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What Is Training Volume?

Definitions of Training Volume

Previously I have written about training intensity and frequency and, in that vein, I want to talk about training volume.  I’ll be focusing on the weight room and, as much as anything, this is hopefully a background article for something longer I might actually eventually write.   As with my article on intensity, what I will primarily be doing is looking at some of the different definitions of volume that are out there along with pros and cons of their use.

The FITT Equation

In the realm of exercise, one of the oldest used descriptions of training is usually called The FITT equation (I believe it’s been expanded in recent years).  The letters stand, respectively for Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.  Let me define each but reverse the last two.

Note: Yes, I know that T T has no implied order except that it was always described as Frequency Intensity Time Type so I am technically reversing them.… Keep Reading

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Does Training Frequency Matter for Muscle Growth?

Lyle McDonald Revised Frequency Recommendations

While I’m trying to muster the energy to do an update to my training volume series (which is not and will never be called a Bible because…well….pretentious much?), I figured I’d address a related topic: training frequency.  Now I’ve written about training frequency before, mainly looking at different “popular” approaches for hypertrophy training.   Here I want to address a current idea in the fitness industry and ask the question “Does training frequency matter?”  For the most part, I’ll focus on growth although I might switch and talk about strength a little bit too.

Defining Training Frequency

As always, let’s define some terms to ensure that we’re all on the same page.  Training frequency, at first glance, seems fairly simple to define.  It’s how often you train (and here I’ll be talking specifically about weekly training frequency).   If you train five times per week, your training frequency is, well, 5 times per week.… Keep Reading

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You Must Squat – Dumb Shit Fitness Professionals Say #2

You Must Squat is Dumb as Shit

Quite some time back I did an article called Dumb Shit Fitness Professionals Say (DSFPS) where I looked at a bit of a grab bag of dumb shit fitness professionals say.  Well it’s time for #2 in the series but I want to keep it more targeted to one topic: squats.   Specifically I want to start with the idea that you must squat along with other dumb shit fitness professionals say bout the topic.  Welcome to DSFPS #2: Squat Edition

I Am Not Anti-Squat

So let’s start with the qualification, to hopefully prevent people from mis-reading/mis-hearing what I’m saying.  I am not against squats.  I have squatted for the majority of the roughly 30+ years I have been lifting weights.   The times I didn’t squat was either when I wasn’t lifting at all (when I was competing as an endurance weenie) or when I was ice speed skating since it didn’t fit into our training.… Keep Reading

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The Hormonal Response to Squats and Muscle Growth

For literally decades, the idea that the hormonal response to squats is important for overall growth has been around.  It came up again recently in my Facebook group and I wanted to address (and ultimately dismiss it) yet again.  First,  Consider the following two statements:

  1. You have to squat (or more generally train lower body) to get big.
  2.  What’s up with all those guys in the gym with big upper bodies and no legs?

I’ve seen the same person make both statements without realizing that they inherently contradict one another.  If you need to train legs to get big overall, you can’t have guys with big upper bodies who don’t train legs.  It’s not difficult to see why this is wrong.  And yet many continue to repeat both statements.

Squats vs. Leg Press for Big Legs

Years ago I wrote an article arguing that, for some people, the leg press will be a superior exercise choice in terms of building legs than the squat. … Keep Reading

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Let’s Examine Bret Contreras’ PhD Thesis

So this is going to be a weird post.  Originally it was a continuation of a post examining Barbalho et al’s study on the hip thrust versus the squat.  Specifically it contained Bret’s (still) pathetic ad hominem attack on Barbalho along with an examination of Bret’s original thesis on the topic.  I compared that thesis to the (apparently) strong methodology of Barbalho’s paper at the end.

However, there is a problem.  Roughly a week ago, a paper was released pointing out inconsistencies (or rather extreme similarity) of the data in a number of Barbalho’s papers, raising the question of their validity.  Their study on training volume in men was already retracted  and it’s entirely possible that more of their studies will be as well. For that reason, a comparison of the Barbalho et al. paper to Bret’s thesis is no longer appropriate.

Bret’s PhD Thesis is Still Crap

However, however, the fact that Barbalho’s work is no in question doesn’t change a rather simple fact: Bret’s thesis is, at it’s core, a pathetic piece of work. … Keep Reading