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Author Topic: High-Volume vs. High Intensity Question  (Read 10586 times)
Roger Bacon
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« on: September 19, 2012, 07:25:30 PM »

Sorry to be a noob yet again (I'm actually not), but can someone brefly explain something to me please?

In order to increase muscle mass, micro tears gained by training with weights is required, right?  These micro tears heal over, larger than before?

So why is there a difference in High Volume, versus High Intensity?  It seems like taxing your muscles, one way or the other would result in the exact same outcome?

Does the difference in training styles have more to do with your nervous system adapting?   Huh
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oldtimer1
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 07:48:16 AM »

Mircro tear is a theory of adaptation and it doesn't tell the whole reason why a muscle gets bigger. The majority of champ bodybuilders have been volume guys. The bodybuilder muscle is both a muscle and  fluid retention bloat caused by drugs.  It seems to me that both training is needed. Low sets/ high weights and high sets moderate weights. It seems the volume of a muscle increases to muscular endurance training doing multiple sets that the muscle adapts to the stressor. Training for pure strength leads to a denser muscle.
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jpm101
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 09:43:24 AM »

Agree with OldTimer1, for the most part. It all starts on the individual muscle cellar level, and is quite complex. The goal is to have all elements balance with one another: DNA/RNA, amino acids,body chemical restructure/designs, absorption, waste removal, etc.

Very old saying among BB'ers; "More blood, more muscle".  Volume (getting and keeping the pump) has been king for a very long time. Some of the BB'ers of the late 60's, 70's and early 80's performed higher rep's (10 to 15, perhaps more) workouts, 20- 30 sets a body part. With the current drug use, that volume can be reduced by 50%, perhaps more for some men. Drugs influence recovery quite quickly and getting the body ready to adapt to the next workout. Side affect; some BB'ers appear bloated and soft, in normal everyday life.

Should be getting real powerful with set's of 2's to 3's, which tends to produce dense tissue (though not the greatest method for inducing max muscle size) , along with thicker muscle attachments. A higher rep range between, 5 & 7 rep's, will improve strength and muscle size. Heavy lifters tend to have a thicker appearance than BB'ers. Some of them look like walking through a wall would be no big thing. On the other hand, BB'ers have to open a door to get through to the other side.

There is also Power BB'ing, which can give some guy's the best of both worlds; being very strong, with noticeable muscle mass. These lifters do use heavier weight when doing the classic BB'ing exercises. Cheating is welcomed in this style training.

As OldTimer1 stated, always a good idea to change the workout style around, from time to time. Go heavy, go moderate or even go light. After all, lifting is one be experimental lab, you never really know the  results you may get, if you don't try all phases of workout protocols.  Good Luck.
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Roger Bacon
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 12:24:34 PM »

Thanks, very helpful!

I guess it's not as simple as I originally believed.

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tbombz
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 01:51:49 PM »

dont get too caught up in that idea of micro tears !!!!

STIMULATE, DONT ANNIHILATE!!! - LEE HANEY
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Roger Bacon
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 03:40:11 PM »

dont get too caught up in that idea of micro tears !!!!

STIMULATE, DONT ANNIHILATE!!! - LEE HANEY

Some times you're helpful and factual!  Please stick with this personality!  Cool

Thanks
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oldtimer1
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2012, 08:17:56 AM »

dont get too caught up in that idea of micro tears !!!!

STIMULATE, DONT ANNIHILATE!!! - LEE HANEY
I always thought one of the most interesting things I have heard is Bill Pearl when he said don't train to failure. I am a product of the Arthur Jones  and later the Mike Mentzer influence. It felt like I didn't have a work ethic if I didn't go to failure.

To paraphrase Pearl he said if you constantly go to failure training you will have to stop because it will become so hard that you can't continue. In my own training experience I found if I have a decent base line I could go balls to the wall for 3 weeks and make big changes. Then I would be so shot I would have to take a week off. What I think Pearl was trying to say was to train hard but make sure you can keep it up week after week. Training like a lunatic gets great results but taking weeks off due to exhaustion is not the path to nirvana.
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2012, 08:29:05 AM »

Agree with Tbombz and nice quote, by the way. Try not getting too concerned about the theory of cell division/rebuilding and other bio functions on the body. A waste of time, unless your a post grad student in bio-engineering or other such subjects. Or have a curious mind, which is a good thing.

