T Nation

Less Volume? Need Good Advice

over the past couple months i have increased the amount of volume in my workouts in order to grow. after i experience my “newbie gains”, everything began to slow down, so i switched it up.

i have move away from the 5-8 rep range and moved toward the 8-12 rep range, usually doing 3 or 4 sets for every exercise.it has been working better in terms of hypertrophy, i am now 6’2 196 lbs. during the summer i was 188lbs. My goal is to reach 215 by early August.

i do not want to overtrain, as i feel i am on the verge of doing just that, so i am wondering what can i do to make the same or better progress with less volume, if possible.

here is an example of my chest workout so you have a picture of what im talking about:

Flat Bench: 1x12, 1x10, 2x8, 1x5
Incline Dumbell Press: 3x8 or 4x8
Decline Dumbell Press: 3x8 or 4x8
Incline Flyes: 3x8

i do this workout at least twice per week, sometimes 3 times.

is it too much volume? if it is, im worried that if i decrease the amount of volume and work performed, that my muscles will not respond to my training after being accostumed to doing so much.

so what should i do?

[quote]bigmike88 wrote:
over the past couple months i have increased the amount of volume in my workouts in order to grow. after i experience my “newbie gains”, everything began to slow down, so i switched it up.

i have move away from the 5-8 rep range and moved toward the 8-12 rep range, usually doing 3 or 4 sets for every exercise.it has been working better in terms of hypertrophy, i am now 6’2 196 lbs. during the summer i was 188lbs. My goal is to reach 215 by early August.

i do not want to overtrain, as i feel i am on the verge of doing just that, so i am wondering what can i do to make the same or better progress with less volume, if possible.

here is an example of my chest workout so you have a picture of what im talking about:

Flat Bench: 1x12, 1x10, 2x8, 1x5
Incline Dumbell Press: 3x8 or 4x8
Decline Dumbell Press: 3x8 or 4x8
Incline Flyes: 3x8

i do this workout at least twice per week, sometimes 3 times.

is it too much volume? if it is, im worried that if i decrease the amount of volume and work performed, that my muscles will not respond to my training after being accostumed to doing so much.

so what should i do?[/quote]

For starters you should not do that workout more than once per week. You should also get rid of “chest day” and “back day” or whatever and move to a full-body routine. If you feel like you’re overtraining, or on the verge or it, then yes you should back off. Your overtraining probably stems from poor programming and periodization. Find a workout by an author on this site and stick with it.

[quote]bigmike88 wrote:
over the past couple months i have increased the amount of volume in my workouts in order to grow. after i experience my “newbie gains”, everything began to slow down, so i switched it up.

i have move away from the 5-8 rep range and moved toward the 8-12 rep range, usually doing 3 or 4 sets for every exercise.it has been working better in terms of hypertrophy, i am now 6’2 196 lbs. during the summer i was 188lbs. My goal is to reach 215 by early August.

i do not want to overtrain, as i feel i am on the verge of doing just that, so i am wondering what can i do to make the same or better progress with less volume, if possible.

here is an example of my chest workout so you have a picture of what im talking about:

Flat Bench: 1x12, 1x10, 2x8, 1x5
Incline Dumbell Press: 3x8 or 4x8
Decline Dumbell Press: 3x8 or 4x8
Incline Flyes: 3x8

i do this workout at least twice per week, sometimes 3 times.

is it too much volume? if it is, im worried that if i decrease the amount of volume and work performed, that my muscles will not respond to my training after being accostumed to doing so much.

so what should i do?[/quote]

You should train your legs and back too.

That doesn’t seem like too much volume, but you should probably throw in a deloading week every so often to give your muscles a chance to recover.

However, if you are training your chest like this on one day, I’m assuming you are training your legs like this on another day, and your back on another, shoulders, bi’s, tri’s? If you are only hitting your chest this hard, you are going to get out of balance pretty quickly, and then overtraining is a real risk.

Also, you can’t stick with the same rep range forever. The reason it has worked for you is because you switched to it from another set/rep scheme. Sooner or later you will plateau. You need to keep switching it up.

I don’t think you need to do a full body routine, but you could try it to see how your body responds. If you want to keep doing a split routine, just make sure it’s balanced between upper and lower, push and pull.

[quote]Modi wrote:
bigmike88 wrote:
over the past couple months i have increased the amount of volume in my workouts in order to grow. after i experience my “newbie gains”, everything began to slow down, so i switched it up.

i have move away from the 5-8 rep range and moved toward the 8-12 rep range, usually doing 3 or 4 sets for every exercise.it has been working better in terms of hypertrophy, i am now 6’2 196 lbs. during the summer i was 188lbs. My goal is to reach 215 by early August.

i do not want to overtrain, as i feel i am on the verge of doing just that, so i am wondering what can i do to make the same or better progress with less volume, if possible.

here is an example of my chest workout so you have a picture of what im talking about:

Flat Bench: 1x12, 1x10, 2x8, 1x5
Incline Dumbell Press: 3x8 or 4x8
Decline Dumbell Press: 3x8 or 4x8
Incline Flyes: 3x8

i do this workout at least twice per week, sometimes 3 times.

is it too much volume? if it is, im worried that if i decrease the amount of volume and work performed, that my muscles will not respond to my training after being accostumed to doing so much.

so what should i do?

You should train your legs and back too.

That doesn’t seem like too much volume, but you should probably throw in a deloading week every so often to give your muscles a chance to recover.

