T Nation

Training Volume and Age


Ok, guys I'm only 33 but I like this forum because of the wisdom it provides me as I look ahead. I'm in this for the long haul and so I want to refine my training and keep it sensible and enjoyable. I have done powerlifting before but it has been about ten years since my last meet. My goals, more like training objectives are to maintain my lifts and current muscle mass while managing fatigue in busy life.

I used to be a little heavier (mostly muscle) and stronger (ten years ago) when I was more of a gym rat with fewer responsibilities.  Even then I trained with a lower volume than most of these new guys like Waterbury recommend.  I would just work up to one to three heavy sets of 4-6 reps on the basic lifts and then maybe a back off set followed by some assistance work. I followed body part splits and worked out 3-4 days a week.  I even did some Westside barbell type training for a while.

Fast forward to now. I have been doing full body workouts (which I like) most of the time and occaisionally cycling through an upper lower split. I try to follow the 5x5, 4x6, 8x3 schemes but it always leads to too much fatigue. Most of the time I feel stronger and fresher with a lower volume approach. I mean as we get older as far as training age shouldn't we be keeping the volume in check and working up to a just a heavy set or two on the basics.

For example: 8x3 on deadlifts with 365 wears me the hell out where as 315x3, 335x3, 365x3, 385x3, 405x3 feels much more natural and productive to me. The ligher sets contribute to overall volume while managing fatigue as well as allowing for some compensatory acceleration.

A bench press workout might be 5x4 with 260 on every set where as I could do one or two sets of 5 with 275 and then a back of set of 10 with 225. The second approach is more fun and just feels better. I'm just not sure as to the superiority of these newer volumous approaches for those of us no longer seeking hypertrophy. I'm sure there several of you guys who are at the size you'd like to stay.

I know people are always talking about progress but quite frankly I do well just to maintain my current strength level at this (my most natural body weight). How do you guys train in this respect?


Many programs I have seen here, including yours, are very effective and I believe which program is the best will be debatable for a long time.

Currently I do Sheiko which is very high volume, but it is working. The intensity is very doable for the volume. I like it b/c I train by myself.

Whether you do high volume or high intensity, I think they are both very effective, as long as the opposing variable is reduced.

The one thing I’ve noticed about age is that I need more recovery time.


The only training advice I have is to keep a training journal. It is far too easy to fall into a habit of always doing the same things over and over. I find that a training journal forces me to try to do “more” at every workout. Either more weight or more reps depending on where I am at in my training cycles.

Other than that, it is the tried and true basics. Training/Recovery/Nutrition