What's volume training?

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What's volume training?

Post by Sangoma » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:45 am

I know, another stupid question. However... Where does it start? Obviously, 3 sets of 3 is not it and German 10 x 10 is. But where is the point - number of reps, sets, total tonnage (as in 10 times 1RM lifted N number of times, I don't know) from which you can call it volume training? Even mighty Google fails to return a definition. I understand it's not black and white, but surely, there must be some definition, no?
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Beer Jew » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:24 am

Call it the number of sets multiplied by the number of reps multiplied by the weight used above say 70% for strength and perhaps 60% for hypertrophy.

That's your volume per session. Add together all the sessions in a cycle and that's your overall tonnage.

Did you do more overall tonnage this cycle than last cycle? If not, what's your body adapting to?

Want to know more? Search for Mike Israetel or Chad Wesley Smith on the tubes.

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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Beer Jew » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:27 am

The key smet is not "how much is hugh volume for THIS session or THIS cycle".

It's all related to past and future performance. If you do 10x10 this session, where are you going to go next session and the session after and a decade from now?

How are you going to cycle that training so you can improve without burning out?

Seriously look up juggernaut training on YouTube and watch some of Chad Wesley Smiths lectures.

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Re: What's volume training?

Post by newguy » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:29 pm

I don't think you will find a definition for volume training because I don't think there is a really such a thing. You can find some programs that have higher volume relative to others (and conversely ones that have lower volume).

I would look at like this - like BJ said above, during a cycle, block, season, of training, what is driving your adaptation?

Are you looking to drive adaptation by increasing the volume? Or is the volume being held steady and you are looking to increase the intensity? Maybe you are increasing the volume and the intensity? Or maybe you are relying on increased frequency?

I am pretty sure PL54 had some really good articles on this in regards to strength training.

And volume is to an extent relative, but also not really because there are certain levels of volume that are needed for a sport. As I build up to 15 mile weeks, that is an increase in running volume for me. But in no way is that a high volume week. I am still a very low mileage "runner" at 15 a week.

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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Bram » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:57 am

Smet,

Mike Israetel defines it as a work set. A 12 rep set to failure, or a 20 rep set without failure still equals one set.

He seems to also do it by sets per muscle group, per week.

So 10 sets of bench in one workout, or 5 sets on Mondays and 5 more on Thursday is still 10 weekly sets.

As an example:

https://renaissanceperiodization.com/re ... pertrophy/
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by syaigh » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:53 pm

BD will chime in I'm sure, BUT . . .

Volume is practice. Whatever method you use, it should be for the purpose of getting in as much volume with good form as possible. This reinforces neural pathways that lead to mastery of the movement as well as reinforcement of the physical structures that support and drive the movement (ligaments, tendons, bone, muscle).

You can get volume through sets or reps or density.

50/20, ladders, sets on the minute, higher reps, higher sets, etc.

Volume approaches must take into account both numbers and rest periods. They should be designed to create a limiting factor for intensity (whether that is percentage, rpe, rest interval etc.) so that you can get more total reps. For example, in the "on the minute" application, your weight must be one that you can recover from and repeat within a minute. Can't really do that with 90%.

Truth is, most people are limited by form breakdown. If form breaks down before 3 reps, is it a total strength issue? In most people, no. How many total sets can you do at 3 reps? If you focus on good form and speed, can you get 5-8 sets with that weight? For most novice lifters, yes. Does it matter how you get there if the total goal is 30-50 reps? No.
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Sangoma » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:34 pm

I know, BD will chime in and will call me a moron. In any case, I agree with all of the above. I am just curious about the fact that there is no definition of volume training. Sure, form, reps sets etc. Twenty singles or ten triples of high 1RM percentages is probably high volume, and two sets of ten with lower weight maybe not. I am just curious about the point where I can say "I am doing volume training". Semantics mostly, I guess.
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by syaigh » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:38 am

I don't know. I usually just call it volume when its not intensity, ie a top set or a few sets of very few reps, no more than 5-10 total reps.
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Alfred_E._Neuman » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:39 am

For me, it's accumulating ~30 reps with a weight in the 75-80% 1RM range. I'm just trying to build base line strength right now, so I keep the rest at a constant 1:30-2:00. I know if I can hit another solid set in that time frame, I'm within my % range.

So a squat workout might be 3 x 10 sets with 200#, 1:30 rest between sets. Next might be 4 x 4 sets and 3 x 4 sets with the same weight, same rest. 28 reps but 2 fewer sets. Next workout is 5 x 5, 3 x 4. Same weight, same rest. 37 reps in 1 less set than last time. Next workout I'll finally get 6 x 6 sets. Weight now feels very manageable. Time to move up in weight and start over.

