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Author Topic: High-Volume vs. High Intensity Question  (Read 10422 times)
oldtimer1
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« Reply #50 on: October 03, 2012, 05:51:07 AM »

Make no mistake when I am talking about endurance I am talking about muscular endurance. Not the ability to run a fast 10K.  It has become very apparent to me over the years that becoming STRONGER in volume is how the majority of bodybuilders train.

If getting stronger is the magic bullet we would all be trying to increase our one rep max as a primary goal.  Increasing muscle as in a bodybuilder build is improving your strength in volume with a few exceptions.  

This leads us to this question. What is superior? Trying to get stronger in this chest workout? Flat bench 1 set of 6 to failure. Then bar inclines of 1 set of 6 to failure. Then finish with one set of flies to failure.

Or is this better? Flat bench of 4 sets of 8 failing on the last set due to fatigue; inclines of 4 set of 8 reps again failing on the last set. Lastly flies in the same manner. The first set is hard but not crazy. The second is getting harder. The third is tough. The forth you might fail at 6 reps trying to get 8.

Both methods get results. I think the volume way is superior way to train for results. You can also increase intensity by working out faster.

I noticed someone brought up running sprinters and bike sprinters as having more muscle than endurance runners and endurance cyclists. This is true. It's also true that sprinters do numerous sets (intervals) of work. A running 100 meter sprinter might do 6 x 200 meter repeats on one day. The next 10 x 60 yard repeats. Another day 20 x 40 yard repeats. Sounds like volume doesn't it? If they were going for that all out intensity a 100 meter runner would warm up and do one all out 100 meter sprint for specificity and call it a day knowing his second 100 meter couldn't equal his first. Yet many HIT guys claim that's the way we should weight train.

Most sprint athletes weight train but not all.  Many bike sprinters and track runners don't lift.

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Yev33
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« Reply #51 on: October 03, 2012, 08:24:37 AM »

Definetly agree with your post. In my opinion volume training is superior to HIT training. The problem is, most people don't know how to properly set up a volume routine. Setting up a HIT routine is much simpler.
The other side of the coin is going to failure. You CAN and should go to failure with volume training, but not on every set and every excercise. This is another thing that people screw up royally and end up either switching to HIT or never going to failure period. 

Volume training is great, but man is it easy to fuck up if you don't know what you're doing.
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doriancutlerman
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« Reply #52 on: October 03, 2012, 02:44:31 PM »

I agree that screwing up a proper "volume" program is all too easy.

As a high-intensity guy, for example, I don't really know where to begin insofar as a higher volume training regime is concerned.  What I do works OK anyhow, so I'm not inclined to make radical changes; still, the Yates/DC/Mentzer level training definitely takes its toll, and I KNOW I should cycle that with periods of lighter stuff.

But as I just said, as someone who's used to at least going to failure on a max set (or two on rare occasion), how to scale back the intensity to do more "work" is a bit of a mystery to me.
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« Reply #53 on: October 03, 2012, 03:03:26 PM »

I agree that screwing up a proper "volume" program is all too easy.

As a high-intensity guy, for example, I don't really know where to begin insofar as a higher volume training regime is concerned.  What I do works OK anyhow, so I'm not inclined to make radical changes; still, the Yates/DC/Mentzer level training definitely takes its toll, and I KNOW I should cycle that with periods of lighter stuff.

But as I just said, as someone who's used to at least going to failure on a max set (or two on rare occasion), how to scale back the intensity to do more "work" is a bit of a mystery to me.

have you ever tried taking more days off btw workouts as Mentzer suggested?

this concept of his of inserting extra rest days is very radical and nearly no one else actually practices it or follows it
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oldtimer1
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« Reply #54 on: October 03, 2012, 05:27:57 PM »

I agree that screwing up a proper "volume" program is all too easy.

As a high-intensity guy, for example, I don't really know where to begin insofar as a higher volume training regime is concerned.  What I do works OK anyhow, so I'm not inclined to make radical changes; still, the Yates/DC/Mentzer level training definitely takes its toll, and I KNOW I should cycle that with periods of lighter stuff.

