Volume Training, Old Method New Age

Blow it up with this modern-day twist on a timeless classic



Probably the most common question asked is, “How do we split workouts to get maximal results?” The perfect answer would be to create an eighth day of the week. No matter how you cut it, if you want to hit your body parts more than once a week, complete recovery may not be possible. Common volume splits work a single muscle each day and only once a week. Other splits combine all the muscles that contribute to a specifc lift such as pecs, shoulders, and triceps, which are all pushing muscles. Intuitively, that is a great way to train, one I most often recommend, but also because of the number of exercises you’d have to perform that have the same pattern of movement, your smaller muscles inevitably don’t get the true push you’re looking for. Every once in a while it’s good to mix it up, target some smaller muscles separately from their bigger multijoint movement exercises, and hit them twice a week with solid volume. This is the nature of this program. I won’t lie though: After 4–6 weeks (maybe eight for those of you who are fortunate), your body will be begging for a break and a chance to reset. The following split will work great when it’s cycled properly.

As volume is the name of the game, each training day will mark 12–16 sets per body part. Exercises are grouped together so that the order is designed to target a specifc muscle at its various angles and finish with overlapping exercises for the next muscle group in the lift. For example, your back will start with heavy lat work and move up to the traps for the final exercises. The trap-training segment will finish with some wide-grip movements that accentuate posterior deltoid activation and thus the entire back, traps, and posterior delts get their full complement of exercises. So for this program, order is very important. For maximal growth, reps of 10–12 will be the design with a full 90 seconds rest between sets but not more than 120 seconds (two minutes). Rest is critical so that all the muscle fibers get an equal distribution of wear and tear as your load can stay heavier longer. Additionally, the first workout of the week per each body part will be either a barbell or machine where the arms or legs are fixed to work together. The second workout of the week will feature dumbbells and single-limb movement patterns where both range of motion and control of weights can be accentuated. Again, since we’re trying to hit every fiber of every muscle, we need a varied approach to our training. And finally, if time is a concern as these could be long workouts, you can certainly alternate exercises between lower and upper body (do your calves in between your pecs or shoulders exercises) to get things done a little quicker.

Whether you choose to start your week with your back or not is your call, but the overall order for this program is important to maximize recovery. If your gym’s busy, you’ll be glad that you’re not training chest on International Chest-training Monday if you follow the plan as we’ve laid it out.

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