Are You Doing Too Much Volume?

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by k_dean_curtis, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. k_dean_curtis

    k_dean_curtis Member

    Blade has a new, really good article at

    I have found this to be true in my own training. Some excerpts below, would be nice to hear others comment.

    It only takes 1-2 hard sets to get 80-85% of the training effect, and doubling-tripling that only provides marginal benefits with a large increase in potential negatives. Even Schoenfeld’s meta-analysis showed that
    • 1-4 weekly sets provided 5.4% gains,
    • 5-9 weekly sets, 6.6% gains,
    • 10+ sets provided 9.8%.
    • When stratified into less than 9 and more than 9 weekly sets, the difference was 5.8% and 8.2%, respectively.
    when we get to a certain point it will be hard to gain even 1-2lbs/0.5-1kg of muscle mass per YEAR

    Most muscle groups or exercises get 1-2 maybe 3 sets per workout and 2-4 workouts per muscle group per week.
    Old and Grey likes this.
  2. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Ah that's awesome, thanks so much for posting this, I really get a great deal out of Borge's articles and just his approach in general. Very refreshing :)

    Haven't had a chance to read so will comment soon, but I did notice him writing in the comments section: "I will write more about this in the Myo-reps e-book, soon to be released"

    that is super exciting ;D
  3. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    I do 2-4 total exercises per body part and train full body 3-4 times per week. I usually split between AM and PM to keep fresh and motivated to get the most out of each exercise. I also incorporate myo reps and SD. I keep reps in the 10-20 range. That seems to be the best for me now. Using heavy weights at my age ends in injuries.
    _Simon_ likes this.
  4. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Just had a proper read of it, again, his approach is so refreshing and definitely wellneeded in the training circles. AWESOME article, I especially loved all the points he wrote at the end, I'm finding even more so nowadays the importance of enjoying your training and not pushing yourself so damn hard just because the study/trainer 'said it's optimal'. The ability to be in tune with the body and intuit where it's currently at, what it can handle and what it needs is a fine art, and he points in that direction always. Whilst there are solid principles, if it's too much for your body it's pointless to push it to those places if it's not needed nor beneficial (and believe me, I've done that in the extreme over the past decade...). Scaling down volume keeps other crucial factors in check: energy levels, motivation, willingness and enjoyment of training, injuries, and not to mention results in the long term.

    Plus I've seen so many programs where the volume slammed in there is enough to kill a male gorilla. It's just overkill and not necessary, and I actually get the feeling that alot of programs for purchase are designed in that way so that it's guaranteed to work (by absolutely 100% making sure it's far past the minimum volume threshold) so that their reputation is upheld (even if the program absolutely kills you)
  5. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    I think what I wrote may be misleading in that when I say 2-4 sets I am really saying one set close to maximum and 1-3 sets of myo reps immediately after with a 10-15 second rest time in between. I do not do 2-4 sets plus myo reps with each set.

    And perhaps the biggest key to success, which is not often talked about, is consistency. It amazes me when I go 2-3 months without a close examination in a full length mirror. When I do look I say holy crap. These old muscles still grow. If I looked every day, I would never notice the gains.
  6. k_dean_curtis

    k_dean_curtis Member

    O&G, what does your typical cycle look like? In the past I read that you have done a 4 week cycle of a 1 week SD, 3 weeks training. This is what I normally do. That agrees with Gironda's old "lift 21, rest 7" system. For older guys, this makes a lot of sense.
  7. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    Because I am lifting lighter weights now, I usually go 4 and sometimes 5 weeks before an SD. If I did not use myo reps, I would probably go up to 6 weeks.

    I typically lift every other day and split my lifting days between AM and PM.
  8. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Still on the TRT?
  9. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    Yup, that is for life I am afraid and that only brings me to the mid range of normal. I lost one in combat and they do not grow back.
  10. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Seriously?????? OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Do your docs down regulate the dosage as the years go by or leave it flat?
  12. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    It's been the same for 10 years. But it is tested every 6 months. I am at 75% of the max dose and that keeps me at about 800 ng/dl. I think usage will increase in the future as the benefits are now more effectively communicated and the downsides with correct dosing are negligible.
  13. adpowah

