Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Turn up the volume.

So I overheard a conversation recently between some people and I heard a woman say that her son was having trouble putting size on his legs. Now we know each other a little so I like a petulant child I blurted out “volume, he needs more volume”. She said to me “oh he gets plenty of protein and he eats tonnes”, I said “oh no I meant volume for his leg work”. The woman said “he is a tiler so he is using his legs all the time and he goes to the gym 6 days a week for like an hour”.
So in response to the above, I begun to explain what I meant. Firstly going to the gym everyday does not mean that you are covering all the bases and frequently we fall into patterns. So it would be important to be taking a log of each session to reflect on and analyse the sessions. I also explained that we use our legs all the time, we are built to use them. We walk on them after all and they are used to a lot of work. More importantly, I explained the idea of volume. Volume in resistance training is often measured in tonnage. As a basic guide sets x reps x weight lifted= volume in a session. To see that as an example 3 x 12 x 15kg for bicep curls right arm = 540kg lifted on one arm. Now that may be added up for the week based on the amount of sessions to give a total volume loaded on a body part of the body.

For legs, volume is where the secret lies. Some smaller muscles and less used body parts such as the arms may be able to get away with doing less volume, but in general volume is key for leg growth. It is assumed that a decent amount of weight is being used. Some programs like German volume training (GVT) have been used to produce massive tree trunk legs. GVT uses a 10x10 scheme with a starting weight that you could do for 20 reps about 60% of your 1RM. Now I won’t get into detail about the program except to say it is hard and puts on size. I know from personal experience Olympic weightlifting styles of training also help put on size. One of my programs had me squat 3 reps at different weights, all above 85% of 1RM for 12 sets. I was lifting about 4 tonnes of weight four times a week. My legs grew like no one’s business. I had to get looser fitting pants.
If you want to finally see those legs grow and get some new pants just to accommodate them, maybe it is time to add some more volume in your session. Now yes, that may mean one less bench day, but your legs and your body overall will thank you. Compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, leg presses and single leg work also help stimulate whole body muscle growth, to me that is a win-win. So do some more volume.

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