But as I just said, as someone who's used to at least going to failure on a max set (or two on rare occasion), how to scale back the intensity to do more "work" is a bit of a mystery to me.
I have been a HIT guy forever. It started with reading everything Arthur Jones wrote before most bodybuilders even knew who he was. Then it was Mentzer who first hit it big back in 1976 with in interview in Muscle Builder explaining his radical training of 5 sets a body part and training the whole body in one session. I remember back in the day I would save every article I could get my hand on written by Jones, Darden, and Mentzer. To this day I have a fairly complete collection of what Mentzer wrote.  I devoted  all my workouts in my early twenties according the influence of Mentzer. What most don't understand is the workouts he suggested near the end of his life were workouts he didn't use when he competed. Witnesses of his workouts also suggest he did a few sets more than what was written too.

He broke big into the scene with whole body workouts ranging from 3 to 6 sets per body part. He then went to a 4 day split where he divided his body in half working each body part twice a week. This four day routine proved to much and he went to a rotation schedule that Mr. Florida Frank Calta used. Here he would split his body like this: legs, chest and tricep. The next was back, delts and biceps. He didn't use days of the week but to understand the split he would do workout one on Monday. Work out two on Wednesday and repeat workout one on Friday. Week ends off. Next week it would be reversed. Wednesday work out on Monday and so on. So each week a body part got hit directly twice a week or once. He used 3 to 6 sets a body part.He also wrote many times of how cardio was part of his training but toward the end of his days he was against it.  Again when he retired from competition he came up with these mini workouts repeated after many days apart.

What I found following his type workouts was that they were brutal training. I could go balls to the wall for about 4 weeks before burn out but the gains were quick. I also feel that this power type bodybuilding program doesn't burn a lot of calories like a volume one does.

Now into my fifties and completely against steroids I have come to the realization I would have made better gains if I would have backed off the intensity and used more volume. Using a small amount of sets to failure doesn't hit all aspects of the muscles energy systems. Lets say you do one set of barbell curls till you are blue in the face and about to pass out. If you completed 10 reps; I bet after a rest you could get another 6 to 8 reps. Muscles fire completely on or off. Did that one set really get all the fibers? What would happen if you did 4 sets and failed on the last? Now you 40 reps with a weight instead of that one set to failure with 10.  Please don't tell me about hitting a stick of dynamite one time with a big hammer.

I believe in heavy lifting. I believe in training to failure. I believe in low sets but all of these are tools to an end. I also believe in volume as contradictory as it seems. To sum up I have seen HIT guys go on to make amazing gains switching to volume. Volume is what the overwhelming amount of champions use. I have also seen the reverse of a volume gainer going to low sets to failure having good results but mainly it's the other way around.
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« Reply #55 on: October 04, 2012, 02:52:02 PM »

Definetly agree with your post. In my opinion volume training is superior to HIT training. The problem is, most people don't know how to properly set up a volume routine. Setting up a HIT routine is much simpler.
The other side of the coin is going to failure. You CAN and should go to failure with volume training, but not on every set and every excercise. This is another thing that people screw up royally and end up either switching to HIT or never going to failure period. 

Volume training is great, but man is it easy to fuck up if you don't know what you're doing.

i dont see any reason to ever go to failure. why do it? i experience good steady gains without doing so, and i never overtrain either. i can train longer, harder, more often, with more volume, recover faster, gain strength faster, gain size faster.. all by doing volume without going to failure. at least thats my own personal experience.
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Yev33
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« Reply #56 on: October 04, 2012, 03:27:38 PM »

i dont see any reason to ever go to failure. why do it? i experience good steady gains without doing so, and i never overtrain either. i can train longer, harder, more often, with more volume, recover faster, gain strength faster, gain size faster.. all by doing volume without going to failure. at least thats my own personal experience.

If it ain't broke don't fix it.
I would never recommend someone change what they are doing if they are making consistent steady progress.

As far as going to failure is concerned, I believe there is definetely a benefit in it when done correctly.  Before I get into why, I want to explain what I am talking about when I use the term failure. To me a set done to failure is when you have stopped on the last rep you were able to complete on your own with the same ROM as the first rep.. I don't mean taking a set to the point of getting stalped by the bar, having your training partner help you on the last rep, or having your form or ROM look like a different excercise than the one you began the set with.

First and foremost, you don't really know where failure is if you haven't hit that point in a while. You might think you are leaving 1-2 reps in the tank when in reality you might be leaving 3-5.

