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Default High vs. Low vs. Moderate Volume
by BendtheBar 05-30-2012, 08:16 AM

Abstract

Moderate resistance training volume produces more favorable strength gains than high or low volumes during a short-term (10 week) training cycle.

Gonzales-Badillo, Esteban, Arellan and Izquierdo (2005)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of 3 resistance training volumes on maximal strength in the snatch (Sn), clean & jerk (C&J), and squat (Sq) exercises during a 10-week training period. Fifty-one experienced (>3 years), trained junior lifters were randomly assigned to one of 3 groups: a low-volume group (LVG, n = 16), a moderate-volume group (MVG, n = 17), and a high-volume group (HVG, n = 18). All subjects trained 4-5 days a week with a periodized routine using the same exercises and relative intensities but a different total number of sets and repetitions at each relative load: LVG (1,923 repetitions), MVG (2,481 repetitions), and HVG (3,030 repetitions). The training was periodized from moderate intensity (60- 80% of 1 repetition maximum [1RM]) and high number of repetitions per set (2-6) to high intensity (90-100% of 1RM) and low number of repetitions per set (1-3). During the training period, the MVG showed a significant increase for the Sn, C&J, and Sq exercises (6.1, 3.7, and 4.2%, respectively, p < 0.01), whereas in the LVG and HVG, the increase took place only with the C&J exercise (3.7 and 3%, respectively, p < 0.05) and the Sq exercise (4.6%, p < 0.05, and 4.8%, p < 0.01, respectively). The increase in the Sn exercise for the MVG was significantly higher than in the LVG (p = 0.015). Calculation of effect sizes showed higher strength gains in the MVG than in the HVG or LVG. There were no significant differences between the LVG and HVG training volume-induced strength gains. The present results indicate that junior experienced lifters can optimize performance by exercising with only 85% or less of the maximal volume that they can tolerate. These observations may have important practical relevance for the optimal design of strength training programs for resistance-trained athletes, since we have shown that performing at a moderate volume is more effective and efficient than performing at a higher volume.



Moderate resistance training volume produces more favorable strength gains than high or low volumes during a short-term (10 week) training cycle.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of three resistance training volumes on maximal strength in the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and Squat exercises during a 10-week training period. 51 experienced (>3 years), trained junior lifters were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a low volume group, a moderate volume group, and a high volume group.

All subjects trained 4 to 5 days a week with a periodized routine using the same exercises and relative intensities, but a different total number of sets and reps at each relative load.

- Low volume: 1,923 repetitions
- Moderate volume: 2,481 repetitions
- High volume: 3,030 repetitions

The training was periodized from moderate intensity (60-80% of 1 rep maximum) and a high number of repetitions per set (2-6), to high intensity (90-100% of 1 rep maximum) and low number of repetitions per set (1-3).


Introduction

Coaches and researchers with an interest in strength training attempt to identify the proper handling of program variables, including the intensity, frequency, and volume of exercise to achieve high levels of muscular fitness.

[{1} American College of Sport Medicine. Position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med. Sci. Sport Exerc. 34:364-380, 2002.]

It is believed that, for increased improvement in strength, it is necessary to systematically increase the stress-related overload placed on the body during strength training. [{1}] There are several ways in which overload may be introduced during resistance training. One of these is increasing training volume, because it has been proposed that the effect of the work performed by an organism partially depends on the total number of repetitions.

[{21} Viru, A. About training loads. Modern Athlete Coach 31:32-36, 1993.]

Unfortunately, the optimal volume stimulus for the development of strength and the effectiveness of stimuli within the training process have not been satisfactorily solved.

[{18} Pampus, B., K. Lehnertz, and D. Martin. The effect of different load intensities on the development of maximal strength endurance. In: A Collection of European Sports Science Translations (part II). J Jarver, ed. Adelaide, Australia: South Australian Sports Institute, 1990. pp. 20-25.]

Several studies have investigated the effects of altering training on muscular strength gains during strength training

[{6} Fry, A.C., W.J. Kraemer, M.H. Stone, B.J. Warren, S.J. Fleck, J.T. Kearney, and S.E. Gordon. Endocrine responses to overreaching before and after 1 year of weightlifting. Can. J. Appl. Physiol. 19:400-410, 1994.]

[{10} Hakkinnen, K., P.V. Komi, M. Alen, and H. Kauhenen. EMG. muscle fiber and force production characteristics during one year training period of advanced weightlifters. Eur. J.Appl. Physiol. 56:419-427, 1987.]

[{13} Hass, C.J., L. Garzarella, K. De Hoyos, and M.L. Pollock. Single vs. multiple sets in long-term recreational weightlifters. Med. Sci. Sport Exerc. 32:235-242, 2000.]

[{17} Ostrowski, K.J., G.J. Wilson, R. Weatherby, P.W. Murphy, and A.D. Lyttle. The effect of weight training volume on hormonal output and muscular size and function. J. Strength Cond, Res. 11:148-154, 1997.]

whereas maximal relative strength (% of 1 rep max) remained constant. These studies have reported that an increased training volume does not produce any performance change in Olympic lifts (Snatch, or Clean & Jerk) during short or long-term training periods

[{5} Fry, A.C., and W.J. Kraemer. Resistance exercise overtraining and overreaching; Neuroendocrine responses. Sports Med. 23:106-129, 1997.]

{6}, {10}

It appears that once a given "optimal" volume is reached, a further increase in training volume does not yield more gains and can even lead to reduced performance. In some instances, it is also interesting to note that after a period with an extremely high volume of training, maximal strength performance may experience a "rebound effect," and a performance beyond that measured before the volume increase may be achieved. {5}, {6}.