Bar speed/form determines when to drop the reps and finish out on fewer reps per set. So if I get 4 sets of 4 but on the 4th set I was grinding up that last rep, I'll drop the next set to 3 reps and keep going until that gets grindy.
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by newguy » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:59 am

Sangoma wrote:I know, BD will chime in and will call me a moron. In any case, I agree with all of the above. I am just curious about the fact that there is no definition of volume training. Sure, form, reps sets etc. Twenty singles or ten triples of high 1RM percentages is probably high volume, and two sets of ten with lower weight maybe not. I am just curious about the point where I can say "I am doing volume training". Semantics mostly, I guess.
Volume training is when you are relying on increasing volume to drive adaptation. (As opposed to relying on increasing intensity level.)

I just made that up, but why not? When most people go "high volume" the idea is to let the volume lead to the improvements.

The focus during volume training is to increase the amount you can do in terms of sets, reps, miles, time, etc. Right now I can get in 5 sets of 5 at 70%. Over the course of the next training block I will build that to 12 sets of 5. The RPE of my "70" will start to go down. I will be less fatigued. I will need less rest between sets. Etc. All this indicating I am getting stronger.

This is clearly different from when you are relying on increasing intensity to drive the adaptation.
(Think Power to the People - the volume is held at a constant, and each session the intensity increases only to be cycled back down and repeated with a new peak.)

Regardless, over time you need to be able to handle more volume and higher intensities.

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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Beer Jew » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:04 am

Where's Shaf our Saviour?

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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Beer Jew » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:09 pm

Smet, with all due respect look at the weights at the start of your journal (1.5 years ago) and the weights used now. The intensity/volume is roughly the same.

My view is that your aversion to any sort of effort involving heavy weight will forever impinge any muscle gain.

Look up the IPF female records for your weight class - approx. 180/140/220 and that's 62kg women. The records for the class below (52kg women) are 155/105/190. That should be a very, very realistic aim for you, within say the next 18 months.

With the greatest respect, you would likely gain more muscle not lifting, than by doing SLDL with 30kg.

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Re: What's volume training?

Post by powerlifter54 » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:56 pm

I like Israetel. Don't always agree but I don't always agree with anybody. His method is as good as any. It is just trying to apply a simple bookeeping system to a very hard to comprehend day to day endeavor.
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by JimZipCode » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:12 pm

syaigh wrote:BD will chime in I'm sure
He will, but all he'll say will be:
  • You all have learned NOTHING!
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Sangoma » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:47 pm

Beer Jew wrote:Smet, with all due respect look at the weights at the start of your journal (1.5 years ago) and the weights used now. The intensity/volume is roughly the same.

My view is that your aversion to any sort of effort involving heavy weight will forever impinge any muscle gain.

Look up the IPF female records for your weight class - approx. 180/140/220 and that's 62kg women. The records for the class below (52kg women) are 155/105/190. That should be a very, very realistic aim for you, within say the next 18 months.

With the greatest respect, you would likely gain more muscle not lifting, than by doing SLDL with 30kg.
BJ, the title of my journal last year was "Back for 2016 with no real purpose", for a reason. Things are different when you are 25 (I am guessing) and when you are 54 years old. My attempts at efforts mostly got me injured - the result of stupidity and trying to train like 25 year old. Deadlift at loads that don't even resemble serious hurt my back, even TBDL from blocks. Squat is better, but is punishing as soon as I get enthusiastic. I know it's all caused by my lack of discipline and incorrect technique, but that how it is. And 30 kg SLDL is for back rehab, not muscle building.
I don't want to set strength goals, this - again - mostly gets me injured. I want to exercise, not train, with the goal to be lean and build muscle, as much as I can without heroic attempts. I am not sure if you have ever experienced serious back pain; it is not fun and interferes with my day job, leading to the logical question: why the fuck are you doing it?

Lastly, this thread has nothing to do with my goals or lack thereof. It's just a chat about things that I find interesting.
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Sangoma » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:50 pm

newguy wrote: Volume training is when you are relying on increasing volume to drive adaptation. (As opposed to relying on increasing intensity level.)
That makes sense.
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Re: What's volume training?

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Re: What's volume training?

Post by newguy » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:51 pm

Good article.

But I don't think we can look at volume isolated from intensity.

Doing X at 90% is much different from doing X at 70% which is much different from doing X at 50%.

Each intensity level has an somewhat optimum level of volume. Hence prilipen's chart in strength training.

But I think that for most of us, most of the time, we are pretty safe increasing our efforts in the 60-70% range, probably even using an RPE of 6-7, occasionally drifting into 8, then cycling up the actual number and working that into a higher volume.

I mean....let's say that your 60-70 is 11 minute miles....or 185 in the bench press....24 kg in the long cycle.....or whatever. Spend enough time building the volume at that level with a reasonable program. Then, when either time logistics or real improvements dictate, up the base number and rebuild the volume.

