Here’s a question that many of my more advanced trainees / gym rats will often ask me around spring time – “What’s the optimal training volume to build muscle?” Even though everyone is trying to get some fat loss in before the end of the summer season, most people would also like to gain muscle strength and size.
What is Volume Training?
Volume training is just what it sounds like. You are generally training while you’re lifting a big volume of weights. You will superset separate body areas in a session. Basically, you will typically do between eight and ten sets of ten reps each, instead of the usual four sets of ten reps each.
This will double your reps, and it will increase the work that your body needs to do. You might need to lower the weight of the lifts, but the volume that you’re doing will compensate for the weight loss though. You have to know your body’s limits with volume training.
Volume training will necessitate that you work a unique muscle for several sets, and it’s important not to train too much. Overtraining can actually make the muscle gains start to slow down. or even reverse in extreme cases.
A lot of volume training programs have to be split up over about a week and can’t be performed for a long period of time. Every muscle group will be targeted with a training session, and then it can rest for the remaining part of the week.
Each muscle group will be done with a couple of exercises. You can do one large set of ten and a supplementing set of three to trigger separate muscles in the same group.
You will likely want to do a three-day split with this route. You will be able to customize it so suit your preferences.
Keep the rest at the same level between your sets of ten. Keep it to around 45 seconds to a minute and a half or thereabouts. Don’t give yourself additional time to rest in between sets when you start to feel fatigued when the workout is about to end as this is actually a perk to volume training and the reason why advanced lifters utilize it.
Another thing to take note of is that just because the weight feels sort of light at the start, you shouldn’t go “balls to the wall” and not rest for the full 45 seconds – 1 minute in between the first few sets.
Who Benefits From Volume Training?
Who would get the most benefit out of this kind of training? People who experience pain or aches in their joints would get a lot of benefits out of this kind of training because the lower weight will likely help them with the strain that’s put on their joints. Furthermore, those who choose not to do cardio will also get some benefit out of this kind of workout, and the large amount of reps will help them shave off those extra calories.
Who wouldn’t benefit as much from this type of training? People who don’t understand their limits very well could have some problems with this kind of training, so neophytes shouldn’t jump directly into this kind of training. Also, people who are very active on their days off or who work at a very demanding job might not benefit all that much either. These people may be better off with heavier loads and/or less sets.
Committed to your health & fitness,
-David “Training With Volume” Aston