The best training style will only be successful for so long before the body adapts and the gains slow or stop, altogether. Even if you respond really well to low volume training that does not mean that you should not do higher volume training or that you won’t respond to it. I highly recommend that everyone train through different levels of volume. Last year I added the “progressive volume” approach to my training and that of my clients and the results have been very, very good. In fact, my clients are raving about it.
The Progressive Volume approach looks like this:
The cycle takes 3 weeks to complete so you will plan to blast your training for 6 weeks so that you get 2 full cycles and then take a cruise or deload week where you rest the entire week from weight training to maximize recovery.
Week 1 and 2 – Start with 2 working sets per exercise.
Week 3 and 4 – Start with 3 working sets per exercise.
Week 5 and 6 – Start with 4 working sets per exercise.
Reps on all weeks are 8-12 for upper body and 10-15 for lower body but I don’t believe that rep ranges matter all that much. I do believe in mixing up rep ranges as much as possible for maximum results and keeping the body off balance.
Sample Exercise Setup:
Chest – 3 exercises, 1 incline, 1 flat and 1 decline
Back – 4 exercises, 1 wide chin up or latt pull, 1 row, 1 pulley or machine row, Deads or pullovers (alternate between these two)
Delts – 3 exercises, overhead press, side laterals, bent laterals
Triceps – 3 exercises, overhead tricep extension with bar or dumbbell, cable pressdown, machine dip
Biceps – 3 exercises, preacher curl, barbell or dumbbell curl, cable curl
Quads – 3 exercises, press of some kind, extension, hack or press or squat of some kind
Hams – 1 exercise, leg curl
Calves – 3 exercises, standing calf raise, bent lower back calf raise (like donkey calf raises where your upper body and lower body are in an “L” shape), seated calf raises
Abs– 3 exercises, weighted machine crunch, hanging leg lifts, cable reverse crunches
Traps – 1 exercise, shrugs
It is important to note that you do not have to increase the volume from week to week unless you feel you need it or you can handle the increased volume. It is there to offer you the opportunity to increase it if you need it but it is not a requirement. If you are getting very sore from the current volume of two sets per exercise, stay with that volume.
These days it seems everything has been done and no style of training has not been invented or reinvented. My training protocol is not at all a different workout style, if you think about it. All this really is, is a protocol that maximizes recovery so that the delts and arms aren’t overtrained by using a volume schedule that has you working across the entire spectrum of low volume to high volume over a 6 week blast phase .
The idea is to maximize recovery because that translates into muscle gains and less chance for injury. If you are struggling with delt and arm progress then I recommend giving my training protocol a shot. The worst that will happen is you won’t grow. And if you weren’t growing to begin with, it would seem that you have nothing to lose.
Ken “Skip” Hill – intensemuscle.com