T Nation

Volume Progression?


Ive decided to try something a bit differently for a few of my lifts. Im going to stick with the same load for the whole three week loading cycle, but progress in volume.

I was wondering what you guys thought would be a better method?

1) Progression by # of sets.

week1: 3 sets
week2: 4 sets
week3: 5 sets

The weight will be about a 8-10rm, and every sets will be performed to near failure, with short rest breaks of 30-60 seconds. So it might look something like this.

Week 1:






Or theres option #2

2) Progression by total reps


Week1: 30 reps
Week2: 35 reps
Week3: 40 reps

The load will be exactly the same as option 1, about 8-10rm, but i'll perform as many sets as it takes to get to the target reps. The rest breaks will also be the same as option 1.

What do you guys think about the two options. Im leaning toward option 2, but now that I think about it, they are almost identical.

After the 3 week cycle is complete, i plan on deloading and then upping the weight about 5-10lbs depending on the lift, and starting over with week1


I think if you end up performing approximately the same number of reps in your workout while using the same poundage, as long as your workout duration is the same, it really won't matter.

Using your example, and assuming the total workout time is the same, your option 2 is harder on all three weeks, as in your option one example, you would only be getting 23, 29, and 33 reps. That would equate to less lifted in the same period of time.

If you were using a heavier poundage or lifting the same load but in a shorter workout, there would be other factors to consider, but you stated you wish to only adjust the volume so those aren't issues.


i think you have to make sure you go all out each time. maybe not for each set but definately on the last one.

if youre saving yourself at all then you wont be able to accurately gauge progress via adding more reps.

im not a huge volume fan, id rather up the weight after 3-4 good sets 6-8 reps, but thats me and i like adding weight to the bar.

in the first option though the volume increase isnt too bad, youre only working up to a total increase of 10 reps from 23 (wk1) to 33(wk2).

i actually like option 1 better because whats the sense in hypotehtically doing 6 sets if you only get 8 reps out of the whole deal? by that time youre too gassed out and i dont thik youre going to be lifting in a benficial rep-range for growth, and not a heavy enough weight for strength so i see it as a waste.


to tell you the truth, what i would do is take your layout from option 1/week 1


take a weight, when you get those numbers or something similar say,


you move up the weight. so say you do 8/8/7 with 100 pounds, you move up to 105 or 110 and maybe youll get 6/5/4 just keep working at it til you get your determined numbers. its an old school method, very simple, and works very well.


I know Thibs had a bicep program like this. I believe it was in his article "Quick Tricks"

It had the same principle


Thanks for all the input guys. The numbers I mentioned were just purely hypothetical, and will depend on how close I go to failure, and how long the rest breaks are.

The reason I think both methods will almost be the same is that in both methods my early sets are going to be performed to near failure, and the later sets performed to failure.

The only difference is whether I have a set volume or a set number of sets.

Still not really sure which method i'll use though, but it will likely be option 2.

I'll look up thibs' article on it and see how he did it.