T Nation

Volume Management, Overtaining and Non-Responders

Why I created this topic was to understand how volume should be managed. When I talk about genetics I do not necessarily mean that I’m doomed or inferior (which also could be the case) but I look for alternative methods to make an optimal program for myself. It’s obvious that not everyone’s response to exercise is same, due to many factors such as epigenetics, genetics, endocrinal processes etc. Some people have more of type 1 fibers than type 2 fibers in a particular muscle group, or have some of the signal transduction pathways in their bodies which respond to exercise altered (compared to the general population) I feel like I may be an outlier, so I wanted to learn about different methods.

I thought I might have done too much volume (leading to my biceps tendonitis) I may have been a bit exagerated when I said I haven’t seen much progress, I did of course see progress but I may be underlooking it. In the past 10 months in terms of muscle mass (hypertrophy) I gained around 2.5-3kgs, and learned a lot about my body and how movements should be executed and how I can use my muscles. Am I in a better situation than during my period of frailty? Absolutely. I can do much better, I feel stronger, I look better and most important, I am mentally better than I’ve ever been.

However, not so much in terms of strength gains. This is why I wanted to figure out what I should do. I prefer to keep my workouts as as safe as possible because I do not intend to be the best out there anyways, I do this for my wellbeing and to be “healthier”.

Anyone who goes to the gym and pushes hard enough is stronger than %80 of the general population. I do want to be strong, agile, conditioned. Not just now but when I’m old as well. I would prefer to be the one who can continue whatever has been thrown at him when everyone’s giving up and not pushing harder. I need not be best but I can be close to that. So when I want to device a program, I want to device it to be long-term thing, where it won’t wear and tear my ligaments, tendons etc. etc. and will promote my wellbeing, in terms of everything.

For the biceps tendinitis (I get it all the time) I’d recommend getting one of the straps they sell for that; they really do help. Try doing any pull movement with a neutral grip, as well. I also like to sit there and massage my bicep when it’s getting inflamed, not least because it looks so creepy.

For getting stronger, I think you’re going to have to worry less about mind-muscle-connection. Think “external” for big moves (pushing the bar faster, for example) and “internal” for your small moves (flexing your legs at the top).

My $0.02 on those.

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Being a vegan sucks for getting fitter unless you’re eating an absolutely massive amounts of appropriate foods.

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Clearly you have chosen the wrong hobby. You may want to consider something else, knitting, collecting dolls, basket weaving. There are lots of other hobbies out there.


This is all fine. I have a guitar in my basement. I’ve moved it between 3 different houses. In the last 2 moves, I have not taken it out of the case once. During COVID, I brought it out to show my kid during our “music classes”. When I tried to play it, it sounded terrible.

I expected it to sound terrible, because for years I had NOT been doing what was necessary in order for my guitar playing to sound good.

I did not, at any point, suspect that the issue was that I was some sort of non-responder to guitarmanship.


This was unnecessary, really. If we refer to the said hobby as “weightlifting” you would understand it has many categories and it can be anything ranging from calisthenics to bodybuilding to fitness. If the said hobby is powerlifting, you may be right on that part. I in fact do not object a powerlifting style of training, it just doesn’t feel like what I want to do right now I may pick up that later on during my life, so I appreciate your input with 5/3/1.

@T3hPwnisher thank you. Practice makes it perfect of course. The thing is just like playing the guitar, this is also a skill which you improve on and everyone has a limit. Reaching the genetic potential etc etc. (I do not claim I have reached there, just yet) You may not become the best guitar player, even with the best practice. Anyway this is about the nature vs. nurture argument, I of course like such philosophically fulfilling discussions, but this is not the place to do this I guess. I can also safely argue that there can be non-responders to playing an instrument, by the way. But of course if you picked up the guitar once, most possibly you have some sort of pre-disposition to this, so it is not the strongest point to make of an argument. I picked up weightlifting, and haven’t quitted it since I’ve started it and never quit it and in fact, dreamt of the gym when we had COVID lockdowns so I’m not eluding from anything.

I however, in terms of weight lifting, do not think I am a non-responder per se, because if I were I would have no results, at all. My point being, I may be an outlier of some sort, or need to optimize my training accordingly to be the most suitable way my body is designed. Now many people may come here and argue against this idea, by saying you must push your potential and that is true (furthermore I do this) However, my whole life revolves around optimizing things, because I believe in personalized methods to thrive at stuff.

So please, stop treating me like I’m a pussy, not pushing myself hard enough, not attempting to fulfill my potential, making up excuses, possesing a victim mindset.

That isn’t the case.

It sure isn’t.

You missed my point entirely, which is to say, willfully.


