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Does Training Volume Get A Bad Rap?

I’d say it’s a small part of the volume topic. Intensity can dictate volume and tempo can impact intensity a bit.

It’s interesting that you say that, because my joint aches are at the distal end. My main issue is my left elbow. It’s getting cranky. I’ve also noticed extra stress (no pain) in my pec where it goes into the shoulder/armpit area (which would be the distal end).

Part of it likely has to do with getting better at the exercises themselves, improved technique can give you some fast strength gains. The other thing is that maybe your legs were more slow twitch dominant than your upper body, which means that they would respond better to more volume and frequency.

No, it’s not a good thing.

Probably not, but if you are looking for a new variation for whatever reason (technique is messed up or you stalled) then slow eccentrics can be useful. As for 8 reps vs. 30, time under tension is one part of the equation, the other part is the magnitude of that tension. Your 8rm is obviously a lot more than your 30rm, so each rep is going to have a stronger stimulus. If you slow down the eccentric then you will do less reps again, so the actual training effect is going to be about the same as if you had used a normal eccentric speed.

That’s because Chad got a lot of his training ideas from Israetel. What you are doing sound like a better idea.


How has your progress been with this? It started my MRV out so high I regressed pretty bad on deads and squats. The deadlift workouts were brutal usually having 7 working sets and I did 3 deadlift variations a week. 3 squat variations and 4 days of pressing. When I finally got off of it my shoulders were nearly useless from low bar squatting 2x week.

I will say that all the pressing helped my bench I was benching just shy of 400. But squats and deadlifts decreased. Work capacity was better but 1 rm was down around 25 lbs on both lifts.

What’s been your results?

Since I’ve been coached by Thibs in september my volume increased from 6-8 to 14-18 hard sets per week and so did my gains.


Was that per lift or total sets for all movements?

I only ask for educational reasons. I’m not a guy chasing magic programming. I do believe that when it comes to strength and hypertrophy there’s differences in the purpose of volume and intensity. I was doing 15 working sets week of deadlift variations alone. Some were RDL, snatch grip and conventional but that alone destroyed me.

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How would you rate the service so far?

My first 12 week cycle.
Squat-395x4 to 395x6
Bench-265x1 (grinder) to 280x1 (easy)
Deadlift- 600x1 to 606x1

The deadlift volume does feel like a bit much. Mostly because it’s got all 6 of my sets on 1 day and on linear periodization.

Pressing 4x a week feels good.

Squatting 2-3x per week. The heavy session does feel like a bit much especially when I’m on 6s or 5s but not as bad when it gets into the peaking cycle. I’ve cut out assistance work to balance things out.

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You can change your fatigue rating or redo the questionnaire to change the MEV and MRV.

I think it’s inevitable at some point, and quite obvious, that you’ll have to increase volume.

Once you are training to failure your intensity is maxed out (let’s assume your exercise selection and form is appropriate for the goal). Couple that with the fact that strength only gets so high and there’s only so many ways you can make a top set appropriately intense.

Let’s take a trainee who has been at it for 5 years, gotten all the newb gains and has made respectable strength gains.

Let’s say they are squatting 315 (or 405 or whatever really, pick a number) and can get 12 reps to form failure ad your top set and this is a number they have worked up to over the years and the progress is slowing down… they PROBABLY aren’t going to add significant weight to the bar over the next few weeks, and they probably aren’t going to add significant reps in our one set to failure program.

So to further adapt the body you almost HAVE to find ways to increase volume… maybe that’s also by doing an intensity technique like a drop set, or extended set, or super set, but all of those are still adding volume. The “easiest” way Is to simply add another set or another exercise for a set. Of course you can only do that for so long too.

For me personally, volume training my legs creates too much soreness and immobility now that I have a kid so I stopped it, but I don’t think you are going to go wrong with 3-4 sets of something.

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Kinda curious where rest time and density manipulation fall into this. The most effective program I’ve run so far kept the weight and total reps the same for 12 weeks, and spent the first 6 weeks reducing rest times between sets from 4 minutes to 2, and the next 6 weeks going from 10x10 to 100 reps in 9 sets and then 100 reps in 8 sets.

Adding quality bodyweight, got stronger, joints felt nice since the weight stayed the same the whole time, etc.

Is this adding volume, upping intensity, or something else entirely?

And I’m not asking rhetorically or facetiously: these terms get confusing to me.

I would call that a form of increasing intensity, via the increased density. You are making the same volume of work harder

Assuming you entered the training phase doing the same relative amount of work?? This is getting into the minutia, but going from 5x10, to doing 10x10 and then reducing the rest would obviously be an increase in volume as well as intensity compared to previous work loads (although again, the weight lifted would have to be factored in). Although again, this approach can only go so far, as eventually you would (theoretically) be doing a single 100 rep set once the rest periods got short enough.

