T Nation

Volume While 'On'?


#1

How much do you normally increase your training volume while on cycle? I'm talking a modest cycle of 500mg/week Test E & 250mg/ week EQ.


#2

Roughly speaking it seems to me that a one-third increase is a good value.

Assuming that the increase is relative to what would be a good plan without the steroids.

If someone has been training HIT-style then they should increase more than that; if they're already doing 2 hours in the gym with fairly short rest periods 4-6 days per week, then they don't need to increase at all and if anything would do better by decreasing the volume and increasing how much is put into the sets.


#3

Would you say that value stays the same for a heavier cycle? How much would you say was optimal for running 2g total anabolics per week?


#4

Giving a figure for training volume is difficult because the styles and methods of training greatly affect how much volume is suitable.

However, within a fairly typical ballpark of methods and styles, 72 sets a week (not because of any precision such as being down to plus or minus two sets, but because 72 is in its own way a round number) is generally a good volume IMO for non-users, and roughly 100 sets a week is good for when using steroids.

But the better approach for an experienced lifter I think is to take a training plan that he already knows is a very good one for him, and then add to it moderately such as by one-third. But if that idea of a training plan is radically different from the above volume, then I'd suggest rethinking. For example, regardless of feeling that Mike Mentzer's Heavy Duty methods worked well for oneself, I'd say increase the volume more substantially. Maybe not to the 100 set/week level as that is so drastically different than what the lifter has been doing, but to for example the 72 sets/week level.

Or on the flip side, if the belief is that 200 sets/week is the best for the individual, rather than increase by one-third, try dropping to say 120 sets/week and increasing how hard one works.

I've never made adjustments for specific amount of steroid use: the above is assuming a decent cycle in the 750-1500 mg/week range but I wouldn't necessarily change it at 2 grams per week either.


#5

Great input, much appreciated. When you say increase the total sets, do you mean equally across all exercises? So add sets to every exercise in whatever split or routine you are using? Would you say it is better to do it by making longer workouts, or by adding training sessions and keeping the session length the same? So for example, I could split the volume for a group of exercises over two sessions in one day.

Lets say i was currently doing 4 work sets per exercise in one session daily. If I split up the load into two, a morning session and evening, I could do three work sets per exercise, but id be doing two sessions so the total sets would be six. Or I could break up the exercises and just increase the sets in each session, so id do one half of them, at a volume of six sets, in the morning, and the other half in the evening.


#6

That is an awesome response. Thank you for taking the time. I think that explains my question perfectly. I realize that everyone is an individual and everyone responds differently to volume. That gives me a great start. I will explore what I can personally handle. I have learned what I can handle naturally through trial and error (error being getting sick and hating life). I realize i'll have to do the same while being on, but that gives me a great base.


#7

From what i understand the volume per workout is nearly irrelevant. If you want to increase frequency or per workout is up to you and how you respond to it. Try both ways and see what you get the best gains from. Does that sound about right guys?


#8

If the only consideration is accomodating volume to the steroid use, then yes, in general increase the volume of everything similarly.

However training goals might differ during the steroid cycle compared to typically. For example, maybe legs are lagging and there's a real desire to focus on this, and legs really weren't trained at proportional volume in the first place. In this case leg work might be for example doubled compared to what it had been.

But generally it's more a question of what would be a good training plan for the situation even if there were no steroids being used, and then adding a modest percentage to that.

A decision to go to twice-a-day training is really not so much a steroid thing as a general training decision.

In your example, there are several options. It's also possible to have more exercise for the bodypart, or more training sessions per week, which also add volume.

Exactly how the change should be made is going to vary according to the situation. For example, an individual might know that there are many back exercises that work well for him, but in contrast for him chest is very simple and increasing the number of exercises would be pointless. So in the first case he might add an exercise; in the second he case he might either add sets to the same exercises, or have fewer rest days inbetween chest workouts.


#9

Well the way I've done it so far is just to push it as far as I can and see what I can take. From what you describe it does seem that there is most likely an optimum point to reach, which is not quite total body annilation, and allows more growth than that. And if that is the case then I would want to gravitate towards that point, as there is no point being obliterated all the time when you have work to do as well!