Do become concerned about the recovery factor, the key to advancing muscle building progress, at a steady levels. Going to failure, on a regular bases, can be self defeating for most. 1 or 2 reps short of the point failure may be a good rule of thumb to go by. If your doing short, to the point workout (with serious intent), and keeping those workout to a max of 4 times a week, progress and success, can be more assured. Boost up the metabolism, with heavier compound movements, may also be suggested. Don't fear rep's in a higher range, like 10-12 for squats, DL's, Cleans, etc. They can increase better metabolism function for strength and muscle mass.

Don't have to eat like a fat pig, else you wind up looking like that fat pig. Getting at least 1000 calories over your personal (everyone's different) daily calorie maintenance requirements should be enough.  I do  find that taking N.O./Creatine and a higher quality protein together can give some good results. N.O./Creatine before the workout and a N.O./Creatine quality protein mix after the workout. Never been much on supplements myself, but this does seem to work well with trainee's I come in contact with. Good Luck.
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2012, 01:51:49 PM »

I think there are three types of trainers. Type one has an incredible work ethic. Who won't put a bar down until at least positive failure is reached. Type two is motivated but will never red line that engine in training. Type two will stop short one or two reps for every set. Their last set might be to failure. Type three is the lazy guy who is delusional. He will short strokes squats, leg presses and all types of shoulder/pec presses so he can think he can handle big weights.

Type one can be his own worst enemy. He will kill himself every workout to the point of burn out. The gains come quick but so does total exhaustion. Type one will train like a dog for three weeks then have to take a week off. Type two seems to make the best gains. Going to failure maybe on the last set of a three or five set exercise. With this type of training he can train two months and not miss a workout. Type three is the permabulker who looks out of shape but always grabs the 120 lbs for partial dumbbell presses and 1000 lbs for his partial leg presses. His is delusional about his strength and his physique.

I have been a type one forever. I could make pretty drastic changes in 4 weeks if I was in decent shape to begin with. I would always burn out and need to rest for a week after doing lifting and cardio to exhaustion. I'm trying to be a type 2 but it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
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dj181
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2012, 02:07:21 PM »

I think there are three types of trainers. Type one has an incredible work ethic. Who won't put a bar down until at least positive failure is reached. Type two is motivated but will never red line that engine in training. Type two will stop short one or two reps for every set. Their last set might be to failure. Type three is the lazy guy who is delusional. He will short strokes squats, leg presses and all types of shoulder/pec presses so he can think he can handle big weights.

Type one can be his own worst enemy. He will kill himself every workout to the point of burn out. The gains come quick but so does total exhaustion. Type one will train like a dog for three weeks then have to take a week off. Type two seems to make the best gains. Going to failure maybe on the last set of a three or five set exercise. With this type of training he can train two months and not miss a workout. Type three is the permabulker who looks out of shape but always grabs the 120 lbs for partial dumbbell presses and 1000 lbs for his partial leg presses. His is delusional about his strength and his physique.

I have been a type one forever. I could make pretty drastic changes in 4 weeks if I was in decent shape to begin with. I would always burn out and need to rest for a week after doing lifting and cardio to exhaustion. I'm trying to be a type 2 but it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

good analysis, and type 2 makes gains percisely because of that last set til failure, all of the other sets were just wasted energy
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Roger Bacon
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 03:00:39 PM »

I think there are three types of trainers. Type one has an incredible work ethic. Who won't put a bar down until at least positive failure is reached. Type two is motivated but will never red line that engine in training. Type two will stop short one or two reps for every set. Their last set might be to failure. Type three is the lazy guy who is delusional. He will short strokes squats, leg presses and all types of shoulder/pec presses so he can think he can handle big weights.

Type one can be his own worst enemy. He will kill himself every workout to the point of burn out. The gains come quick but so does total exhaustion. Type one will train like a dog for three weeks then have to take a week off. Type two seems to make the best gains. Going to failure maybe on the last set of a three or five set exercise. With this type of training he can train two months and not miss a workout. Type three is the permabulker who looks out of shape but always grabs the 120 lbs for partial dumbbell presses and 1000 lbs for his partial leg presses. His is delusional about his strength and his physique.

