How To Obliterate Your Training Volume – Maximise Muscle Growth
Training volume is a fundamental cornerstone of training, insofar as, without sufficient understanding of how it works, how much training volume you need, and how this changes in relation to food intake and sleep, you will never get the training, muscle and strength results that you want.
Training volume is defined as sets * reps * weight. Or more simply put; it’s the total amount of work performed in any given period of time. I like to use one week as it’s a convenient way to view training. You could also use monthly cycles if you’re looking at really advanced guys who progress incredibly slowly. One week is better for most though, as most people can progress faster than once per month.
I think the best way to explain it comprehensively is to break it down, firstly, into two categories:
- Training volume required for any given moment in time
- Training volume changes over time
Training Volume During Any Given Time
The amount of training volume you need during any given moment of time will depend on several factors. It will depend on your training experience, genetics, calorie intake (HUGE!) and how much sleep you got the night before. Oh, and drugs (HUGE!).
As stated in this article, most people will need at least maintenance volume to not lose muscle. But on top of this, if you want to actually gain muscle, you will need to perform more volume per week. The more food you eat, the more sleep you get, and the more drugs you take, the higher this training volume can potentially be.
If you’re a beginner, maintenance volume is zero, or near-zero. If you’re an intermediate, maintenance volume is likely 5-6 sets per week. Advanced guys may need 8+ sets to simply maintain what they’ve got.
The if you go beyond these figures, respective of your training experience, then you should gain muscle, provided you’re eating enough and sleeping enough.
So far, it’s not too complicated, right?
Let’s look at how this changes over time…
Training Volume Changes Over Time
Due to the irritating, stability-and-comfort-loving biological force known as homeostasis, your body will indeed adapt to a certain level of training volume, whether you like this or not.
I hate this just as much as you do, but your body pretty much adapts to everything. Accept it, plan for it, and maximise your strategy based upon this reality. Whether it’s dieting, and your body adapting to lower calories, or training volume, and your body adapting to more training. Either way, you must make slow changes, as this is how you get maximum progress, for longer, with minimum effort.
Don’t be a dumbass, and don’t try to be “hardcore”. It’s a telltale sign of an inexperienced baffoon.
Not only does your body adapt to the new training volume, it also adapts to higher levels of caloric intake, assuming you are indeed eating enough to grow. But guess what happens when you eat more food? You can recover from more training.
Now, let’s say you’re dieting and trying to get shredded. Does the reverse hold true? Should you lower your training volume?
If you’re already performing volume that’s way over maintenance, then yes, you can, and probably should lower your weekly volume per body part. If you’re already at maintenance volume, then no; absolutely do not cut your volume any lower. As per above, the lowest is going to be 5-6 working sets per week per body part.
If you cut your volume any lower, you’re going to lose muscle. Not good. And funnily enough, when your calories go low, your maintenance volume requirements can go up. Because you’re in more of a catabolic state, you need more training to maintain what you have.
As calories decrease, you walk a thinner tightrope when it comes to strength and muscle. When calories go up, you will still grow a little on lower volume, and simultaneously, you can ramp up the volume really high, and still recover, and therefore grow rapidly. Whatever you do, your muscle and strength is looking good on higher calories. Obviously the enormous problem with this is that it’s not good for staying lean or looking sexy.
I hope this helps you to understand the critical training concept known as training volume. If you have any more questions, sign up to my email list and ask them there. I have written an email that was very popular on how to dominate your first year of training. This provoked a great response. Make sure you don’t miss out on any more great info!
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