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Old 10-25-2011, 09:38 AM   #1
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Default Volume and bodybuilding

Fazc made some interesting points about volume and strength but I am curious how/if volume is needed for muscle building, and if so how it should be approached.
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:59 AM   #2
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I hate to say it, but I really do think that people can be very different in how they react to different approaches. We can even see it when we look at the routines used by some of the top bodybuilders; some use volume combined with reps of 10+ in every set, and some use lower reps. They've all figured out over time what works best for them.

As for volume, I think it depends how long someone has been training. The volume I use would destroy a beginner, but there are guys who use volume that would destroy me. I do think that volume is a great way to continue to push yourself farther once you can't keep adding weight to the bar. I believe that this is on place where bodybuilders and powerlifters MAY split off (of course, this isn't always the case). When a powerlifter hits a plateu they have to work through as well as finding new techniques to keep moving more weights. A bodybuilder doesn't care about the weights, so he can continue to stimulate new growth through adding volume.
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:16 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Soldier View Post
I hate to say it, but I really do think that people can be very different in how they react to different approaches. We can even see it when we look at the routines used by some of the top bodybuilders; some use volume combined with reps of 10+ in every set, and some use lower reps. They've all figured out over time what works best for them.

As for volume, I think it depends how long someone has been training. The volume I use would destroy a beginner, but there are guys who use volume that would destroy me. I do think that volume is a great way to continue to push yourself farther once you can't keep adding weight to the bar. I believe that this is on place where bodybuilders and powerlifters MAY split off (of course, this isn't always the case). When a powerlifter hits a plateu they have to work through as well as finding new techniques to keep moving more weights. A bodybuilder doesn't care about the weights, so he can continue to stimulate new growth through adding volume.
Very well said.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:18 AM   #4
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A bodybuilder doesn't care about the weights, so he can continue to stimulate new growth through adding volume.
Would you consider this the case for natural bodybuilders who see diminishing returns over time?
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:42 AM   #5
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Would you consider this the case for natural bodybuilders who see diminishing returns over time?
Completely. The rule of thumb is that your body will adapt to anything you do that doesn't go beyond your ability to recover. Naturals will still need to continue to expose their muscles to new stimuli over time once their body has adapted to whatever training they are presently doing. Although volume is only one of a number of ways to do this, it is highly effective for bodybuilders because it doesn't effect the CNS like continuing to increase weight, and doesn't effect between set recovery like trying to do the same amount of work in less time.

All forms of progression have their place however, even in bodybuidling. Doing the same amount of work in less time is great for fat loss, and increasing weight is great for building maximal strength, both of which can be important parts of a bodybuilder's training.

The main difference between naturals and those who use anabolics is the focus of the training. The focus of a natural should be on progressing in the big compound lifts while using isolation movements to both compliment the big lifts and build weak areas. This is different from those who use anabolics because they don't need to stimulate the release of natural muscle builders like testosterone and HGH. This is, of course, a generalization and even bodybuilders on anabolics still use many compound movements.

The application of volume, however, has more to do with individual differences as opposed to use of steriods.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:22 PM   #6
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A bodybuilder doesn't care about the weights, so he can continue to stimulate new growth through adding volume.
This isn't necessarily right. You cannot get bigger without getting stronger, and you cannot get stronger without getting bigger. At some point, your gains will cease to exist if you do not have both parts to the equation.

Matthew Perryman does an excellent job explaining muscle growth in his free e-book Maximum Muscle. There's a lot of solid information in that book. I'd recommend reading it if you're truly interested. You can download it from his website.
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:10 PM   #7
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This isn't necessarily right. You cannot get bigger without getting stronger, and you cannot get stronger without getting bigger. At some point, your gains will cease to exist if you do not have both parts to the equation.

Matthew Perryman does an excellent job explaining muscle growth in his free e-book Maximum Muscle. There's a lot of solid information in that book. I'd recommend reading it if you're truly interested. You can download it from his website.
Semantics. Bodybuilders only care about lifting more weight in as much as it makes them look better. If 2 bodybuilders show up and one is stronger but the other one looks better, the one who looks better wins.
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:26 PM   #8
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Your original statement implied that you didn't need strength to promote growth, that volume can be added to substitute strength to promote growth. Or that's how I read it anyway.
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:32 PM   #9
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Semantics. Bodybuilders only care about lifting more weight in as much as it makes them look better. If 2 bodybuilders show up and one is stronger but the other one looks better, the one who looks better wins.
True. Conditioning and gains are 2 parts of the same coin.

I will add this to the discussion...I have never met a weak pro natural bodybuilder, and I work with a lot. To a man they are much stronger than they think.

For example...in working with Mr. North Carolina Joe Ohrablo, I encouraged him to get involved with a powerlifting meet. He said he wasn't that strong. His raw lifts are a 585 pound deadlift, 500 (or more) squat and around a 400ish bench....at a weight of 210-215 (I think).
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:36 PM   #10
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I will add this to the discussion...I have never met a weak pro natural bodybuilder, and I work with a lot. To a man they are much stronger than they think.
That's my point right there. You don't need to work in low rep ranges, but you have to build strength to continue building muscle.
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