Second, when you never go to failure and your poundages are increasing it can sometimes be misleading. You may have gone from leaving 4 reps in the tank with 200lbs and moved up to 240lbs but now you are leaving only 1 rep.

Third, going to failure taxes the CNS. The body works as a unit and the CNS is a major part of it. Harness it properly and you will reap the benefits, overtax it and see how quickly your training goes to shit.

Fourth, it's not a bad thing to push yourself and know when to back off. While your body certaintly adapts and progresses from the training load you expose it to, going to failure in an intelligent way can put a sense of urgency on the whole process.



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tbombz
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« Reply #57 on: October 04, 2012, 03:38:32 PM »

cool post dude.

thanks.

id like to see you post on this board more often.
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Yev33
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« Reply #58 on: October 04, 2012, 07:37:14 PM »

Thank you tbombz,

This is why I like the training board, we can have civil discussions even when there are opposing points of view.
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Meso_z
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« Reply #59 on: October 05, 2012, 05:41:04 AM »

i dont see any reason to ever go to failure. why do it? i experience good steady gains without doing so, and i never overtrain either. i can train longer, harder, more often, with more volume, recover faster, gain strength faster, gain size faster.. all by doing volume without going to failure. at least thats my own personal experience.
I stopped going to failure for a while now...well maybe once in a while in a final set, but its not really "failure". Just a spot.
I experience these too..i think its better this way 
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anab0lic
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« Reply #60 on: October 08, 2012, 02:41:14 PM »

If you think volume training is the key to maximizing growth you REALLY dont have this stuff figured out at all.

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oldtimer1
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« Reply #61 on: October 09, 2012, 08:13:22 AM »

Lets post a picture of Ronnie Coleman who trains with volume and say if you got this figured out. Training with intensity like Dorian obviously worked. Training with volume has worked for more guys who are champions.
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anab0lic
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« Reply #62 on: October 09, 2012, 09:08:15 AM »

Lets post a picture of Ronnie Coleman who trains with volume and say if you got this figured out. Training with intensity like Dorian obviously worked. Training with volume has worked for more guys who are champions.

The only people that tend to do well with volume based routines are guys who are complete genetic freaks like Coleman.   Dorian had good genes for bodybuilding but compared to Ronnie....they were terrible.  Dorian actually did somewhat higher volume stuff earlier on in his career (although still less than most) and made some progress with it... and then got to a point where he could not add anymore muscle to his frame... until he reduced the volume and upped the intensity some more.  The same was true for Mike Mentzer, he actually nearly quit bodybuilding entirely as the amount of time he was spending in the gym weekly thinking more volume was the answer was too much of time investment.    If you spend enough time in various gyms you will see this holds true for most lifters....they tend to make some initially good progress, then never ever change after that point and look the same month after month year after year... what do all of these guys have in common?  They do mid to high volume set routines....  The intesnity just inst there when you train like that, the muscle fibres just dont get torched like they need to be.  This pretty much happened to me too.... i figured maybe i was just maxed out genetic wise, so I  upped the drug dosage....no extra gains....added more food...just got fatter.... couldnt not grow a single ounce more muscle mass, wasnt until i really upped the intensity was i able to take my physique somewhere i didnt think it could go and I am still growing/getting stronger weekly.

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dj181
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« Reply #63 on: October 09, 2012, 09:13:53 AM »

Lets post a picture of Ronnie Coleman who trains with volume and say if you got this figured out. Training with intensity like Dorian obviously worked. Training with volume has worked for more guys who are champions.

Colemam bascially just held the size that he built from lifting heavier training loads previously through his volume training, volume training would ONLY make his muscles bigger IF it enabled him to incease his training loads

p.s. volume training did not build his size, increased training loads built his size
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Yev33
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« Reply #64 on: October 09, 2012, 10:43:24 AM »

I hate to break it to you, but any guy who places top five at the Olympia let alone wins it,  is a genetic freak.  HIT has worked for guys no doubt, but the FACT is that the majority of the pros past and present have trained using volume routines.
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anab0lic
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« Reply #65 on: October 09, 2012, 11:37:32 AM »

I hate to break it to you, but any guy who places top five at the Olympia let alone wins it,  is a genetic freak.  HIT has worked for guys no doubt, but the FACT is that the majority of the pros past and present have trained using volume routines.

