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BendtheBar 09-21-2011 10:23 AM

Volume Training and Longevity
Do you feel volume training, say a typical workout as posted below, is harder on the body than training more frequently with a lower volume?

I am not implying an answer here...merely tossing this out for discussion.

Here's typical bodybuilding-style workout:


Flat Bench - 3 x 5-6
Decline DB Bench - 3 x 6-8
Incline DB Bench - 3 x 6-8
Pec Fly - 3 x 8

Dips - 3 x MAX
Skullcrushers - 3 x 6-8
DB French Press - 3 x 6-8
Do you feel it is harder on the joints and connective tissue in the long run to train using volume? Or do you feel there is no difference?

Shadowschmadow 09-21-2011 10:29 AM

Part of me wants to say that there isn't much of a difference, but the other part of me disagrees. Our joints are our worst enemy.

Fazc 09-21-2011 10:38 AM

This topic I feel I know a little something about,

The above routine would be too much for me, but with a few modifications would work

Flat Bench - 3 x 10
Decline DB Bench - 3 x 10
DB French Press - 3 x 10

Pec Fly - 3 x 15

Incline DB Bench - 3 x 12
Dips - 3 x MAX
Skullcrushers - 3 x 12

That's basically the same routine but with days mixed around and reps increased.

If the rest periods were limited to 1 minute between sets that for me would be a perfectly good routine with *minimal* joint stress. The proviso here is that the weights would have to be light, say 60% of a 1RM. If we take the Bench as an example; if your 1RM is 160kg then of course 60% being about 100kg would still give you a good training effect. However if your 1RM is 100kg then mincing around with 60kg is hardly worth it.

This is why by doing the power stuff, you're making the bodybuilder stuff useful.

Personally I feel even powerlifters should devote at least a few months out of the year to pure bodybuilder style training, it's great for the joints and makes you strong in movements you may not normally be strong in.

Plus the chicks dig it.

Pull14 09-21-2011 10:58 PM

Higher frequency is definitely harder on the body as a whole, but specifically joint/ligaments/etc. I'm talking same muscle grouping 2-3 days a week and especially 4+ days. Volume may be reduced per training session, but total volume per week is still high (may be higher) and the intensity can still be fairly high. With that, the body is still in a fatigued state or recovers just enough to manage the next training session. This puts a lot of stress on the slower-to-recover joints, ligaments, and tendons.

Higher volume and lower frequency may feel "harder" but given the sheer volume of work targeted on a few select muscle groups, the intensity MUST be reduced to get necessary work complete OR the intensity and quality of work will naturally reduce because you can't go 100% or even 85% on every single one of those lifts (as listed in the example session). It will feel hard but a drain in energy/strength will keep you from really killing the joints. And if it does come to that, you'll probably have 6-7 days to recovery.

5kgLifter 09-22-2011 11:21 AM

For me, I notice that higher volumes create repetitive style problems, elbows and such, but lower volume higher intensity work creates stress and aches that I don't get with the higher volume lower intensity workloads; so I like to mix it up and have weeks thrown in that give the body a break, both ways.

Some of the aches with the lower volume could just be adaptation to the loads but it does seem that they dissipate if the body is allowed to "recover" for a week or two with either no workout or lower intensity workouts.

On the other hand, IMO, repetition done over too long a period at higher volumes, is never a good thing.

thumpinos 09-22-2011 11:57 AM

I have issue with volume. I can train frequently but as soon as I do volume training everything hurts.

Off Road 09-22-2011 03:14 PM

It depends on the intensity. Volume alone isn't really the problem.

Fazc 09-22-2011 03:18 PM

Yeah, I guess I'm in the minority on this one. The volume for me was absolutely fine. I was doing up to 5 full body sessions a week for a little while and 4 days for a long while. But I'm actually finding the power stuff a lot harder to recover from. I have a feeling that this is because I'm naturally quite explosive and built to lift for short, sharp bursts and as a result am efficient at lifting weights closer to my true 1RM. I'm not that great at reps and as a result cannot impose as much stress using them.

I'm guessing a lot is dependant on how efficient you are with your lifts; as in how effectively you can lift a true 1RM. That is going to depend a lot on experience, training methods and how you're built.

Just a guess anyway.

Mike Mentzer 09-22-2011 03:29 PM

Volume training is detrimental to gains.

BendtheBar 09-22-2011 03:31 PM

The combination of constant volume combined with intensity (heavy loads) is what will tear me up.

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