Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Volume Training Variations - C.S. Sloan

C.S. Sloan's Integral Strength: 




For the bodybuilder trying to pack on muscle, nothing is worse than being stuck in a rut. Several factors contribute to plateaus, but a lack of training variety is a primary one. Of course, a lot of bodybuilders know that. So they typically vary sets, reps and sequence of exercises, but often it just doesn't work. 

When you get to that point, the only thing to do is to change your training program completely. There are many ways to do it. What follows are several of the best programs for busting through a plateau. What makes them unique is that they all rely on Volume Training as opposed to Intensity Training, but it's also their approach to volume training. These programs aren't the same old thing you've been doing.

If you've been reading bodybuilding magazines for a long time, you've probably come across one of two of these workouts. I doubt you've seen all of them. 


German Volume Training 

This is probably the most popular - and well known - of all the methods presented here. The term "German Volume Training" comes from strength coach Charles Poliquin who coined it more than 10 years ago when he was writing for the now defunct Muscle Media 2000 magazine. Though it was usually called the "10-sets method," Poliquin preferred German Volume Training because of the program's roots in German speaking countries, where athletes would often use it in the off-season to add muscle. 

German Volume Training involves completing (or at least attempting to complete) 10 sets of 10 reps with the same weight on the same exercise. For most people that works out to using a weight that you can typically get 20 reps with before reaching muscular failure.   

When Poliquin first wrote about it, he recommended using the following split: 

Day 1: Chest and Back
Day 2: Legs and Abs
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Arms and Shoulders
Day 5: Off

Here's what a beginning routine would look like. Note that 10 x 10 means 10 sets of 10 repetitions. 

Day 1: Chest and Back

Incline Barbell Press, 10 x 10
90 seconds rest between sets

Chinups or Pulldowns, 10 x 10
90 seconds rest between sets

Day 2: Legs and Abs

High Bar, Close Stance Squats, 10 x 10 
120 seconds rest between sets

Lying Leg Curls, 10 x 10
90 seconds rest between sets

Weighted Incline Situps, 10 x 10
90 seconds rest between sets

Day 3: Off

Day 4: Arms and Shoulders

Barbell Curls, 10 x 10
90 seconds rest between sets

Skull Crushers, 10 x 10
90 seconds rest between sets 

Seated Lateral Raises, 10 x 10
90 seconds rest between sets

Day 5: Off

Follow this program for four consecutive weeks, and then take a down week. During that time you want to allow your body to recover by using the same workout but with only about half the poundage. You can then return to the workout for another four weeks of hard training before switching to another program. 


Advanced German Volume Training

For advanced bodybuilders variety is even more important, as are lower repetitions. Poliquin compensated by using what he called the "5 percent method." After the first workout you increase the load approximately 5 percent per workout for two workouts in a row while reducing the target reps by one. At the fourth workout you reduce the weight by 5 percent and return the rep range to what you did at the first workout. The progression begins again from there. 

Let's say that you can squat 300 for 10 reps. Here's what your squat programming would look like for the next six weeks. Note that 10 x 5 x 300 means 10 sets of 5 reps with 300 pounds. 

Workout 1: 10 x 5 x 300
Workout 2: 10 x 5 x 315
Workout 3: 10 x 3 x 330
Workout 4: 10 x 5 x 315
Workout 5: 10 x 4 x 330
Workout 6: 10 x 3 x 345

At this point you can either switch to a new program or change exercises and work through another six-workout cycle for each bodypart.


Staggered-Volume Training 

This little gem was designed by exercise physiologist Douglas Christ more than a decade ago. [This C.S. Sloan article was published in 2009]. He claimed - and probably still does - that it's the best program for maximizing growth hormone release. I wasn't sure about that claim when he made it, and I'm still not sold. I do know, however, that it's an excellent way to pack on some muscle when you're stuck in a rut, particularly when you've been pounding away at Heavy Duty, low-rep-style routines.

Here are three keys for making this program work: 

1) Perform full-body workouts three days a week.

2) Pick one exercise for each bodypart, sticking with more bang-for-your-buck movements that work a lot of muscle groups at once. 