All of these previous studies with experienced strength-trained individuals and lifters have used a time-series study, with each subject serving as his own control, because it is currently very difficult to recruit strength-trained individuals or lifters who are willing to perform such extreme programs. In the present study, we hypothesized that, by using a higher number of lifters and a multigroup experimental design study and controlling other variables such as training intensity and frequency, we could advance knowledge in the area of the effects that different heavy training volumes have on strength training performance. It is critical for athletes interested in maximal performance as well as individuals engaged in the practice of coaching to understand how training volume manipulation strategies can be used to enhance optimal training adaptability and avoid overtraining.

Although long term progression-oriented studies in previously resistance-trained individuals seems to support the contention that a higher training volume is needed for increased strength improvement, the effect of altering training volume when other training variables are controlled is not known. In addition, it is conceivable that if strength training volume is substantially increased following the principle that 'the more, the better', there may be a minimum volume for resistance training at which adaptations are optimized, at least in the short term, and beyond which the performance of additional resistance training provides no further benefit. {17}

In view of these considerations, the purpose of this study was to examine the effect of 3 resistance training volumes on performance on junior lifters. Considering the high magnitude of volumes studied, we hypothesized that when the subjects are highly trained and other training variables are controlled, a volume threshold should exist over which performance may be compromised. Understanding the effects of using different periodized resistance training volumes with lifters may provide insights for enhancing performances and preventing injury.


Methods

Experimental Approach to the Problem

To address the question of how 3 different magnitudes of training volume affect strength gains, we compared the effects of 3 different commonly used high-volume (3,030 repetitions), moderate volume (2,481 repetitions),and low-volume (1,923 repetitions) resistance training programs on maximum performance in the snatch, clean & jerk, and squat exercises in trained junior male lifters. To eliminate any possible effects of of intervening variables, several strength variables such as maximal relative strength (% of 1 RM), average intensity, frequency of training, type of exercise, distribution of the total repetitions between exercises, and distribution of repetitions among zones of relative intensity were controlled by equating their values among treatment groups. This was critical to the study design, because it has been proposed that differences in overall training intensity influence performance adaptations.

[{2} Baker, D.G., G. Wilson, and R. Carylon. Periodization: The effect on strength of manipulating volume and intensity. J. Strength Cond. Res. 8:235-242, 1994.]

[{4} Fleck, S.J. Periodized strength training: A critical review. J. Strength Cond. Res. 13:82-89, 1999.]



Subjects

51 junior male lifters volunteered as subjects to participate in this study with the informed consent of their parents and coaches. The subjects were recruited from a group of young competitive lifters with at least 3 years of training experience. All were ranked among the top 4% at the junior level in their national weight and age category. Three of the subjects also participated in the European and World junior championships.

To be continued
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:47 AM   #11
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Don't worry, it wasn't very clear 5kg

What is interesting about the article is if we cross-check that with Kriegers meta-analysis. Consider the weekly volume of the individual lifts, it averages out to be between 17-20 sets per week in the MVG. Assuming these sets were split across 2-3 sessions per week that averages out to approximately 6-8 sets a session which IS consistent with Kriegers findings in his meta-analysis (study of many studies) on per dose response to exercise.

He concluded there that 4 sets initially with progression to 8 sets per session done 2-3 times per week was optimal.

Considering popular routines such as H/L/M or Starr/Ripetoe it isn't unheard of for people to do 3 sets of a muscle group 3 times a week, and progress from that to doing 6 sets of a muscle group (by adding an exercise for 3 sets). I know for me personally 4-6 per muscle group of hard work is about the most I can handle if i'm working hard.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:56 AM   #12
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I've always experienced quality gains on about 35-60 total sets per week, generally over 3 to 4 sessions. This was prior to dipping into powerlifting.

My personal standard was always 9 sets per major group per week, moving up to 15 sets over time if needed. The way I've always explained it was:

Fullbody - 3-5 sets per workout max
Upper/Lower - 5-7 per workout max
Split - 9-15 per workout max

My split workouts were generally 12 to 15 sets per day. As I became an old fart that moved down to 12.

I never really had a reason for my standards other than they worked for me.
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
I've always experienced quality gains on about 35-60 total sets per week, generally over 3 to 4 sessions. This was prior to dipping into powerlifting.
Let's play around with these numbers a little then.

I've also gotten a lot of mileage out of 9 sets per week (3 sets x 3 sessions) or less. I think to carry this on, into a useful discussion let's put this into a comparison with Krieger's Meta and just out of interest I'm going to throw in Casey Butt's recommendations as well. Then we have these numbers:
  • Krieger: 2-3 sessions per week. 12-24 sets per week. 4-8 sets per session.
  • Steve: 3 sessions per week. 9-15 sets per week. 3-5 sets per session.
  • Butt: 3 sessions per week. 9-18 sets per week. 3-6 sets per session.

N.B These are all based per bodypart, lifts including variations. Also just to clarify the age ranges in the Krieger study varied considerably, so there were some oldies and some young-uns; these figures are based on an average.

What you have there is about 70% of volume Krieger stated he saw as most effective across the hundreds of athletes he looked at.

Butt has approximately up to 75% of the volume Krieger stated he saw as most effective across the hundreds of athletes he looked at.

There are numerous other caveats and clauses to this data, I've just attempted to compare the masses of data in few hundred words so bear with me. But I'd like to hear thoughts on this.
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