Time to choose: High Intensity or High Volume Routine

Going to the gym every day can be fun, but on the other side you have to devote yourself physically and mentally whether your plans are set on building muscle mass or increasing your strength. But is your workout program structured in a way that will bring the best results for your effort? Many people will say that they are not satisfied with their results…

A bodybuilding program can be structured in two ways.

There are representatives, of so called High Volume training that believe that you have to work each group of muscles with 15 to 20 + sets per workout. On the other side the Lower Volume, but High Intensity representatives believe that the best motto is “Go hard or go home to your mother”. Intensity is the key to every successful workout program.

So according to them you can’t have both, high intensity and high volume on every exercise you plan to do. There is a moment when you need to choose. It looks like high intensity exercises could be cruel, with a lot of sweat everywhere, heavy breathing and fatigue.

On the other side the total hours spent with the higher volume exercises can be a disadvantage. So here comes the point where you need to choose. Which one is better? Let’s have a small review. Let’s put our focus on both so you can easily choose which one best suits you.

The High Intensity Plan

Many people nowadays decide to exclude the high volume workout plan and transit into the high intensity workout plan. The High Intensity plan says that a near maximal weight should be lifted using just one or a couple of work sets. You push yourself to the limits and after the workout you should be so tired that you can’t move any more – literally.

The high intensity plan has its pros and cons.

The first benefit of having a high intensity plan is that you’ll get very strong. When lifting a maximum weight and only one or two sets, you will gain superior strength which is opposite the high volume plan. So when you decide to save your energy for several sets on a single exercise, you are no longer lifting maximal weights.

The body metabolism is heavily stressed when doing high intensity exercises. So your exercises are short, and you don’t burn so many calories while you are doing a set or two, but your body continues to burn calories even in the next couple of hours after your workout has been completed.

Simply put, if you want to be lean and at the same time you want to maintain your strength, the high intensity plan is for you.
As it was said this plan has its own disadvantages as well. Many bodybuilders would perform a single or a couple of high intensity sets for a single exercise, but then they will perform several sets on other exercises.

It should be noted that high volume plan isn’t just how many sets of a single exercise you do, but how many sets in total you do over the entire workout.

This is a bit of a problem because if, for example, you are doing five exercises using two sets per exercise, each with maximal weight, you will have 10 very intense sets done and you are no longer doing a low volume routine.

The recovery from these 10 intense sets would be extremely hard. Your central nervous system could be overheated and in a short period of time you could get overtrained.

Another problem is that a greater number of sets are needed so that optimal growth and s well as would be induced. Using a single set or a couple of sets won’t trigger all muscle fibers and this is not the optimal way to build muscle size.

Using maximal weights carries a greater risk of injury. Also, it is difficult to learn how to properly execute an exercise by doing only one set. Multiple sets properly stimulate the muscles and potentially decrease the injury risk over the long term.

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