What is Volume Training?
Volume training (or VT) is weight training with many sets per exercise and/or muscle group. VT can range from around 3-10 sets per exercise and around 10-40 sets per muscle group! The training frequency is normally higher than HIT training as well. (commonly 3-6 days a week for VT compared with around 2-4 days for HIT
How does VT Work?
VT advocates feel that the ‘one working set’ approach by HIT isn’t enough to stimulate strength or muscle gains for the intermediate or advanced trainees.
Volume Trainers use different training cycles specific to gains in a single department – Muscle mass, endurance, strength, power etc. Once the improvements in that department start to plateau, the cycle is changed (if done properly) to focus on improving something else. E.G. Going from a strength phase to a hypertrophy (muscle gain) phase.
What Does a Volume Training Pogram Consist of??
VT training programs vary wildly depending on what phase the trainee is in. It can vary from moderate intensity to low intensity. High repetitions to low repetitions. Amount of sets performed, amount of weight lifted…you get the point!
It is all dependant on what the user is specifically training for in that phase. Specific training phases can last from 4-12 weeks (A plateau is usually an indication that the training phase must be changed rather than a set time period). These phases are called mesocycles and all lead up to your long term goal which is called a macrocycle (so if you were training for the olympics, your 4 year training plan is the macrocycle and is broken down further into smaller stages – mesocycles)
HIT Training or VT Training?
This is the million dollar question. If you look in all of the bodybuilding magazines you will see volume training preached all day long and all of the sample programmes found inside these mags will be based around volume training. However, it mustn’t be forgotten that all of the professional bodybuilders who are recommending these workouts are on steroids which speeds up their recovery and therefore allows them to train more frequently and with more sets.
I personally feel it is much smarter and more effective for the average person to use HIT (or at least a toned down version of the pro bodybuilders workouts) because using too much volume can lead to overtraining and stagnation.
Many people (myself included) have even succesfully combined the two theories in their training. There are studies supporting both HIT and Volume. I have seen people achieve results with both types of programs so ultimately it will be your experience that will be the deciding factor as to what works best!!
Example Advocates of VT training
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Former IFBB Champion
Lee Haney – Former IFBB Champion
Pros of Volume Training
Cons of VT Training
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