I have also noticed that protein consumption way over the reccomended guidelines, even that I have heard from close friends who have been lifting and using gear for far longer than me, makes a further difference. I've tried pushing my protein intake up to 500g, and it seems like recovery ability just gets quicker the more protein you eat. The trouble is consuming that level of protein for any length of time. 300g is the most I've been able to consistently eat for long, extended lengths of time.


#10

I think this is a good thread and something that should be read before starting AS. People keep saying that you have to have a good diet and training program before even thinking about running any AS but they never get into what their eating or training protocol is. I know you said you are speaking broadly when you said 72 - 100 sets a week.

However i was wondering about your thought on doing a 5/3/1 program while incorporating first set last to increase some of the volume? If I am on a 4 day a week training schedule that still only puts me at 52 sets a week (which is well below the 72 sets a week you discuss for a non user.

My goal is to gain as much muscle mass as possible (increasing strength is secondary for me)

I have not run any AS to date but want to be as prepared as possible when I do.


#11

Can't speak specifically for increased volume while cycling but I believe if you want to add volume to your workout you need to do it incrementally

You can accomplish this by adding just a few sets over a period of time at typicsl intensity or perform your total volume based workout at less intensity and gradually increase how hard you push each set

This is just my opinion. I hope this helps


#12

Thread is three years old


#13

Awesome insight into weekly training volume. I typically train each body part twice per week which would be biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back, abs, quads, and calves. Even if I do only 12 sets per body part twice per week that is 200 sets per week minimum in the 6-15 rep range. This is all done on 1,000mg/wk total steroid dose. So is the 200 sets per week too much or is the 12 sets per body part twice per week too low? I’ve been making progress but seem to have plateaued.

Where to go from here? Any feedback appreciated.


#14

Awesome insight into weekly training volume. I typically train each body part twice per week which would be biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back, abs, quads, and calves. Even if I do only 12 sets per body part twice per week that is 200 sets per week minimum in the 6-15 rep range. This is all done on 1,000mg/wk total steroid dose. So is the 200 sets per week too much or is the 12 sets per body part twice per week too low? I’ve been making progress but seem to have plateaued.

Where to go from here? Any feedback appreciated.


#15

Manofclay, I’m not an expert on 5/3/1. What one might call the core of the program – the part that actually is 5/3/1 – would be nowhere near enough volume. However, Jim Wendler makes clear that there’s lots more work to be done: he simply allows you a lot of flexibility in how you do it, while being quite specific on the 5/3/1 part.

The templates generally have considerable 5x10 work to fill out the volume, which works well.

As a specific example, the “Boring But Big” template adds in about 40 sets per week on top of the 5/3/1 itself.

On a cycle, if doing that program, personally I’d add somewhat to it by adding some exercises.


#16

[quote]arphax wrote:
Awesome insight into weekly training volume. I typically train each body part twice per week which would be biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back, abs, quads, and calves. Even if I do only 12 sets per body part twice per week that is 200 sets per week minimum in the 6-15 rep range. This is all done on 1,000mg/wk total steroid dose. So is the 200 sets per week too much or is the 12 sets per body part twice per week too low? I’ve been making progress but seem to have plateaued.

Where to go from here? Any feedback appreciated.[/quote]
That kind of volume has certainly been done successfully, or even more volume, but the more volume you do, inherently the less intensive the work turns out to be.

I’d look at where you think you can cut some volume out without likely paying any price for doing so, with the rewards of as a result being able to train more intensively on the remaining part, and of having less resources going to recovery and more left over for growth.

Depending on where you’re at, you could consider deprioritizing one or more body parts. If you really need growth everywhere and that’s realistic, then hitting everything equally hard is fine. But when that’s not so realistic and/or isn’t necessary, then deprioritizing some things can pay off. Could at least one of your biceps, triceps, or abs do fine for a while on just two intensive sets per workout, or perhaps by relying only your compound movements? Might it be no problem at all to hit them at some later time in some specialized training instead? Quite possibly!

That can get your resources focused on the particular exercises that, at the present time, will be more productive for you. It’s not that any of those categories are bad to train, they should be trained, but they don’t necessarily all need to be trained at relatively high volume all the time simultaneously.