T Nation

CT - ab optimal training volume?

First time poster, long time lurker…

In CT’s Game Plan (http://www.t-mag.com/nation_articles/265game.jsp), he recommends doing 80 to 120 reps per week per body part depending on fiber-type dominance. Are these number based upon the muscle group or personal basis. I note that he indicates that some genetic hyooge freaks are gifted with more fast-twitch fibers. So, I am assuming that there are person to person variations in fiber-type dominance. However, I also recall Poliquin indicated that the calve muscles are high in slow-twitch fibers and should be worked with high reps.

So, I’m a little confused then. There are person to person variations of fiber-type dominance and muscle group variations in fiber-type dominance. CT is recommending that we should adhere more to the personal differences in muscle type dominance and train accordingly however this is in slight contrast to what Poliquin is saying. What is more important - person to person variations in fiber dominance or muscle group variations?

CT also seems to be contradicting himself in his first “Ab Training for Athletes and Babe Hounds” as he stateds

"Optimally you want to be able to do one additional circuit every 1 or 2 weeks. Of course, this won’t always be possible. However, it’s good to set high goals for yourself. Once you’re able to complete 15 - 20 circuits, you’ll have a trunk of steel (at the start few will do more than 4-5 good circuits).

You must use challenging resistance, though! Use a load that makes doing 8-12 reps very hard!"

I have followed CT’s first ab training program (and gotten a hell of a lot stronger) but I’m doing 5-6 different movements at 10 reps for 4 or 5 rounds. On good days thats over 300 reps! But, according to CT’s Game Plan, I should be doing more that 120 reps per week. And at times, I’ve done CT ab program twice per week, if I feel that I recovered.

CT seems to be saying two different things. Anyone care to clear this up for me? Should I cut down my ab training?

And, just on a final note. I admire the hell out of CT, I don’t want to be accused of CT bashing. I have OVTed myself to pain many times in the past and have incorporated a large array of olympic lifts into my program because of him. I just need some clarification.



P.S. Are abs dominated by fast or slow-twitch fibers? And, is there a good online guide that indicates what muscles are dominated by what fibers? Thanks.

The game plan article is just to illustrate how weekly volume can be divided into several sessions (this is also discussed in my latest article).

The variation will be large depending on your training experience. In fact, many of my programs include more volume than prescribed in the game plan article. Understand though that this article was focused more on big compound movements such as the squat, bench, deadlift, etc. And for a “basic” training scheme. Shock programs (which are to be used only for a short period of time) may (and should) include more volume to elicit a marked adaptative reconstruction/surcompensation effect.

Abdominal muscles are another story. As postural muscles, they respond best to an increasingly higher volume of work. Since I don’t believe in doing sets of super high reps of an abs exercise, the only way to increase volume is to add more sets.

Thanks for reply CT.

Quick follow-up question - if you have the time to grace me with your vast array of training knowledge and wisdom. How can I determine what my personal muscle fiber type dominance is? How do I know if I’m more Is or IIs? Does this just come from experience on what has worked for me in the past or is there another way to determine this with a biopsy of sorts?

cDog, use the simple 80% for reps test (which is described in my “Black Book”).

Select an exercise for the bodypart you want to test and find out your maximum (1 rep max).

Then, using 80% of that maximum load you try to do as many reps as you can. The number of reps will clue you on your fiber dominance.

1-3 reps = Fast twitch extremely dominant

4-6 reps = Fast twitch very dominant

7-10 reps = Fast twitch dominant

11-13 reps = Equal ratio

14-17 reps = Slow twitch dominant

18-21 reps = Slow twitch very dominant

21+ reps = Slow twitch extremely dominant

Obviously, since the fiber ratio is not the same for all muscles, you may want to use several test exercises.

I posted this question on your last forum but never got an answer…when stating 80-120 reps per muscle group, how do you split it up for the lower body 80-120/quads, 80-120/hams or 80-120 for quad and hams?