3) Do a high volume of work. Depending on your fitness and strength, do 8 to 12 exercises for 12-16 reps each. Also - and here's the kicker - you perform all sets in "jump-set" fashion, alternating exercises for antagonistic bodyparts in four-set groupings. For instance, you do four sets of a chest exercise, four sets of a back exercise, then go back to the chest exercise for four sets. Continue in this manner until you've performed all the prescribed sets for the two exercises. 

Here are two examples of staggered-volume training programs. The first is for beginners - or those not conditioned for full-body workouts - and the second is an advanced program. 

Beginners Staggered-Volume Training

Perform the following program on three non-consecutive days a week: 

Leg Press, 4 x 12-16
Lying Leg Curl, 4 x 12-16
Leg Press, 4 x 12-16
Lying Leg Curl, 4 x 12-16

Incline Bench Press, 4 x 12-16
Wide Grip Chins, 4 x max reps
Incline Bench Press, 4 x 12-16
Wide Grip Chins, 4 x max reps

Barbell Curl, 4 x 12-16
Bench Dips, 4 x 16
Barbell Curl, 4 x 12-16
Bench Dips, 4 x 16

Lateral Raise, 4 x 12-16
Incline Situp, 4 x 20-30

Here are a few more pointers for getting the most out of this program:

1) Don't approach muscular failure except on the last rep of the last set of each exercise. 

2) Use approximately 50-60% of your one-rep maximum - that should keep the intensity at the right level. 

3) Take at least one minute of rest between sets; any less and you'll become too fatigued. Don't take more than 2.5 minutes between any sets; any more and you won't be working the muscles hard enough.


Advanced Staggered-Volume Training

This program is for trainees who already have a high level of strength and muscle development. Less-advanced trainees can use it after training on the beginner program for a couple of months.

Monday/Friday

Squat, 4 x 12
Stiff Legged Deadlift, 4 x 12
Squat, 4 x 12 
Stiff Legged Deadlift, 4 x 12
Squat, 4 x 12
Stiff Legged Deadlift, 4 x 12

Incline Barbell Press, 4 x 12
Wide Grip Chins or Lat Pulldown, 4 x 12
Incline Barbell Press, 4 x 12
Wide Grip Chins or Lat Pulldown, 4 x 12
Incline Barbell Press, 4 x 12
Wide Grip Chins or Lat Pulldown, 4 x 12

Barbell Curl, 4 x 12
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension, 4 x 12
Barbell Curl, 4 x 12
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension, 4 x 12
Barbell Curl, 4 x 12
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension, 4 x 12

Standing Overhead Press. 4 x 12
Hanging Leg Raise, 4 x 20 - 30


Wednesday

Leg Extension, 4 x 20
Lying Leg Curl, 4 x 20
Leg Extension, 4 x 20 
Lying Leg Curl, 4 x 20

Flat Bench Dumbbell Press, 4 x 16
Bentover Row, 4 x 16
Flat Bench Dumbbell Press, 4 x 16
Bentover Row, 4 x 16

Dumbbell Curl, 4 x 16
Skull Crushers, 4 x 16
Dumbbell Curl, 4 x 16
Skull Crushers, 4 x 16
Dumbbell Curl, 4 x 16
Skull Crushers, 4 x 16

Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press, 4 x 16
Incline Situp, 4 x 20-30 


Power-Volume Training 

Power-Volume training is a system that I came up with a few years ago and wrote about it in the November '04 IronMan

Here:
http://cssloanstrength.blogspot.com/2010/01/power-volume-training.html 

Although mainly geared toward building strength, it's also a great means of building muscle, especially when you've been performing workouts with higher reps. For instance, it would be a great program to use after a couple of months on staggered-volume training. 

The entire article is at that link above.


Final Thoughts

There you have it: three different but highly effective programs for saying goodbye to your training plateaus. If you really want to bust through those training ruts, try training for the next six months using nothing but these three programs. Use the German Volume training for two months, the Staggered-Volume training for two months, and then finish the whole thing off with the ultimate strength and mass kicker - two months of Power-Volume training. 

  


 

 
 
 





  
















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