I have been a type one forever. I could make pretty drastic changes in 4 weeks if I was in decent shape to begin with. I would always burn out and need to rest for a week after doing lifting and cardio to exhaustion. I'm trying to be a type 2 but it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

GOOD POST!!! Very helpful!

I've always been a type one, and you've definitely made me realize how self defeating it can be.
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2012, 03:32:13 PM »

good analysis, and type 2 makes gains percisely because of that last set til failure, all of the other sets were just wasted energy

I don't think sub failure sets are wasted energy. Muscles turn on or off completely according to theory.  Each set is working on muscle fibers until they are all shot. If intensity is the magic bullet why not do one rep to failure?

Think of a guy doing 5 sets of 8. The first set is hard but not crazy. Set two is harder but 8 reps is achieved. Set three of 8 is finished but it's getting serious. Set four it takes almost every thing you have to get 8. Set 5 you reach failure at 6 reps. Was the first set a waste of effort? Many HIT guys would say yes. I say you are still working the muscles fiber groups. Wouldn't the guy doing 5 sets of 8 rep be doing more work than a guy doing 1 set of 8 to failure? 40 reps to 8 reps? Sometimes it's comparing apples to oranges. Middle distance track training to sprinting.

 Take a 100 meter track guy.  He might do 10 x 100 meters in one workout. Maybe 8 x 200 meters the next. Another day 60 meter repeats. If high intensity is the way through specificity of training he should do one all out 100 meter dash and call it a day every training day. Most would agree this is madness but HIT guys call for this in lifting. They would argue a 100 meter guy has to practice running. My ass is that argument dumb.

Robert Kennedy of Muscle mag who invented pre exhaustion has said multiple sets are better than single sets. 5 sets is better than 4 set but only fractionally with diminishing  returns.
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dj181
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2012, 03:42:26 PM »

I don't think sub failure sets are wasted energy. Muscles turn on or off completely according to theory.  Each set is working on muscle fibers until they are all shot. If intensity is the magic bullet why not do one rep to failure?

Think of a guy doing 5 sets of 8. The first set is hard but not crazy. Set two is harder but 8 reps is achieved. Set three of 8 is finished but it's getting serious. Set four it takes almost every thing you have to get 8. Set 5 you reach failure at 6 reps. Was the first set a waste of effort? Many HIT guys would say yes. I say you are still working the muscles fiber groups. Wouldn't the guy doing 5 sets of 8 rep be doing more work than a guy doing 1 set of 8 to failure? 40 reps to 8 reps? Sometimes it's comparing apples to oranges. Middle distance track training to sprinting.

 Take a 100 meter track guy.  He might do 10 x 100 meters in one workout. Maybe 8 x 200 meters the next. Another day 60 meter repeats. If high intensity is the way through specificity of training he should do one all out 100 meter dash and call it a day every training day. Most would agree this is madness but HIT guys call for this in lifting. They would argue a 100 meter guy has to practice running. My ass is that argument dumb.

Robert Kennedy of Muscle mag who invented pre exhaustion has said multiple sets are better than single sets. 5 sets is better than 4 set but only fractionally with diminishing  returns.

i have a question for you... how does a muscle get bigger?

i say increased training load, as this has been my personal experience and the experience of many others i have seen who got bigger muscles

quite honestly, i have NEVER seen anyone get bigger musles without increasing their training loads, and i've seen quite a few dudes who got bigger muscles

using myself as an example, my lunge wieght has gone up from 40 pounds per bell for 8 reps to 70 pounds per bell for 8 reps, and my quads are noticeably bigger

i was doing 2 sets til failure every 3 days and i went up 10 pounds per bell over a 6 week period, but then i went to 1 set til failure every 4 days and my training weight went up 20 more pounds per bell over another 6 week period, so in my case less was more

anyways, the whole ballgame is increased training loads
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2012, 03:56:14 PM »

i have a question for you... how does a muscle get bigger?