Yates was untouchable in the Olympia for 6 years straight vs some guys who i would argue have better genetics than him, he just trained smarter/harder.

And its true you absolutely need to be making gradual strength increases over time to make your muscles bigger...volume training just doesnt do that very well.... Yates said in an interview he has workout logs dating right back to his first workout and he continually got stronger year to year.... it can be done, you just need to know how to continually expose your muscles to a stress it hasnt already adapted/grown to handle which is what HIT based routines do best.
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Yev33
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« Reply #66 on: October 09, 2012, 02:02:11 PM »

Yes I agree that you should get stronger, but you can do that with a volume approach like so many before have done.
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oldtimer1
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« Reply #67 on: October 09, 2012, 02:37:55 PM »

Colemam bascially just held the size that he built from lifting heavier training loads previously through his volume training, volume training would ONLY make his muscles bigger IF it enabled him to incease his training loads

p.s. volume training did not build his size, increased training loads built his size
The point I am making he lifted with volume. That you cannot dispute. If volume didn't make his size why did he use volume?
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« Reply #68 on: December 17, 2012, 04:47:19 AM »

Oldtimer1, reading your posts are like being in my own head. I too am in my fifties[53] and a huge fan of mentzer. When I first started training back in 1978 I used a whole body workout 3 times a week. I trained on First generation Nautilus equipment. Literally gained 20lbs. muscle in 2 years drug free. Over the years Family took priority etc... Now I have the free time to train as much as I want. Tried using the later teachings of mentzer and really felt like crap! Started back on the 3 day whole body  and feel great. My question is were mentzer/jones right in the 70's or in the 90's???  
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dj181
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« Reply #69 on: December 17, 2012, 05:18:40 AM »

Oldtimer1, reading your posts are like being in my own head. I too am in my fifties[53] and a huge fan of mentzer. When I first started training back in 1978 I used a whole body workout 3 times a week. I trained on First generation Nautilus equipment. Literally gained 20lbs. muscle in 2 years drug free. Over the years Family took priority etc... Now I have the free time to train as much as I want. Tried using the later teachings of mentzer and really felt like crap! Started back on the 3 day whole body  and feel great. My question is were mentzer/jones right in the 70's or in the 90's???  

i'd say that AJ was more right than Mentzer

what works best for me is keep volume ultra low only doing a handful of basic exercises but doing them more often, like twice a week

right now i'm doing dips, rows, squats, and pullovers and it's working great Smiley
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« Reply #70 on: December 20, 2012, 07:28:07 PM »

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

STIMULATE, DONT ANNIHILATE!!! - LEE HANEY
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NI_Muscle
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« Reply #71 on: December 22, 2012, 08:09:40 AM »

Oldtimer1

If you were to start over again - knowing what you now know about training - what way would you set things up in terms of split/frequency/sets/reps - for size?

Just curious as I've always been a HIT/Heavy Duty trainer myself.
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« Reply #72 on: December 22, 2012, 05:59:58 PM »

. High Intensity the way to go.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-478QGV9pc" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-478QGV9pc</a>
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« Reply #73 on: December 23, 2012, 06:56:28 AM »

I stopped going to failure for a while now...well maybe once in a while in a final set, but its not really "failure". Just a spot.
I experience these too..i think its better this way 

i agree with this as well... i find that with high volume when i 'fail' it's more of a momentary failure... and a good pump
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« Reply #74 on: January 02, 2013, 12:29:40 PM »

 Both methods can be productive. Ronnie coleman might have trained in the 10-12 rep range but he lifted heavy and increased poundage during his entire career. Old timer is correct in saying when changing things up for the advanced lifter in either direction ussally sparks new gains or atleast a new look to the muscles. From the start I've never trained high volume. High volume for me was the traditional 12 sets for large and 9 for smaller groups. Using the traditional pyrmid system. After years of training besides the first movement on most exercises the middle sets became unesscary. For example Incline barbell presses 10-8-6 flat barbell 2x6 dips 2x6-8. You can either go right into the working sets after the first movement or perform a moderate to heavy set and one all out set. This style of training is great but difficult deep into a contest diet adding extra sets with a the heaviest set might be more productive since increasing poundage is not possible.
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