Saturday, September 13, 2008

Time/Volume Training For Mass

A great article posted over at Charles Staley's site, written by Nick Nilsson.

Time/Volume Training For Mass

By Nick Nilsson

This is a great training concept that I've been using recently that I came up with as a way to get mass-building effects out of bodyweight exercises that I could do a lot of reps with.

It's a type of training you could easily build a more comprehensive program on simply by extending the concept.

Basically, it's kind of a cross between my Compound Exercise Overload training (where you take a weight you can do 6 reps with and do 3 rep sets until you can't get 3 reps anymore, then you drop the weight and keep going) and Escalating Density Training (by Charles Staley - you might recognize the name :)'s basically where you take a 15 minute timeframe and do as many reps as you can within that timeframe).

Time/Volume Training is relatively simple. I'll use back training for my example (chin-ups, specifically).

For working back, I use a 15 minute block of time (this will vary according to bodypart - less time for smaller parts - e.g. 10 minutes for biceps).

First, start by doing a set of 3 reps. Then stop and rest 10 seconds. Now do another set of 3 reps. Stop and rest 10 seconds.

Keep going using 3 rep sets and 10 seconds rest until you can't get 3 reps anymore. When you hit this point, now starting taking 20 SECONDS rest in between 3 rep sets.

Keep going using 3 rep sets and 20 seconds rest until you again can't get 3 reps anymore. then take 30 SECONDS rest in between your 3 rep sets. If you have to increase again, go to 40 seconds, and so on.

Keep going in this fashion until your 15 minutes are up.

It's just that simple! Basically, the idea here is not to go to failure on any of your reps but to manage your fatigue so that you can maximize your training volume (i.e. more reps and sets).

And, because I originally worked up this technique to go with bodyweight training (where you can't change resistance), instead of decreasing the weight (like in Compound Exercise Overload), you will instead just increase the rest periods, which gives your body a bit more time to recover in between sets, allowing you to keep doing sets with the exact same resistance.

But just because it's originally designed for bodyweight training doesn't mean you can't use it with free weights and machines as well - it'll work like a charm for that, too!

You'll find when using this technique with different exercises (especially bodyweight exercises, where some tend to be a bit easier than others), you'll be able to go longer before having to increase rest. For example, when doing chins, you'll probably have to increase rest sooner than you will with push-ups.

But rest assured, even if you can 50 push-ups, you'll STILL get to a point where you're not able to do 3 reps sets on 10 seconds rest and you'll have to bump up the rest periods.

It's a great way to work bodyweight exercises without resorting to high-rep endurance training. With the 3 rep sets, you're still hitting the power-oriented muscle fibers, which is what allows you to make this type of training work for mass building.

You can take a few minutes in between bodyparts for a bit of recovery as well.

Here are the time intervals I've been using for this type of training:
Go read the whole article to see how this program works.

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