i say increased training load, as this has been my personal experience and the experience of many others i have seen who got bigger muscles

quite honestly, i have NEVER seen anyone get bigger musles without increasing their training loads, and i've seen quite a few dudes who got bigger muscles

using myself as an example, my lunge wieght has gone up from 40 pounds per bell for 8 reps to 70 pounds per bell for 8 reps, and my quads are noticeably bigger

i was doing 2 sets til failure every 3 days and i went up 10 pounds per bell over a 6 week period, but then i went to 1 set til failure every 4 days and my training weight went up 20 more pounds per bell over another 6 week period, so in my case less was more

anyways, the whole ballgame is increased training loads

Sure increasing weights used is one way for a muscle to adapt to a stressor. If you have the majority of bodybuilders using volume ( muscular endurance training) that shows it isn't as simple thinking that getting stronger is the way to big muscles. If that was the case we would do multiple sets of  3 and under to get strong in a movement.

I think gaining muscular endurance for lack of a better term increases muscle size. Look at gymnasts. They are not training to exhaustion for low sets but training long and hard. Training for muscular endurance isn't easy training compared to pure strength lifting.

If you can increase the weight used for say 5 sets of 8 reps in the bench doing the same amount of time or less you will increase muscle size but that isn't the best way to increase your one rep max for the bench. It would be doing low reps to make it simplistic.

I trained with hit for over 30 years before I came to see the light. You do need both heavy and moderate weights. Danny Padilla said when he tried HIT using heavy weights for a few sets he lost size and leanness. When he went back to doing almost everything for  5 sets of 12 he made the gains he was looking for.

For young guys that have less than 5 years under their belt lifting they should be very concerned with getting stronger. Long time trainers should look to increase muscular endurance.
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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2012, 04:00:28 PM »

Good post from  OldTimer1, gets to the bottom line of most training in a insightful way..

I would be included into the type 2 class. And most of the guy's I trains with also. Not saying it's the best for everyone, that would be a stretch, but seems to complete the object of working out in the first place...for me anyway.  Brief time spent in the gym, but with serious intent. There are times that  crossing the failure line would be to test the strength improvement of any lift, to the max extent. And as OldTimer1 suggest, the last and final set, of a given exercise. Some guy's get the mistaken belief that heavy weights are not used in non failure sets, not true of course.

There is another way, of going to complete & absolute failure, and yielding some very exceptional results. That would be a 20 rep heavy squat scheme.  Which would be one set and one set only. Can apply this to DL, C&J, power cleans, etc. Somewhat akin to the the old Rest/Pause system.

dj181: just for the sake of experiment, might try those 5 sets with a lighter weight on the bar. If using 250, strip down to 220-225, for those 8 good reps, each set. Making sure you never go to the point of failure. Next workout you might surprise yourself on the improvement of strength. And yes, it's all about the number/times you do a rep in a single workout, for a muscle group.The numbers are broken down into individual sets. It's the tonnage theory, that PL'ers and Olympic lifters use, at certain phases of their workouts. Good luck.
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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2012, 04:22:37 PM »

Danny Padilla said when he tried HIT using heavy weights for a few sets he lost size and leanness.

do you have any idea if his training loads went down during this phase?

i'm willing to bet that they did

but seriously man, do you really think that one could go from benching 200 for 6 reps to 250 for 6 reps and get smaller pecs, delts, and tris? and believe me, i ain't trying to be a d!ck here, coz you're a cool dude and i got no beef with you, i'm just trying to make a point

also, i think the best/ideal rep range is roughly 5-8 reps (except maybe legs, which could go up to 12-15 reps)

when i say increased training loads, i'm not talking about a 1-3 rep max, but a good 5-8 reps
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Roger Bacon
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2012, 05:55:28 PM »

i have a question for you... how does a muscle get bigger?


That's what I want to understand.  I was reading a scientific explanation I found on some University website but couldn't follow past the fourth paragraph because of all the technical terminology.
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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2012, 10:27:17 PM »

No matter which approach you choose the goal should still be progressive overload. If you take a lift from 300lbsx8 to 350lbsx8 or you take a lift from 300lbs x 6,6,6,6 to 300lbs x 10,10,10,10 the results will be visible.  

