This is my take on training…
As a bodybuilder it’s always my consideration about how to put on more size. Now I’m 45 and my body isn’t in the same condition it was years ago, I find it really alarming that I hear so many bodybuilders advocating 1 rep max training and lifting as heavy as they possibly can. I’m not convinced this is the best advice to be giving people because I’ve always been taught that you match your training to your goals. So why is there this obsession with lifting heavy? Well for some pro’s it’s worked, but for us mere mortals and weekend warriors, surely volume training over strength training is going to give us the outcome we desire – a better looking body!
Personally I don’t and can’t lift crazy heavy – my joints at my age just don’t take it, and my shoulders are a perfect example.
So with this in mind, I try stay with the principles of what was originally termed German Volume Training – GVT. But not strictly. GVT is pretty specific in the way it should be implemented and it’s great to do it every so often as it really does build mass, but it’s a little restrictive in that it advocates the basic movements only – that is 1 per body part. For example, for Chest, it’s suggested you only do flat bench and that’s it. If you run a Google search on it, you’ll get a huge variety of methodology all saying they are GMT, but it is essentially 10 sets of 10 reps with a prescribed rest period between each of 1 minute to 2 minutes. Some more flexible alternative say “only do the one exercise per body part” and throw in 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of a related exercise, e.g. flies for chest.
My regular training consists of hitting the same muscle group from various angles. I’ll start by warming up with something targeted and isolated to basically pre-exhaust the muscle, then I follow this with a compound movement. I will complete my workout with a finisher – which is a bit of an isolated squeeze and pump exercise – and tend to keep the set range to 3 to 5 sets and 10 to 20 reps depending on muscle group and how well I’ve hit the muscle that workout. Most of the time I will increase the weight each set to progressively overload the muscle and recruit more muscle fibers and promote growth.
As for lifting heavy, you won’t find me doing sets of less than 12… 10 at a minimum if i’m actually pushing a sizeable weight, but nothing like 3 to 6 reps you will find in strength workouts.
I train for shape and size, not strength. There is of course some cross over, but believe me, you gotta match your training to your goals. If all you wanna do is brag that you can lift more than anyone else, then by all means, train like an olympic weight lifter or power lifter. But, if you wanna look good in a pair of jeans and fill out a t-shirt, then training like one of them is not gonna do that for you!