week. Training can vary hugely especially in BBing but it does need to be consistently applied with effort.
 
I think the difference is in there beliefs . High volume trainers feel that you need multiple movements per body part and you need to hit it from every angle . You often hear old school bodybuilders talk about you need this movement to shape the muscle and this to hit the outer sweep . Then low volume guys will say all you can do is grow the muscle you can’t change the shape so stick with heavy compounds and get progressively stronger and you’ll get bigger .
 
It's not that hard.. instagram has confused the hell out of guys. I love the science ... but we have science pulling in two different directions. But I look at it this way...
If you train to failure you will have to do lower volume..
If you don't hit failure and keep some rir then you have to do more volume to get the same results..
Pick your poison ..
I go to failure. That limits me to about 6 to 7 sets for chest ( for example).. 5 sets for delts.. 4 to 5 for tris.. anything over that and I'm fried..
Now I sometimes do a " jay cutler" and train shy of failure and my volume will go to 10 or so for chest etc..
It's all about recovery gentleman..
I need to train every other day when I go to failure.. I have the recovery of a 90 year old female.. but its what I like so I make concessions to be able to train in , what I feel, is my best option..
 
I think the difference is in there beliefs . High volume trainers feel that you need multiple movements per body part and you need to hit it from every angle . You often hear old school bodybuilders talk about you need this movement to shape the muscle and this to hit the outer sweep . Then low volume guys will say all you can do is grow the muscle you can’t change the shape so stick with heavy compounds and get progressively stronger and you’ll get bigger .

People can believe whatever they want, what must be taken into account are the foundations of those beliefs, and in the training environment, what is the practical usefulness of those beliefs.

Almost all bodybuilders just need or want to get bigger, refining the physique or adding 3d aspect is something for the pros, and not even all of them are in that position.

Genetics dictates how they will grow and what muscles will look like within a frame, there is little we can do in terms of training to change that imposition.

No bodybuilder trains a single exercise at a single angle, it has never been that way, there are 4-10 different exercises depending on the muscle, the era and equipment layout that are sufficient to develop maximum muscle size.

Look at Arnold's chest, how did he develop it? He didn't have the Oxygen machines, where Roelly trained for years and his back was still flat. Why did this happen to Rolley? Because he could not connect the movement of his back well, perhaps because of the massive development of his shoulders and arms. Or his genetics simply weren't that good in that area.
 
I don’t know if I have ever heard a really good explanation on how we define “Volume”

When I was a competitive cyclist we had power meters that would record and download the exact effort (watts) put out during a ride. It was then downloaded into a software that had metrics based of what was called your FTP (functional threshold power) which was the max avg watss you can hold for 1 hour. This would be something like a 10 rep max on a lift. Then the software could give a TSS (training stress score) on each workout. Then you could use the software to manage training load and recovery. This was over 15 years ago but I bump into a current Pro cyclists from time to time and they still use the same software. It’s always funny to see their surprise when they hear me talk about this seeing as how I’m 230lbs now and raced bikes at 155lbs.

If you read all that, the reason I mention that is I feel that when we are taking about “Real Volume” it is not how many sets or even how many “working sets” but really how much effective training stress did we put on ourselves during the workout.

I feel like I train pretty low volume but I do probably 6-10 hard working sets per workout and I have a 3 day split with two days off per week so I hit everything on average 2x every 8 days.

What I do to to eliminate what some might call junk volume is I do really low reps on my warm up sets for my first big lift and after I’m primed and warm I will usually just jump to working sets or at the most do one feeder set at like 6 reps. Most working sets for me are in the 8-12 rep range. I’m 47 and my joints are my limiting factor 😂

For example back workout yesterday started with nuetral grip pull down

90 x 12
130 x 8
170 x 6
200 x 4
260 x 11
260 x 9

Then went to chest supported dumbbell row and went straight to the 120s x 10 for two working sets

I’m no expert but I do feel like I’m doing really good for someone my age with the key being balancing pushing as hard as possible while not getting injured.
 