I dont think its important really to get bogged down in those kinds of details… The important question really is “where do I go from here to continue to create new stimulus for my body” - If that means increasing intensity, or volume, or density, or TUT or whatever else you have to do then just do it, but understand the benefits and drawbacks of each one… And generally speaking the answer is more, and not harder.

BTW, What program was that?


Jon Andersen’s Deep Water program. Beginner phase is about rest times, Intermediate is about density.

I’m not sure I understand what this means. But you stay at 10x10 throughout for the phase where you focus on rest times, rather than build up to it from 5x10.

The solution he has there is to upping the weight at the end of the phases and starting over. You use 70% of your 10rm for workweight, and by the end of the training phase SHOULD see an increase.

Since running the program, I’ve been finding a good deal of success in keeping weight stable and focusing on manipulating the rest times as a means of progression.

Meaning you don’t start the Deep Water program coming off of a low volume phase (let’s just use DC, which generally has you at around 15-30 reps, or a HIT variant for ease of discussion)

It’s not a “problem” per se, but it makes it harder to compare if it was the rest times or the increase in volume (100 reps) that provided the new stimulus (or both) for growth (provided you see any).

As opposed to doing 531 BBB and just lowering the rest periods of the BBB portion as a single example.

Ah, I see what you mean. Would you figure the 6 weeks spent in the beginner phase would be enough to be volume adapted? Because at that point you transition to focusing on density (although it’s also paired with a weight increase by using a higher percentage).

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lol ya’see, this is what I was trying to convey in the other thread. There are soo many athletes (especially bodybuilders! I don’t know why some people refuse to acknowledge this) who do volume AND use high intensity work and make plenty of gains! Obviously anyone trying to do close to failure training with heavy weights, and is only resting 30 seconds between sets will come to think of it as an either/or proposition, but if you can step back and really look at what some of the best guys are doing (and this can be natural guys because they’re not getting the additional recovery benefits of PED use), there’s such a blatant common thread that you can’t take some of these dismissive authors adamantly clinging to their old dogma seriously.


Honestly, I hate that anyone plans around a 7 day week. Trust me, human biology has no magic internal clock that functions around a 7 day turnover.

I used to plan my training around the weekly rotation because of work, school, all sorts of outside factors. When I realized that I could make better gains with a 1 1/2x/week approach, everything fell into place for ME. That was the magic spot for someone with my recovery ability who was already giving a ton of attention to his diet, to his exercise performance, even to how he sequenced his movements to address weak points. This does NOT mean that people can’t hit everything twice a week, or even once in some cases, but there’s a certain point with frequency where you’re missing out on possible progress because you’re afraid to train frequently.


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A saying I always liked was that it’s not about stress, but PERCEIVED STRESS. That means that you can use a lesser weight, but perform movements in a manner where you’re applying more stress to the working muscle, and basically working harder.

When I first stumbled upon the concept of Compensatory Acceleration Training (Hatfield), it suddenly make a lot of sense why so many bodybuilders focused on a slow eccentric part of the repetition. Of course C.A.T. really takes it to a deeper level, and made a big impact on my approach when I was in the midst of competing, when I still needed steady progress but didn’t want to grind my joints to dust with continued uneccessary pounding.


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No per muscle per week. For instance here’s a session from the accumulation cycle, the quads one:

A. Back squat 3x6 @80%, 1 x max @80%
B. Frankenstein squat 3 x 8 with 4 secs eccentric
C. Hack squat 3 x 10 with high double contraction
D. Leg press 3 x 12 with low double contraction
E. Leg extension with iso-dynamic contrast 2 x 25 secs + 8-10

Exactly! Since I’ve been focusing on muscle, and have incorporated techniques such as slow eccentric, double-contraction, holding the contraction, iso-dynamic contrast etc I have been using less weight but I’ve gained more muscle!


Maybe volume adapted to those protocols (which I’m not sure of what they are). I’m not really sure there is an objective measure of “volume adapted”, certainly not for every person.

This actually falls in line with what I was mentioning earlier, which is that when one source of stimulus becomes adapted too, you have to find new ways to create it. I think most serious trainees reach this conclusion on their own intuitively, whether they realize it or not ( could be as simple as “I’m bored with this routine, time to move on” up to seriously tracking every rep in a log book.)

So going from Volume ~> Density seems like a good move to continue creating fatigue and muscle damage. Many of CT’s programs have 4 phases built in (A “regular phase”, then a phase where you increase volume, then a phase where you drop the volume and increase the intensity, and then a back off phase where both are reduced)

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It’s funny because I think naturally I ended up going with this progression:

Add reps (4x6-8) --> Cut Rest time from 2:00 to 1:00 --> Once you are able to do 4x8 with 60s rest between sets add 5-10lbs and start again.

Seems like an intuitive way to train while covering a lot of bases.