Tuesday, April 7, 2009

High Volume Training

For advanced lifters and elite athletes it may be time to change up the name of the game. I like to consider myself to be in this group, as I have been weight training for 10 years, and a competitive athlete for more than 15. Even though my competition days are past, I still enjoy training like the next season is just around the corner. That’s why I've been experimenting with a new way to train, and I have loved the gains! I only recommend the following if you have been weight training for 5+ years. You'll need a good base of strength under yourself before increasing the volume becomes necessary.

A while back I just became tired of traditional training schemes. During my football training days it seemed everything was 3x3; 4x4; 5x5; 5,4,3,2,1; 10,8,6 or some combination in-between. None the less I was never doing more than 30 reps, and usually much less of a core exercise (Bench Press, Squats, and Cleans) So I decided to try something, I wanted to know what would happen if I kept the weight high 75 - 90% of my max and just did more sets of less reps. Here's what happened:


Max outs 11/2008
Power Clean: 300
Bench Press: 285
Dead Lift: 475


Max outs 1/2009
Power Clean: 315
Bench Press: 300
Dead Lift: 510


Pretty good progress for 6 weeks of work, I think anyway. Something about this style of training just seemed to give me good results. During this period I started with 10 sets of 4 reps working through a range of percentages, and clustering them with auxiliary exercises every two sets.

About half way through I went to a 2x5; 2x4; 2x3; 2x2; 2x1 scheme and really worked with high %'s of my max, throughout, I performed the auxiliary lifts on a 8 rep, 10 rep, 12 rep rotation during the week. There seems to be something about going over that 30 rep mark that really forces adaptations in the muscle tissue. I felt like I was once again able to fatigue my muscles to the point where they could re-grow stronger.

This time around I'm going to push it even more. I'm going to start with 8 sets of 5 back squats and bench press for 3 weeks and then switch to dead lifts and heavy pull ups or chins for 3 weeks. I'm going to keep the auxiliary lifts on the same rotation on the max effort days. One change I'm adopting is adding a 4th workout day to the week. I'm going to be doing two dynamic days trying to imitate Joe Defranco's program. The light weights will give me a chance to build explosive power and recover from my max effort days. I'm trying to keep all workouts to 45 min as well, to keep up with my conditioning.

Here is a sample:
Warm Up
1 mile walk(to the gym from my apartment)
1x8-12 on each:
Glute Bridge Roll V-Sit Hydrant Circles
Supine Leg Kicks Groiners MTN Climbers
Supine Knee Twists Bird Dogs Box Jumps (3x5 only)

Back Squat (based on max of 450)- General warm up: 135x5; 225x5

Set 1: 290 x5
Rest 90s.
Set 2: 310 x5
Wood Choppers by 2x10 each side - 45lb plate (Fast as possible)
Rest 90s
Set 3: 315 x5
Rest 90s
Set 4: 315 x 5
Bent over DB Row 2x10 – 60’s (Fast as possible)
Set 5: 330 x 5
Rest 90s
Set 6: 340 x 5
Snatch Grip Dead Lift 2x10 – 185lbs (Fast as possible)
Set 7: 350 x 5
Rest 120s
Set 8: 360 x 5

Finishers: Double DB Skull Crushers 3x10
Neutral Pull Ups 5x6 (Fast)


I now judge my max effort workouts on how tore up I'm feeling when I'm done. Let me put it this way, afterward I didn’t feel like walking home. The day after, (today) I lifted again only sticking with light weights and working upper body movements. I got through the workout fine, but I can still feel my legs from yesterday. I love DOMS :)


*Please remember that this routine is only recommended for advanced lifters. Strength training should be a regular part of any exercise prescription, but should fit within the skill level of each individual.

So that is just a peek at what I’m up to now as far as training goes. I’ll check back in again after six weeks of this and let you know how the progress is going. Wednesday is a day off, just sticking to the daily walking I’ve been doing.

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