Which is essentially every program ever designed.

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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:07 pm

JimZipCode wrote:
syaigh wrote:BD will chime in I'm sure
He will, but all he'll say will be:
  • You all have learned NOTHING!
Well.....most of you have. BRAMCUNT has actually gone consistently backwards.

Sag asks a philosophical question more than anything.


Volume is accruing work to:

Increase Skill

Increase tolerance to more workload at higher intensities.

(there are a host of other reasons to do volume that go beyond the philosophical nature of the question)

I lean towards what Jack is saying. It's hard to bookend it. To me "doing volume" is specifically working at a rate and frequency and intensity that allows me to:

Practice good technique

Increase work tolerance to do MORE.

Volume=More.



Mike I is answering a specific question regarding lifting weights and the general parameters we can observe about what people tolerate. Remember, Prilepins chart is not a prescription, it's an observation of what usually happens.
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:25 pm

newguy wrote:And volume is to an extent relative, but also not really because there are certain levels of volume that are needed for a sport. As I build up to 15 mile weeks, that is an increase in running volume for me. But in no way is that a high volume week. I am still a very low mileage "runner" at 15 a week.

It's ABSOLUTELY relative, which is why BRAMCUNTZ use of the Mike I material is so pointless. Those set and rep numbers represents a snapshot in time once a trainee is using good technique, sound weight selection etc...IE, not a newb.

Your 15 mile a week runner is NOT doing high volume running in the absolute, he's doing relatively high volume for himself to drive th adaption of better technique. Over time, as technique and fitness for the task improve, that would be recovery level running..Again, volume generally trendS up..it is MORE VOLUME until such time as you begin to decline due to age, injury or layoff.

This goes to another point, in which you said, volume is when you're using volume to drive adaptation as opposed to intensity. This is on the one hand true at the stage most people are training at. However, these are not equal partners, over time the relative danger and deep recovery inroads made by intense efforts are THE REASON we need to shift to volume to drive adaptation. So that in general, with healthty trainees, the more advanced you are, the more volume you can tolerate and frankly NEED..You need it because intese efforts to drive adaption leave your frequency so low as to really hamper progress.

All of this lies at the core of block periodization. Segmenting practice into periods of increasing intensity and focus, then backing off and doing it again. It's why advanced athletes use drills rather than full movements, or drills instead of sparring or bodybuilding and high volume lifting. It's why most "peaks" are limited to 8 weeks of total training time before you begin to break down...regardless of sport.
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Boris » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:15 am

Blaidd Drwg wrote: This goes to another point, in which you said, volume is when you're using volume to drive adaptation as opposed to intensity. This is on the one hand true at the stage most people are training at. However, these are not equal partners, over time the relative danger and deep recovery inroads made by intense efforts are THE REASON we need to shift to volume to drive adaptation. So that in general, with healthty trainees, the more advanced you are, the more volume you can tolerate and frankly NEED..You need it because intese efforts to drive adaption leave your frequency so low as to really hamper progress.

All of this lies at the core of block periodization. Segmenting practice into periods of increasing intensity and focus, then backing off and doing it again. It's why advanced athletes use drills rather than full movements, or drills instead of sparring or bodybuilding and high volume lifting. It's why most "peaks" are limited to 8 weeks of total training time before you begin to break down...regardless of sport.
It's worth repeating - more advanced trainees simply cannot handle really pushing the envelope like a newb can. It sounds counter-intuitive for people who have never been an advanced athlete (or coach), but whenever I see weekly 90+ percentages in programs (like Smolov-esque squat programs) I just roll my eyes and stop reading.

Do you remember those columns Ken Leistner wrote for PLUSA? He wrote a lot about building a base toward the end and in his writing seemed to be sick of trying to explain the need for less intense, higher rep volume work to strength athletes.

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Re: What's volume training?

Post by newguy » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:07 am

Blaidd Drwg wrote:
newguy wrote:And volume is to an extent relative, but also not really because there are certain levels of volume that are needed for a sport. As I build up to 15 mile weeks, that is an increase in running volume for me. But in no way is that a high volume week. I am still a very low mileage "runner" at 15 a week.

It's ABSOLUTELY relative, which is why BRAMCUNTZ use of the Mike I material is so pointless. Those set and rep numbers represents a snapshot in time once a trainee is using good technique, sound weight selection etc...IE, not a newb.

Your 15 mile a week runner is NOT doing high volume running in the absolute, he's doing relatively high volume for himself to drive th adaption of better technique. Over time, as technique and fitness for the task improve, that would be recovery level running..Again, volume generally trendS up..it is MORE VOLUME until such time as you begin to decline due to age, injury or layoff.

