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Get Results With Volume & Intensity Training

Use this program for the next 7 weeks to bust out of your flat-lining results.

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Get Results With Volume & Intensity Training
Edgar Artiga / M+F Magazine
Get Results With Volume & Intensity Training
Edgar Artiga / M+F Magazine

How many gym rats do you know who never seem to progress? Physique improvements flatline, and strength and size gains stall. It’s like once they reach a certain level, that’s where they stay—forever. Maybe you’re one of them? Many lifters forget that they need to be progressing intelligently—there’s more to it than upping the weight and going to failure. The solution: Alternate between heavy lifting one week and high-rep sets the next. Follow our plan for five to 10 weeks and you’ll be shopping for a larger shirt in no time.

How it Works 

Lifting lighter loads with more volume (sets x reps x load) provides a hard workout for your muscles, while your central nervous system (CNS) recovers after weeks of intense training (low-rep sets with heavy weights). You’re getting the best of both worlds in this program—skin- tearing pumps one week and heavy weight the next. On volume weeks the weights will feel easy since you’re coming off a week of heavy training. On intensity weeks, you’ll feel strong and focused because you’ll have to work up to only one or two hard sets. This undulation keeps your body guessing, prevents overtraining, and pro- vides a mental break, which makes training less monotonous.

Directions

Frequency: Perform each workout (Days 1, 2, and 3) once per week.

Time Needed: 45 minutes.

How to Do it: Perform the exercise pairs (marked “A” and “B”) as alternating sets. Complete one set of “A”, rest, then one set of “B”, rest again, and repeat until all sets are complete. Do the remaining exercises as straight sets.

Volume vs. Instensity 

How Much to Lift Each Week for Bench and Deads

Week 1: 4 sets, 8 reps, 85% of your 8-rep max

Week 2: 5 sets, 50% of your 1RM for 12 reps, 60% for 8 reps, 75% for 5 reps, 85% for 5 reps, 90% for 3 reps

Week 3: 4 sets, 8 reps 90% of your 8-rep max

Week 4:  6 sets, 50% of your 1RM for 12 reps, 60% for 8 reps, 75% for 5 reps, 85% for 5 reps, 90% for 3 reps, 95% for 1 rep

Week 5:  4 sets, 8 reps, 95% of your 8-rep max

Week 6: Rest

Week 7: Repeat the cycle, adding 5–10 pounds to each set.

The bench press and deadlift are the two lifts you’re working to get stronger on during this program. For you to follow the set- and-rep scheme, you need to calculate the loads you’ll use for both lifts. First, find or estimate your one-rep max (1RM)—the most weight you can lift for one rep. From here, you can figure out how much weight you can use for any number of reps. For example, during the volume weeks (Weeks 1 and 3), you’ll do sets of eight reps. You need to find a) the load that gives you eight reps based on your one-rep max and b) the load that’s the correct percent- age of that eight-rep max. (You’ll use a different percentage each week.) See “Find Your Number” to figure out approximately how many reps a certain percentage yields. The intensity weeks are simpler since you’ll use percentages of your one-rep max.

Find Your Number

Let’s say a lifter’s one-rep max (1RM) on the bench press is 235 pounds. Based on the chart, his eight-rep max would be 190 pounds (80% of 235). In Week 1 (volume week) he’d use 85% of 190 pounds (160 pounds) for all sets. In Week 2 (intensity week) he’d use percentages of his 1RM (235 pounds).

find-your-number-2

Check Out How to do the Exercises in This Workout >>

Routine

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Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 17

Barbell Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
See 'Volume vs. Intensity' for sets and reps
Exercise 2 of 17

Bodyweight Split Squat

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 3 of 17

Dumbbell Push Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 4 of 17

Cable Woodchop

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 5 of 17

Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
60 sec

Day 2

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 6 of 17

Barbell Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
See 'Volume vs. Intensity' for sets and reps
Exercise 7 of 17

Cable Row Standing

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Straight Bar Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
60 sec
Perform sitting if possible
Equipment
Bench
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 10 of 17

Swiss Ball Plank

Equipment
Swiss Ball
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
60 sec
For increased difficulty, brace your core and extend your arms, rolling the ball out as far as you can go, and then back.

Day 3

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 11 of 17

Front Squat

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 12 of 17

Rear-Delt Flye

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 14 of 17

On-arm Swiss ball press

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
60 sec
Lie back on a Swiss ball and brace your core for stability. Explosively press the weight straight up.
Exercise 15 of 17

Close-Grip Pulldown

Equipment
Lat Pulldown Bar
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
60 sec
Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 16 of 17

swiss ball knee drive

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
60 sec
Set up as you did for the Swiss ball punch, but keep your arms steady and drive one knee at a time up to the ball and back.
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