But look a little closer 300lbs x 8reps =  2400
                              350lbs x 8reps =  2800
                              that is a 400 lb increase in total load

Now,
300lbs x 6reps x 4sets = 7200
300lbs x 10reps x 4sets = 12000
                  that is a 3000lb difference in total load

This is why volume is the prefferred method for hypertrophy, the overall work load within a productive intensity range ( in relation to 1rm ) is much higher leading to a much more dramatic total workload increase.
 

 
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2012, 02:40:16 AM »

No matter which approach you choose the goal should still be progressive overload.

ex-fucking-actly!

you gotta find whatever method allows you to best apply progressive overload, for me it is ultra low volume with sets taken til failure staying within the 5-8 rep range

if you can apply progressive overload doing 10 sets of 10 then so be it, use this method

for me that method and other methods like it, caused my training loads to actually decrease Cry Cry Cry
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Roger Bacon
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« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2012, 03:21:31 PM »

So getting stronger equals building muscle mass?

Nothing in bodybuilding makes sense to me lol
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« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2012, 04:18:30 PM »

You CAN get stronger without getting bigger
You CAN'T get bigger without getting stronger ( drug protocols aside)

A bigger muscle is a stronger muscle, people mistake this by thinking that the biggest guy is automatically the strongest guy, which we all know isn't true. BUT, a bigger version of you will always be a stronger version of you, maybe not necessarily in 1rms but 8-12rms, and maybe it won't be in the squat or bench but incline db presses and hack squats instead.
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dj181
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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2012, 05:39:32 AM »

a bigger version of you will always be a stronger version of you

correcto-mundo

Arnold was not very strong for his size, and that's because he had shit leverage factors ie. long limbs, not ideal muscle attachments for strength, etc

but.... in order for Arnold to get his muscles bigger, HE MUST GET THEM STRONGER

when he made his calves bigger, you can be damn sure that he did indeed increase his calf training poundages
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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2012, 08:33:14 PM »

your strength should be one of your tools to gauge progress, true.

but strength is relative.  and its not the onnly gauge of progress. certainly there are other factors that play into. for example, body weight and muscle size.

if your not making progress and you arent gaining strength, you should probably change your trainig untill you find something where you start making progress and gaining strength.

if have grown larger, there will be more strength potential inside the muscle.  but alot of times a big muscle isnt conditioned for strength because the trainer has grown his muscle by doing volume, bodybuilding style workouts, squeezing the muscle and focusing on the negative instead of lifting heavy and doing low repetitions.  this big guy with big muscles has the potential to be stronger than he was before, but if he hasnt been lifting heavy then he wont be able to lift at full potential untill he conditions his muscles for heavy lifting again.

all in all, progress is progress. if your growing and your goal is growing,  then what your doing is working and you should keep doing it even if your not getting any stronger while you grow.  but if your not growing, then you may want to consider changing up your training to something where you start experiencing strength gains because often times that can jump start muscle gains.

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« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2012, 02:13:56 PM »

If you are a dedicated trainer who has been training for years how much stronger can you get?  I would bet if someone trained for say 10 years from 18 to say 28 and reached his genetic and work ethic limit of say 315 in the bench where does he go from there?  Did he hit his genetic limit for size because he can't get any stronger?  Should he constantly bang his head into a wall trying to beat that limit.  I would say he would get better muscle growth if he worked on increasing his muscular endurance. I bet his max single would go down but his muscular endurance would go up. I bet his muscle size would too.
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dj181
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« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2012, 02:47:50 PM »

If you are a dedicated trainer who has been training for years how much stronger can you get?  I would bet if someone trained for say 10 years from 18 to say 28 and reached his genetic and work ethic limit of say 315 in the bench where does he go from there?  Did he hit his genetic limit for size because he can't get any stronger?  Should he constantly bang his head into a wall trying to beat that limit.  I would say he would get better muscle growth if he worked on increasing his muscular endurance. I bet his max single would go down but his muscular endurance would go up. I bet his muscle size would too.

that's a good question, but i seriously don't think that it's possible to increase a muscle's size with endurance training

every single person that i knew who got bigger muscles increased thier training loads (with roids and without)

i've got frank Zane's training journals and there is something very interesting within them, and that is that from 77 til 80 his training poundages were basically the same and during that time he stepped on stage each year @ roughly 187

then in 82 he increased his training poundages and guess what? he stepped on stage @ bout 200 pounds

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