Why does almost every gym goer do high volume workouts for different body parts? In any gym on the planet, Monday turns into chest day. Everybody does the back on Tuesday, legs on Thursday, and hands on Friday … or something like that.
What is the reason for the lack of variety and common sense? Why do you need such a large training load?
It must be understood that for decades training strategies have been passed down from generation to generation without any analysis, rethinking or constructive criticism. In the distant sixties, the rational approach to training planning faded into the background due to the rapid proliferation of anabolic steroids.
In the old days, guys like Steve Reeves and Paul Anderson trained on more rational programs with less load, but in the sixties such programs disappeared. When Arnold first stepped into the Gold’s Gym in Venice, California, high volume body splits were already a well-established strategy. Everyone who has trained for muscle mass and strength has used them.
This type of training is not based on a deductive method, but on the simple fact that “everyone does it”. Adepts of such training methods will always tell you that “a large training volume is necessary for muscle hypertrophy.” But who decided that?
I can say with complete confidence that the University of Chicago has not studied the effects of Jay Cutler’s marathon training. There is no research that says you need to do 8-12 sets per muscle group to make it grow. Moreover, experiments suggest otherwise; one approach is as effective as three approaches.
Fans of volume training argue that a large amount of exercise increases the secretion of growth hormone. But they rarely think of the fact that the increase in HGH levels they achieve doesn’t affect your results at all.
In fact, almost anything you do will increase your growth hormone levels. The heat increases the secretion of GH, but my biceps don’t get bigger every time I take a hot shower. The increase in GH secretion in response to training is so negligible that it is not enough even for a minimal acceleration of muscle hypertrophy.
For an athlete who does not use anabolic steroids and does not possess the unique genetics of the Austrian Oak, training in this style would be a huge mistake. It not only depletes the amino acid pool and glycogen stores, but also dramatically increases the recovery time between workouts.
If you do 8-12 sets of chest muscles on Monday, you won’t be able to recover quickly from your workout and won’t train your chest muscles for another 7 days. It turns out that you get one growth incentive per week, or 52 incentives per year. But reduce the amount of exercise to a level where you can recover faster and more efficiently, without severely depleting glycogen and amino acid stores, and you can train body parts 2 times a week instead of just one.
Instead of 52 workouts with the generation of growth stimuli, you will do 104 for each part of the body. If the volume of the load is small, you can even train each muscle group three times a week. What do you think is more effective, 156 workouts with stimulation of hypertrophy or 52?
To train more often, you need to reduce your training load. The total number of sets in the workout should be small, and the number of approaches in one exercise should be even less.
When training the chest, there is no need to do four sets of bench press lying on a horizontal bench, on an incline bench, head up and head down. Such a program is one of the forms of neurosis; you think you need to work the muscles from every possible angle, and do countless sets to stimulate the last muscle fiber, but you are not.
The reason for the popularity of such training programs is that no one wants to admit their mistakes. Acceptance of mistakes is a thing that many are incapable of. This is why high volume training people get upset and offended when they suggest something radically different. No one likes to be offended, so people continue to do the same high volume workouts they’ve always done.
Great, let them keep going, but there are more important things in my life and I don’t want to spend all my free time in the gym. If there is an opportunity to get better results in less time, I will take advantage of it.
Reduce your training volume, increase your working weights and intensity, and expect to hear the question “what are you on” more often.