Volume training has been the holy grail of bodybuilding from day one.
In the 70s Arnold trained 6 days a week, training body parts 3 times a week with calves and forearms everyday! Other training systems have been introduced over the years such as high intensity training originally created by Mike Mentzer, which was implemented by 6 times Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, who shook the whole bodybuilding world and changed it forever.
He introduced the fact that you only need to train your muscles only once a week and to this day it is the most common split used amongst bodybuilders. As the years have gone by, more and more training systems have shone through, like FST-7 created by Hany Rambod, trainer of current Mr. Olympia Phill Heath. Using the first exercise you do at the end doing 7 sets of 7 reps doesn’t make all that much sense, other than the fact he is just adding additional volume.
Yg3 also, know as yoga 3 was created by Neil Hill, the trainer for Flex Lewis. His system targets different muscle fibers at different times so he trains the slow twitch muscle fibers then the fast twitch ones. This doesn’t yet make a lot sense, seeing that you can’t isolate or recruit any of them separately. Nothing truly proves these systems work, but are they any good? Well as they would say – the proof is in the pudding.
Flex Lewis, Phil Heath and other great champions have trained using these training systems. But why do these systems work for them? Basically, they are genetically blessed, no matter what you do with them, they will grow and develop anyway. They are simply genetically suited for bodybuilding! So even if I trained them with a totally different system they will grow in the same manner!
Have you not noticed these trainers don’t train typical bodybuilders? Because they wouldn’t be able to get the same results, and it would tarnish their reputation. That’s not to say they are poor trainers! I am personally a hard gainer and I have tried volume training and it absolutely does not work! I also tried those other training systems mentioned and they didn’t work for me, as much as I would have liked. Even high intensity training didn’t work.
When I began training I was 8 ½ stone, now 3 years later, I am 16 stone and celebrating my 20th birthday in 13 days. As I mentioned before, I was an extreme hard gainer, but I still managed to almost double my weight and take my arms from 12 ½ inches to 18 ½ inches – 100% natural. I used the most simple training system which I personally believe is the most effective for the typical hard gainer.
It was created by a man called Dante, an very underrated trainer in the bodybuilding world. His theory was that if you increase the load on an exercise, on a regular basis – usually weekly, the muscle will have to naturally adapt by growing to cope with the load. I told you it was simple! You may think this training sounds familiar and it is in a sense but Dante was a lot different, he didn’t focus on training or lots of exercises for each muscle group. He only focused on one exercise per muscle group. The idea was to pick your favorite exercise per muscle group and then select the intensity – for instance 85% 1RM (6reps), constantly increasing the load on this exercise until you couldn’t increase it no more. Then you change the exercise for that muscle group. When you complete all the exercises there is for for that muscle group, start from the first one again. When you get back to the first exercise you should be even stronger and have even more room to increase strength and load on that exercise. If you can squat 600lb, trust me, you will never complain about having small legs. On top of all this, you will never over train, as you’re only performing one exercise per muscle part. On the weaker body parts, you could add in additional widow makers as your final set on an exercise and believe me, they are called widow makers for a reason! You drop the load you are using, so you can struggle out approximately 20 reps. Believe me if you perform that after squatting 600lb, you will cry, but your quads will look like horse legs!
Your training regime should look something like this – taken from my personal regime.
Monday- bench press, standing calf raises
Tuesday- Deadlifts-widow makers
Wednesday- barbell press, barbell curls
Thursday- dumbbell shrugs, skull crushers
Friday- squats-widow makers
I noticed that I got to my sticking point in strength gains on smaller exercises (isolation) faster, than the larger exercises (compound) as it doesn’t matter what hits a sticking point first and you don’t have to change all your exercises at the same time. Just change the ones you stop making strength gains in. You might be thinking its abit far off with only one exercise but trust me it works, as I gained almost 35-40lb a year 100% naturally. God only knows what I could have achieved with enhancements. But before that is even considered, see how far you can take your natural potential. There is no plateau with this system and there are not a lot to change when you hit a sticking point. The muscles are consistently forced to grow.
The one thing all the pros have in common, like the Ronnie Colemans and the Dorian Yates is that they all continuously made strength gains. Although they always did the same things, their muscles were always forced to grow because their consistent increase of load. If you think you’re going to get big doing the same training, the entire time – then think again. One of the most genetically gifted bodybuilders still to this day, tries to increase the load on a weekly basis to keep growing. The man squats 800lb down to the floor and back up – doesn’t that explain his huge quads?
Ronnie Coleman is reasonably well known for his quotes and I have a personal favourite.
“Everyone wants to be a bodybuilder, no one wants to lift heavy ass weights”
Until next time