    adpowah Active Member

    I dunno, if you can recover from it and you aren't ignoring upcoming injury cues, then more volume is always better. I feel like everyone would trade 5.4% gains for 6.6, 8.2 or 9.8%. I totally get that we often deceive ourselves on the volume that we can really handle (I know I do) but I think finding good tools to measure your recovery and adjusting your programming accordingly (i.e. finding your maximum recoverable volume) is superior to targeting the minimum effective dose.
  14. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    I've worked with others a fair bit and I find more people who tend to not push hard enough. Quitting too quickly when reps start to get a little difficult for example, which usually means they are handling lighter weights than they probably should - but also means that they are getting less volume in with that load than they probably need. I've talked to a couple of them before when they asked for advice, and the big thing is that they don't want to look like they are struggling. I keep trying to tell them the essential truth - nobody cares what you are doing. When I'm at the gym, unless I'm being asked to observe someone or you are being an asshole (throwing dumbbells, doing circuit training on most of the machines during busy hours, etc) then I do not care what you are doing because I'm busy focusing on my own workout.

    On the flip side, there definitely are plenty of people who try to destroy themselves in the gym by doing way too much. Just like in the previous example, it's about leaving the ego at the door. Nobody is watching you and thinking "wow, his legs aren't even wobbling when he walks, looks like he isn't doing enough volume. What a wimp." Who cares what other people think at the gym? Well, seems like pretty much everybody. But... you can either worry about whether people think you are a bad-ass or not, or you can make good progress (and maybe actually become a bad-ass?) It doesn't help that people still think they can follow plans that pro BBers supposedly use, or whatever they claim to have used for the movie 300 (besides plenty of CGI abs) or the program that Jason Mamoa used to get ready to play Aquaman...

    Auto-regulating volume is one of the best things in the world if you can figure it out. Obviously that's not for beginners or probably even intermediates, but by the time you are advanced, you should know your body well enough to be able to adjust volume on a per-session basis. Feeling great today? Do more reps. Hit it too hard yesterday, or didn't sleep enough last night? Do less. Sure, it's tough to get to the point but it's worth it.
    adpowah and _Simon_ like this.
  15. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Great post, very true that many care so much about how they look or how they are seen at the gym.

    It really depends I guess, those who hold back too much might benefit from going harder. And those who just overdo and smash it every single session could do well to back off, but I guess that's more the psychological aspects of it. Yeah exactly, to just focus on what you're doing, I'd imagine lots of people in the gym just don't give a crap about what you're doing, and anyone who does look, or clearly make a judgement, it doesn't matter, it'll be gone soon after they thought of it (training at home avoids a lot of that anyway hehe).

    Yeah I'm really keen on development and becoming in tune with autoregulating.. And I guess it's not rocket science haha but I do struggle with knowing how much is enough or too much, and will take more experience on my part I think, someone being so used to having it stuck in my head "I've gotta do exactly this amount of reps/sets no matter what etc..". And sometimes it's more on an intraworkout basis rather than deciding prior to the workout how I should approach it. But I feel that's the trajectory of how my training is heading..
  16. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    man that little barrage of discussion was short lived, was hoping we'd see more activity, oh well I tried! :)
  17. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    CPR needed!
  18. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    yes, paddles, oxygen, the whole schmere lol
  19. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Haha.. Yeah it is a bit like that :).

    I'll add more to try keep some discussion going. I'm definitely finding that as I listen more to my body, I'm getting much less fatigue and more energy, yet making heaps of gains.
    For example in this current cycle I'm doing myoreps for about 50% (or a little more actually) of bodyparts. Previous times when I've done myorep cycles I've just been so exhausted and run down... Yet this time around when I finish a session I actually feel really good, not beyond exhausted like before. I leave the session with energy and of course a little fatigue, but it's not crippling. And to be honest that's how I'd like to feel after training, not destroyed, but just feeling great energywise. This definitely helps with motivation too.

    This I think is due to really focusing on autoregulating the volume based on how I'm feeling prior to and during the sets. And also even altering the intensity at times, e.g. if I'm quite exhausted from work, I'll do a session with about 60% of the load and myorep that or even do normal sets. This still helps keep the frequency up as there is some sort of stimulation, even if I'm not pushing the weights and progressing for that particular workout.

    I remember Borge said in an article that too many people are so focused on "beating the previous workout" or progressing in weights absolutely every single time, but he said it's okay to have a more relaxed session and autoregulate volume. You'll come back heaps stronger next time as you've recovered a bit better, and will make far better progress long term this way (and has said this has always been the case in his experience with many many clients he has coached. They've progressed much better than folk who insist on beating their last workout every single time).

    It's been a very educational cycle this one!
    Old and Grey likes this.
  20. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Those are good thoughts.
    I agree, it should be,
    Progress is indicative of adaptations.
    Forcing progress 'causes' adaptations.

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