However, if you are training your chest like this on one day, I’m assuming you are training your legs like this on another day, and your back on another, shoulders, bi’s, tri’s? If you are only hitting your chest this hard, you are going to get out of balance pretty quickly, and then overtraining is a real risk.

Also, you can’t stick with the same rep range forever. The reason it has worked for you is because you switched to it from another set/rep scheme. Sooner or later you will plateau. You need to keep switching it up.

I don’t think you need to do a full body routine, but you could try it to see how your body responds. If you want to keep doing a split routine, just make sure it’s balanced between upper and lower, push and pull.[/quote]

thank you for the advice. i am not going to do a full body routine, i feel as though that is better for a competitive athlete, which i no longer am, or a power lifter. i am lifting for aesthetic purposes and years down the line, if i achieve my goals, possibly deciding to compete in bodybuilding.

i do train the rest of my body just as intensely, with the exception of legs- which is one day of squats every week. my legs seem to respond well after years of working my legs for basketball.

i think however, that i am going to lessen my actual shoulder workout, because my chest workout provides alot of stimulation in that respect as well, as does my upper back workout.

right now my split is:
chest/legs
back/shoulders/arms

i switch my split up every 4 weeks to keep it varied, so there is no method to my madness besides trying to leep it new, and i dont think it really matter much what muscles you train together, as long as you give yourself adequate recovery periods

I recommend you read some of Waterbury’s stuff to change your opinion on total body training. good luck.

[quote]bigmike88 wrote:

thank you for the advice. i am not going to do a full body routine, i feel as though that is better for a competitive athlete, which i no longer am, or a power lifter. i am lifting for aesthetic purposes and years down the line, if i achieve my goals, possibly deciding to compete in bodybuilding.
[/quote]

Do you say this because you’ve already tried TBT or because you assume this to be the case?

If you haven’t tried TBT, I can tell you from personal experience that you are missing out. I followed Waterbury’s 8 week program and am now sitting at 198lbs (and still steadily gaining) up from 146lbs in June. If you think that this hasn’t improved my aesthetic appearance you are wrong.

Also, I’ve never read or heard about Powerlifters doing full body routines as this seems like a sure fire way to fall short on the big 3.

Finally, if you are trying to gain any appreciable mass whilst undertraining your quads and posterior chain you are severely hindering your potential. The larger muscle groups (quads and hams) trigger larger releases of GH post-workout. This increase in GH affects the rate of muscle growth in ALL of your body. Furthermore, imbalances from undertraining the lower body can lead to postural problems which will prevent you from lifting properly heavy shit.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck man.

[quote]jarvis wrote:
bigmike88 wrote:

thank you for the advice. i am not going to do a full body routine, i feel as though that is better for a competitive athlete, which i no longer am, or a power lifter. i am lifting for aesthetic purposes and years down the line, if i achieve my goals, possibly deciding to compete in bodybuilding.

Do you say this because you’ve already tried TBT or because you assume this to be the case?

If you haven’t tried TBT, I can tell you from personal experience that you are missing out. I followed Waterbury’s 8 week program and am now sitting at 198lbs (and still steadily gaining) up from 146lbs in June. If you think that this hasn’t improved my aesthetic appearance you are wrong.

Also, I’ve never read or heard about Powerlifters doing full body routines as this seems like a sure fire way to fall short on the big 3.

Finally, if you are trying to gain any appreciable mass whilst undertraining your quads and posterior chain you are severely hindering your potential. The larger muscle groups (quads and hams) trigger larger releases of GH post-workout. This increase in GH affects the rate of muscle growth in ALL of your body. Furthermore, imbalances from undertraining the lower body can lead to postural problems which will prevent you from lifting properly heavy shit.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck man.

[/quote]

maybe i am misinformed on the nature of total body workouts, i will look in to it and maybe consider it as an option. thank you for filling me in on that. what exactly has been your physique change as a result? did you have to bulk up and cut down? or did you gain all that weight with small amounts of body fat on a clean diet? or do you have alot of bodyfat as of now?

i am asking because i do not wish to develop unwanted body fat for fear of not being able to lose it and have the apppearance i desire. so i feel as though gaining the weight slowly with minimal body fat is the way to go for me, since time is on my side considering i am 18. but, if i find that i can bulk up in that manner and still reach my goals, its no problem.

I have been bulking solidly since June and probably won’t consider cutting until April at the earliest (even this would be less of a cut and more of a low carb maintenance phase). I have accumulated some bodyfat but its nothing I can’t handle.

Gaining slowly with minimal fat is not only very difficult, I find it to be a principle which allows people to entrench themselves in a stagnant mindset which can lead to an absolute lack of gains.

I used to be afraid of not being able to lose bodyfat so I went on a cutting diet, down to 146lbs (I had been at about 158lbs for 5 years at roughly 17%bf) just to see what my abs looked like. In the end I decided to just man up and bulk and I’ve never looked back.

[quote]bruinsdmb wrote:
I recommend you read some of Waterbury’s stuff to change your opinion on total body training. good luck.[/quote]

I recommend that you expand your lifting ‘world view’.

There are many great ways to add strength and pack on muscle, TBT is but one of them. It is foolish, however, to think that TBT is the only thing that works or TBT is far better than other training protocols.

For instance, there’s an army worth of lifters that have had phenomenal success using the standard westside templet.