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Fatigue Effects - High Volume vs Low Volume?


I was hoping to better understand why fatigue effects me in different ways depending on the type of program I’m on. For example, I recently completed a high volume block (high for me anyway) of training and by the end of it could noticeably tell I was short tempered, focus began to wane and I easily lost patience in general with things in my life. Just became a grumpy SOB.

I took a 2 week deload and am now currently on a low volume strength block. I’m about 5 weeks in and am beginning to feel the systemic/joint fatigue that can be expected when training heavier and more intensely. However, I still feel mentally “in the game” and not experiencing any loss of temper/patience whatsoever.

What might be the cause of this?

you are a type what?

I fit best with a Type 3.

It looks like more details are needed. My higher volume training consisted of starting out at around 10 sets per bodypart per week and ramping up to a maximum of 18-20 sets per bodypart per week over a 5 week period. I would shoot for adding 2-5 lbs per exercise. Rep range 8-12.

As for my current lower volume training, I’m maintaining at 9 sets per bodypart per week. I’m adding 5-10 lbs per lift (compounds). Rep range 4-6.

Look at the Change in your workload. During “high volume” you doubled the sets while adding weight and probably sneaking in a few more reps here and there. Adding sets/rep/weights that fast you could almost Triple the workload from week 1 to week 5. You’re pretty much chasing the fatigue, Rushing into an unsustainable workload you can’t recover from.

During “low volume” sets and reps stayed the same and weights went up a little. The Change in the workload is much smaller and happens more gradually. You’re controling or managing the fatigue better.

if you feel like shit doing high volume, i don’t think that it will bring you alot of results. You should focus with what your body is able to recover from and make you feel good not only in the gym but all your day

Thanks guys for the responses.

FlatsFarmer, yeah I was chasing the fatigue but was actually by design. I had the deload planned to handle it but probably delayed it a week too long. I definitely wasn’t attempting to sustain that level of training though.

Bigmax, overall yes I agree that it seems the higher volume work isn’t for me but does seem to work up to a point. I just probably overdid it.

As for my current lower volume routine, I’m working at a much higher intensity than I was during the higher volume period (much more training to failure). I think I should rephrase my question. If I continue my lower volume phase as I am, would that fatigue start to build up and culminate with me feeling the same (shitty, grumpy SOB) as I had been after the higher volume period? Is there essentially no difference in the eventual fatigue that a person would accumulate from high versus low volume training?

You feel tired when your doing more volume because you can’t recover from alot of volume ! If you do a lower volume workout, you will be able to recover well from it so no you won’t feel tired anymore !!

I don’t think you’re some special creature with some super-freaky low tolerance for volume.

I think what you called “high volume training” was actually Not Very Well Thought Out Training. You did too much, and built up to it too fast.

“A safe assumption is that for maximum hypertrophy 10-15 sets per muscle per week is optimal. This would mean doing 4 or 5 exercises per muscle group for 2-3 work sets. More than that could end up being detrimental to gains.”

If you want your current low volume training to stall and make you grumpy, Maintain the same sets and reps, and take bigger jumps in poundage (30-40 pounds) week to week.

Thanks Flats. That is an excellent article and your last sentence finally answered my original question.

My “Not Very Well Thought Out Training” comes directly from Mike Israetel and did work. I just over reached.

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I like Dr. Mike’s advices. I also recently did a high volume phase following the same guidelines as you. Only not so many sets. I guess you found out where your max recoverable volume is!

Now I’m doing some low volume stuff from the “Best Damn” plan. It’s been a cool, fun change up, to Focus more on fewer sets.

Yeah, I definitely found my MRV! The low volume I’m doing now is clearly my maintenance phase, which curiously enough seems to possibly be giving me greater gains than the actual accumulation phase. Maybe I’m “cashing in” on over reaching? Hell who knows.

I actually intend on starting “Best Damn” after this maintenance phase is done. I’m liking the lower volumes.

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