High Volume Training. What is high volume training?
High volume training is a style of bodybuilding training that involves working out for extended periods of time, performing a high number of sets, or both. Generally, a high volume workout is associated with a bodybuilding split routine, but full body workouts can be high volume as well.
The high volume style of training is generally associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Oddly enough, Arnold actually built a good portion of his muscle mass using a full body, Reg Park style routine.
Over time, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s routine evolved into a system where muscle groups were worked 3 times per week. Generally, Arnold Schwarzenegger performed over 90 sets per major muscle group per week.
In the modern era, high volume training rarely resembles an Arnold style routine. Though bodybuilding magazines and professional bodybuilders are still known as high volume advocates, their routines rarely work individual body parts more then once a week.
Therefore, in a modern context, high volume training can be generalized by looking at the following 2 parameters…
- Time. A high volume system of training generally involves a training time of 75-150 minutes per workout.
- Sets. A high volume system of training generally involves performing 18-30 sets per body part.
High volume training has been shown as a less then desirable training method for natural bodybuilders, but a very effective system for steroid enhanced lifters. Workouts have a tendency to turn catabolic (muscle destroying) for natural lifters after 60 minutes.
It should also be said that beginning trainees can often pack on muscle mass using any routine. It is not uncommon to see beginners gain muscle mass on high volume routines despite its limitations.
Simply put, the initial shock that comes from undertaking a weight training routine, and the resulting anabolic boost, outweighs the limitations of the training system. But after months of training, a high volume routine generally stops yielding results for most lifters.
By limiting the rest period between sets, the length of high volume workouts can be shortened, making it a more viable training option.