Training

Get Ripped with This High Volume Training Plan

Volume training, depending on the level, is used by athletes and bodybuilders alike, albeit using different structures in terms of the programmes they follow. A high volume programme allows the trainee to both increase muscle and lose fat, as well as to adapt to a high lactic acid threshold.

By accumulating a higher number of reps over the workout, you are increasing the volume higher than normal and the workload put on your muscles.  A more rep range is often seen between 8-12 repetitions whereas, in HVT, you are working upwards of 15-20 over 3-4 sets.

 

High Volume Training | Example Workout

The Science Behind High Volume Training

The build-up in lactic acid in the muscle cell is created by a limited level of oxygen going to the muscle cell due to the demand of high exertion in energy through a high volume workout. The working muscles generate energy anaerobically. This energy comes from glucose through a process called glycolysis, in which glucose is broken down or metabolised into a substance called pyruvate through a series of steps. When the body has plenty of oxygen, pyruvate is shuttled to an aerobic pathway to be further broken down for more energy.

But when oxygen is limited, the body temporarily converts pyruvate into a substance called lactate, which allows glucose breakdown–and thus energy production–to continue. The working muscle cells can continue this type of anaerobic energy production at high rates for one to three minutes, during which time lactate can accumulate to high levels.

 

4-Week High Volume Training Plan

This phase will consist of 3 consecutive training sessions followed by 1 rest day. The 3 sessions will include one chest and back session, one legs session and one shoulders and arms session. 

Your rest day should include recreational activities such as long walks, massage, yoga, swimming, heat treatments or pilates.

Take notice of the TEMPO ranges.  This is split into 4 numbers for example – 3010. This represents your time under tension.

  • 3 = Lowering Phase for 3 seconds
  • 0 = No pause
  • 1 = Returning to start position
  • 0 = No pause

This means one rep will take 4 seconds overall however, this can differ as shown in the table.

Training Frequency

Day 1: Chest and Back
Day 2: Legs
Day 3: Shoulders and Arms
Day 4: Rest
Repeat

 

 

Chest and Back

Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Incline Dumbbell 1 1/4 Press 4 12 3010 10s
A2 Wide Lat Pull Down 4 12 3010 60s
B1 Barbell Bench Press 4 15 2020 10s
B2 Low Seated Row 4 15 2020 60s
C1 Incline Cable Flies 4 20 2010 10s
C2 T Bar Row w/pause squeezing scapulae at Rep 10 for 10s 4 20 2010 60s
D Machine Chest Press 1 Drop Set 3010 x

Legs

Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Barbell Heels Elevated Hack Squat 4 12 3010 10s
A2 Lying Leg Curl 4 12 3010 60s
B1 Barbell Hip Bridge 4 15 2020 10s
B2 Long Range Barbell Walking Lunge 4 15 2020 60s
C1 Dumbbell Heels Elevated Squat 4 20 2010 10s
C2 Leg Press 4 20 2010 60s
D Leg Extension 1 Drop Set 3010 x

Shoulders and Arms

Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Seated Barbell Shoulder Press 4 12 3010 10s
A2 Close Grip Barbell Press 4 12 3010 60s
B1 EZ Bar Preacher Curl 4 15 2020 10s
B2 Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise 4 15 2020 60s
C1 Reverse Shoulder Press 4 20 2010 10s
C2 Duel Rope Extension 4 20 2010 60s
D Cable Preacher Curl 1 Drop Set 3010 x

 

When you’re training for sporting purposes, high volume workouts that create high lactic acid build-up are used in the offseason. This is due to the muscle soreness it creates. While you’re not performing your sport competitively, this is a very effective way in which to train. Throughout the season, you should look to reduce risk of injury via intelligent strength and injury prevention sessions.

However, if your goal is to lose body fat and gain muscle mass, a high volume training plan could be utilised effectively every 4-6 weeks depending on how well you adapt to your plan. Due to risks such as repetitive strain injury and joint pain (similarly to when you follow the same plan for a prolonged period of time) it becomes ineffective. You shouldn’t continually do a high volume programme for 52 weeks of the year.

To make your plan effective, you could complete a 4-week very high volume training plan, followed by a de-load week, where you can increase the weight, decrease the reps and sets and increase the rest in your workout, and decrease the frequency of your training throughout that particular week. Adding in recreational activities such as long walks, massage, yoga and pilates are also advised in this week due to their ability to decrease the cortisol exposure on the body. Following this week, a phase of strength-based training can be used for around 4 weeks for you to then work your way back into a high volume plan.

 

Nutrition for High Volume Training

Your diet should also complement a high volume training plan, due to glucose being depleted throughout the workout. Using post-workout carbohydrates are advised due to their ability to help recovery and replenishment.

I recommend using maltodextrin or dextrose in your whey protein shake immediately post-workout and, around an hour later, using a source of carbohydrates in a meal (for example chicken breast with sweet potato and mixed veggies).

FAQ

What is high volume training?

High volume training is a strategy that uses high reps to increase muscle endurance and strength.

Does high volume training build mass?

High volume training does build mass when your body is fuelled properly to help your muscles recover and build.

Is high volume training good?

High volume training is good for increasing stamina and challenging your muscles without a heavy load. It’s best to alternate forms of training based on your goals.

Does high volume training build strength?

High volume training builds strength by using lower weights for more reps.

How many reps is considered high volume?

Often high volume is defined as more than 10 reps. Based on the exercise and weight you might do 12 or 15 reps.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



Chris Appleton

Chris Appleton

Writer and expert

Chris is an editor and a level 3 qualified Personal Trainer, with a BA honours degree in Sports Coaching and Development, and a level 3 qualification in Sports Nutrition. He has experience providing fitness classes and programs for beginners and advanced levels of clients and sports athletes. Chris is also a qualified football coach, delivering high-level goalkeeping and fitness training at a semi-professional level, with nutritional advice to help maintain optimal performance. His experience in the sports and fitness industry spans 15 years and is continuously looking to improve. In his spare time, Chris likes to dedicate it to his family while training in the gym.


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