Volume Training: By Mark Wallace
What is volume training? Volume training consists of lifting light to moderately heavy weight for large quantities of repetitions in order to acquire long lasting lean muscle mass. Volume training is great for everyone whether you’re a bodybuilder or just the next person in the gym. Many lifters are indimitaded by the term, “volume,” because they assume it may interfere with their so called, “gainz.” Although lifting light weight for many reps is naturally going to lean out one’s body fat, over time it will build strong muscle that won’t deteriorate with every rest day. Doing 3 sets to sometimes 10 with repetitions ranging from 6-100 is my definition of volume training. Sets of 100 are not always included in every work out but rather randomly incorporated to flood as much blood and nutrients to one area of the body as possible in order to shock and grow that muscle group. This is what’s known as a pump.
A pump is felt when a particular muscle group is being worked to the extreme that it grows beyond a resting state therefore giving the illusion of an individual being larger in size than they may actually be. A pump can only be attained if blood and nutrients are being transferred to the muscles by continuous strain. This meaning more repetitions per set with less rest time. Many have heard to take a one minute break between sets but rarely do you see them actually keeping track of time. This can be imperative when it comes to getting a pump. Even more when gaining lean mass. Things that may draw people away from such a short rest is either too heavy of weight so doing another set too quickly cannot be achieved or maybe their ego comes into play and they don’t want to appear weak to other lifters. Whatever the case may be, a proper pump is not always activated just by lifting a weight. If you don’t feel the muscle group working, it’s not. For instance, let’s say you’re curling for sets of 10. Each set may be hard to complete the 10 but if you don’t feel every rep in your biceps specifically then it’s time to subtract the weight or work on your form. The same method applies to bench pressing or squats. When benching, if you don’t feel it in your chest but rather your shoulders or triceps then you’re not working your chest to its full potential. If your glutes, quads and hamstrings aren’t feeling the burn in squats then they’re not be utilized correctly.
Everyone should still include heavy lifting days a few times a month. Perhaps pick one muscle group per week to focus on working heavy and the rest of the week train for volume. Volume training isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. But if you think the physique you dream to achieve requires many hours in the gym, many reps, few rests, and a whole lot of burn then try doing just that. Take a week to work on each specific muscle group with very light weight. Make sure you’re getting a workout but don’t be afraid to rep out the weight 20-30 times. Really try and feel the burn in the muscles you’re working. Teach your body to use those muscles when doing that exercise. Know exactly where you’re supposed to feel it and make sure you do.
Like I said, volume training isn’t for everyone. Some people train to lift the heaviest weights. Some just to get as big as possible. If these describe your desires, then volume may not cut it for you. I personally believe that incorporating any volume training no matter what workout regimen you follow is beneficial its own way. If you’re new to exercising, or just getting back into the groove after a break, try volume training to start out. This will teach your body which muscles to use and how to use them properly without over exertion and possibly creating yourself more susceptible to injury.
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