This goes to another point, in which you said, volume is when you're using volume to drive adaptation as opposed to intensity. This is on the one hand true at the stage most people are training at. However, these are not equal partners, over time the relative danger and deep recovery inroads made by intense efforts are THE REASON we need to shift to volume to drive adaptation. So that in general, with healthty trainees, the more advanced you are, the more volume you can tolerate and frankly NEED..You need it because intese efforts to drive adaption leave your frequency so low as to really hamper progress.

All of this lies at the core of block periodization. Segmenting practice into periods of increasing intensity and focus, then backing off and doing it again. It's why advanced athletes use drills rather than full movements, or drills instead of sparring or bodybuilding and high volume lifting. It's why most "peaks" are limited to 8 weeks of total training time before you begin to break down...regardless of sport.
Great points and valuable insights -

My question -
While driving up to 15 mile weeks is higher volume for me - isn't there for each sport a generally accepted level of volume that is needed to reach X level of performance?

For example, running - at some point it seems like most runners who are serious reach X miles a week -
or for lifting lifters who are serious reach X amount of sets/reps at whatever?

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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:48 am

newguy wrote:
Blaidd Drwg wrote:
newguy wrote:And volume is to an extent relative, but also not really because there are certain levels of volume that are needed for a sport. As I build up to 15 mile weeks, that is an increase in running volume for me. But in no way is that a high volume week. I am still a very low mileage "runner" at 15 a week.

It's ABSOLUTELY relative, which is why BRAMCUNTZ use of the Mike I material is so pointless. Those set and rep numbers represents a snapshot in time once a trainee is using good technique, sound weight selection etc...IE, not a newb.

Your 15 mile a week runner is NOT doing high volume running in the absolute, he's doing relatively high volume for himself to drive th adaption of better technique. Over time, as technique and fitness for the task improve, that would be recovery level running..Again, volume generally trendS up..it is MORE VOLUME until such time as you begin to decline due to age, injury or layoff.

This goes to another point, in which you said, volume is when you're using volume to drive adaptation as opposed to intensity. This is on the one hand true at the stage most people are training at. However, these are not equal partners, over time the relative danger and deep recovery inroads made by intense efforts are THE REASON we need to shift to volume to drive adaptation. So that in general, with healthty trainees, the more advanced you are, the more volume you can tolerate and frankly NEED..You need it because intese efforts to drive adaption leave your frequency so low as to really hamper progress.

All of this lies at the core of block periodization. Segmenting practice into periods of increasing intensity and focus, then backing off and doing it again. It's why advanced athletes use drills rather than full movements, or drills instead of sparring or bodybuilding and high volume lifting. It's why most "peaks" are limited to 8 weeks of total training time before you begin to break down...regardless of sport.
Great points and valuable insights -

My question -
While driving up to 15 mile weeks is higher volume for me - isn't there for each sport a generally accepted level of volume that is needed to reach X level of performance?

For example, running - at some point it seems like most runners who are serious reach X miles a week -
or for lifting lifters who are serious reach X amount of sets/reps at whatever?
You know, I have Run across those sorts of metrics time and again. I suspect they have *some* value.

I can tell you're only what I know from these generalizations in cycling and in powerlifting/weightlifting. Example in road cycling, "until you're spooling out 400 mile weeks of zone 2, you're just fucking around"

And "until you're getting in consistent sessions with 15-25 total working reps at 80% or better on the main lift and then repeating about 75% of that on supplementary lifts, you're really just doing minimal work"

On the one hand these are truish generalizations. OTOH, focusing on these metrics to the exclusion of other important things will derail more people than not.

On the third hand, I do think most people fail to comprehend how hard you must train them get better until they see it in action. I cannot tell you how many people I have seen improve just by being in proximity to that qulality focused work. Ask any memes of this forum who's trained at our place or one like it, or just with a real hard charger like a PRO SM or a Cat 1 cyclist. Eyes get opened. It happens at our gym all the time. day 1 PRs just by elevating expectations. I think Syaigh pulled a 30 plus pound Block pull PR the first day we met.

So do you, yourself need 50 mile weeks minimum to improve as a runner? I dunno. I do know spending time talking to and training with people above your talent level WILL pay off especially in terms
Of seeing what is necessary for really good people to get better.

Does this grok?
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:24 am

Great on point article walking through the nuances of finding the right volume for a given bodypart. This is a hypertrophy based approach but the principles are broadly applicable.

https://renaissanceperiodization.com/tr ... le-growth/

again, for insufferable retards and skeptics of the Volume Supremacy, note in each of these examples, total volume trends upward over time. regardless of what a hardgaining (doesn't like to eat) pussy you are, volume is the driver.
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Re: What's volume training?

Post by Sangoma » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:05 am

When I asked this question I had no idea this thread would change my understanding of volume SOOOO much.
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