Thanks. I switched to neutral grip a week ago and it feels better also. I’m also doing bicep massages and I dont care if it looks creepy, it feels great. I just wonder if you do a circular motion or a horizontal motion while massaging? I think you have distal tendonitis? Mine is proximal. Do you directly touch the tendon, or massage around it gently. If you have a tutorial you follow on it, I’d appreciate it.

Also do you personally think high volume causes this, like for example do you think it would be safe to jump on to 5/3/1 after I’m fully recovered? From your experience, do you think this could be caused by high volume or intensity? Shall I go heavier with the low rep range to keep my tendon safe?

I figured it could be because of a tense pec? My pecs develop fast and it may be pulling in causing a slouched shoulder. Do you do any stretching?

This is your problem: a vegan lifestyle is not conducive to making progress building muscle or strength. Even if you can get enough “protien” the bio-availability of it is terrible. You would do much better if you changed to a vegetarian lifestyle and ate eggs and dairy.

Even if your training and sleep are on point (which I still doubt) the weak link is your diet. Don’t blame genetics.

Pushes up glasses


“Weightlifting” is the sport of trying to lift the most possible weight in the barbell snatch and clean & jerk.

So no, many here would not understand the “many categories” you’re referring to.

Also stop reading the internet and lift some goddamn weight.


My friend, this is already more than I’ve ever thought about it. When it hurts, I try minor adjustments to work around it.


Thank you for helping out and answering. I appreciate it.

@kdjohn you’re right. I should have said “resistance training” instead.

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Here’s a graphical representation of the relationship between volume, intensity and Frequency.

In your routine volume is “moderate” (8 sets per session) but Frequency is “high.” So it’s like moderate volume x 2 = too much.

And the way you have your body parts split up you’re elevating your arms overhead and bashing your bicep all 4 workouts.

If you want to keep this layout, and this Frequency, you should do Less sets per workout. If you want to to this many sets and this many workouts per week, you should break your body parts into a different split so they get more days to recover before they are trained again. If you want to do bigger lifts, you’ll have to do lower reps to avoid getting beat up.

There are tons of possible combinations of numbers of sets per workout, number of reps per set, number of workouts per week, etc, etc.

To hashtag “optimize” your training you’ll need to find a better balance of the variables. Or find a better way to allocate your recovery resources. The goal is to arrange things just right, so it comes together like Voltron. You’ve put things together poorly and ended up with a soup sandwich.

To experience different combinations of volume, intensity and Frequency you can try other pre-written, proven workouts. Or you can adjust your own program in some way to get a more Optimal routine, where you’re Building more and Beaking Down less.

If you’re a Non Responder to anything, you’re a Non responder to high volume. You should go low volume, high intensity, low frequency for awhile. Instead of pushing volumes, do just a few sets but bust ass to Make it Enough. See how you respond to that.


Also, so it doesn’t look like I’m taking it easy on the new guy;

How the hell does a neuroscientist not understand how a calendar works?


An askhole is basically a person who asks for your opinion or advice, yet never uses your advice and does the opposite of what you said to do. Askholes sometimes ask questions for the sake of asking questions or making conversation. They zone out when you supply an answer, and they always end up doing their own thing.


I wanted to be sure, that’s why I asked. I am aware it looks dumb.

About your initial post, this settles a lot of question marks I had in my mind. Thank you so much for your anwer.

@ChickenLittle I appreciate your answers and help. I think you need not think that way. Everyone’s input is important. Just because I disagree with you currently, doesn’t mean your input is useless. Also it seems like I may benefit from low-volume training like the one you suggest, in the future I will consider it. No need to make an incident out of it.

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This may be the case. But even then if veganism is sub-optimal for this (which I disagree, I see lots of people who are naturals and do training and happen to be vegan) I will continue being a vegan. It’s the line I draw.

It is difficult to cut. I agree. Bulking is fairly easy though.

Hi guys, I opted for A Tried and True Bodybuilding Program Template | T Nation 2 and loving variation having done push pull legs over the last 18 months!

Rest day tomorrow but Thursday is Shoulders and Hammies! I can cover off pretty much everything in the routine aside from hammies as I’m limited by equipment (aside from RDL). Anyone got any gems I can consider? I’ve been warned off of Sissy squats as apparently bad for knees - did have a op on my right knee years ago so get a bit nervous when I hear anything about knee pain!

I’ve had a look on Youtube myself but thought I’d check here too (helped much more in past)

Edit! What a numpty… I have barbell, dumbells and hexbar

So far I have below (have increased sets and reps for RDL in interim to compensate)

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That’s fine, but don’t keep furthering the b.s. that it’s genetics that’s keeping you from making gains.