I don’t know if I have ever heard a really good explanation on how we define “Volume”

When I was a competitive cyclist we had power meters that would record and download the exact effort (watts) put out during a ride. It was then downloaded into a software that had metrics based of what was called your FTP (functional threshold power) which was the max avg watss you can hold for 1 hour. This would be something like a 10 rep max on a lift. Then the software could give a TSS (training stress score) on each workout. Then you could use the software to manage training load and recovery. This was over 15 years ago but I bump into a current Pro cyclists from time to time and they still use the same software. It’s always funny to see their surprise when they hear me talk about this seeing as how I’m 230lbs now and raced bikes at 155lbs.

If you read all that, the reason I mention that is I feel that when we are taking about “Real Volume” it is not how many sets or even how many “working sets” but really how much effective training stress did we put on ourselves during the workout.

I feel like I train pretty low volume but I do probably 6-10 hard working sets per workout and I have a 3 day split with two days off per week so I hit everything on average 2x every 8 days.

What I do to to eliminate what some might call junk volume is I do really low reps on my warm up sets for my first big lift and after I’m primed and warm I will usually just jump to working sets or at the most do one feeder set at like 6 reps. Most working sets for me are in the 8-12 rep range. I’m 47 and my joints are my limiting factor 😂

For example back workout yesterday started with nuetral grip pull down

90 x 12
130 x 8
170 x 6
200 x 4
260 x 11
260 x 9

Then went to chest supported dumbbell row and went straight to the 120s x 10 for two working sets

I’m no expert but I do feel like I’m doing really good for someone my age with the key being balancing pushing as hard as possible while not getting injured.

Someone gets it 👏😅

We got Sdizzy doing 30 sets for traps 😶‍🌫️😅☣️
 
I will also add quickly to suit your training to your lifestyle.. if you have a sedentary job and can get all your meals in then you can train with a bit more volume..
If you have a job that is on your feet all day and manual then you realistically can not do much volume..
When I set up programs for those that have active jobs I try to do the bigger bodyparts on the days off where they are not burning energy all day. They can get their meals in. Relax. . Then hit it hard. On the days working we hot the smaller less energy consuming bodyparts like arms etc..
But be realistic.. dont be duplicating jay cutlers routine when jay can train.. eat... nap.. get massages. . Etc all day.. you need to be honest with your situation and train according to your job and lifestyle * energy requirements etc.. you'll be much happier
 
I view it as you need to hit it hard and progress each time to grow. Reps and weight are the easiest things to monitor. As long as you progress and are consistent. Hormones and calories are just as important than picking the perfect training style. I prefer DC style as it's easy to monitor if I'm progressing. I prefer to go to failure. Having a rep in reserve is hard for me to judge. It could be two reps. Failure is absolute for me.
 
Speaking purely for hypertrophy? Doesn't seem necessary.

For athletic development after performance work its' sincerely essential and the more of it the better depending on the phase of training you are in. The increased volume correlates directly with an ability to process metabolic waste and develop neurological patterns to include completely repatterning necessary movements.

If you are purely looking to look the best naked I would say pass on it, if you want to be a well rounded individual ready for athletic pursuits and well... life... I would highly encourage it.
 
I'd be interested to hear some guys here ...how high have you pushed volume? This could be anything... no days off, long workouts tons of sets, full body Ed..just the most you have tested out the "more is better" approach.

I've personally never pushed too high...I know one arms workout I did Serge nubrets workout. 8 supersets of bi and tri, then repeat for another. So 32 total...to failure...until towards the end I didn't care lost focus

Think it was press down/cable curl x8
Dips/barbell curl x8
 
I'd be interested to hear some guys here ...how high have you pushed volume? This could be anything... no days off, long workouts tons of sets, full body Ed..just the most you have tested out the "more is better" approach.

I've personally never pushed too high...I know one arms workout I did Serge nubrets workout. 8 supersets of bi and tri, then repeat for another. So 32 total...to failure...until towards the end I didn't care lost focus

Think it was press down/cable curl x8
Dips/barbell curl x8
If you don't push you'll never know where your limits are and most guys will never come close to them.

For shoulders I've done 20+ sets across raises and presses for years. For quads I do around 16-18. Back gets around 18-20. I plan to push this higher across the board this year. Time-wise my longest workout is usually quads because I take more rest between sets - usually 2.5 hours. But keep in mind I always have intraworkout carbs and protein unless I'm cutting.

In terms of no days off, the longest I've gone was around 14 days. This was in 2022 on my rebound, the first time I was blasting high dose GH and using Lantus. If I woke up and felt like I could have a good workout I did and I had great results.
 

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