Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:
Importance Of Adaptation, Part 3 - Volume Vs. Intensity: A Supplement To 'Adaptation'!

'Supplement to Adaptation' will help you decide the best training for you by comparing training volume and intensity. Anyone can establish an effective program and the following factors will do just that. Learn more.

By: Randy Herring

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Article Summary:
  • Every person who trains intelligently can improve.
  • You must decide how hard you should train to get the best results.
  • You cannot train hard and long at the same time, it is one or the other.
  • In Adaptation, Part I - The Body, I established the importance of habituating oneself to the physical stress of the same workout to stimulate changes in the body, which brings about the "training effect." In Adaptation, Part II - The Mind, I established the importance of actualizing one's mind in training to allow it to adapt to the same workout to achieve results.

    Volume vs. Intensity: A Supplement to "Adaptation" concludes as a postscript to Adaptation, Parts I and II and seeks to help you decide which kind of training (volume or intensity) is right for you to get the best results.

    The fact is that every person who trains intelligently can improve. Achieving results is dependent on two things:

    1. Mental and physical potential.
    2. Achievable short-term (3-6 months) goals and realistic long-term (1-2 years) goals.

    Once you have determined what you want, you need to decide what training program can best help you attain both your immediate and long-term goals, and in particular, you must decide how much and how hard you should train to get the best results.

    You Need To Decide What Training Program Can Best Help You Attain Both Your Immediate And Long-Term Goals.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    You Need To Decide What Training Program Can Best Help
    You Attain Both Your Immediate And Long-Term Goals.

    dot
    Comparing Volume And Intensity
    dot

    For the purposes of comparing workout volume over time from an advanced fitness enthusiast's standpoint, volume can be an increase in weight lifted or an increase in sets/reps with the same weight lifted or a combination of these. Overall an advanced fitness enthusiast's workout intensity could then be calculated as the total amount of weight lifted.

    Unlike volume, which is a measurement of quantity, intensity is a measurement of quality, and therefore, is a relative term. From a competitive bodybuilder's standpoint, intensity can be an increase in the number of sets/reps with heavier weight, but not going to the point of local muscle exhaustion.

    RELATED ARTICLE

    [ Click here to learn more. ]
    High-Intensity Techniques!
    Blast your muscles into oblivion with these four powerful & proven HIT techniques. Try them now and watch your muscles grow while burning the fat!
    Author:
    Alex Stewart

    However, the competitive bodybuilder may want to increase the intensity by working closer and closer to the point of local muscle exhaustion, even to the point of failure.

    Overall, a competitive bodybuilder's workout intensity could be calculated as the total number of sets carried out to exhaustion and/or to failure, especially if the workout becomes terminated prior to the predetermined time of completion.

    RELATED POLL
    Which Do You Prefer: Volume Or Intensity?

    Volume
    Intensity
    I Use Both

    dot
    Routines That Distinguish Themselves By Either Volume Or Intensity Or Both
    dot

    In regards to the beginner and intermediate it is far better to do less rather than more in both volume and intensity. The beginner 3-day full body routine typifies volume training.

    The intermediate 4-day split routine typifies both volume and intensity training, but leans more toward volume and less on intensity for the simple reason that the intermediate is learning to habituate to actualize his mind in training whereas the beginner is realizing his potential.

    RELATED VIDEO: Scivation Tri-Phase Training
    Episode #2: Phase 1 (Volume), Day 2 - Chest & Shoulders Workout!

    In this second episode, watch and learn as Scivation's Marc Lobiner and Derek Charlesbois explain Tri-Phase Training, doing a Chest and Shoulders volume workout on Day Two!
    Watch More From This Series Here.
       Find More Videos On This Topic.

    In regards to the advanced it is better to do more in both volume and intensity. In general, the advanced 5- to 6-day split routine typify both volume and intensity training, but leans more toward intensity rather than volume.

    Unless you are a competitive bodybuilder you may lean more toward one than the other based on a personal preference. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger and most of the bodybuilders of the 70s leaned toward volume.

    It Is Better To Do More In Both Volume And Intensity.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    It Is Better To Do More In
    Both Volume And Intensity.

    Dorian Yates of the 90s leaned toward intensity. Yates' workout consisted of one all out heavy set of few reps. At the turn of the millennium, we have Ronnie Coleman combining both bodybuilding volume and powerlifting intensity.

    Today volume vs. intensity training is a mixed breed of one over the other or a combination of both. And once again, volume over intensity or vice versa is a personal preference.

    FORUM THREAD
    Organic Vs Non-Organic!
    [ Click To Join The Thread. ]
    Volume Vs. HIT!
    I've asked this question around on a few forums before. I'd just like to get everyones oppinions on the subject and the reasoning behind it.
    Started By:
    JeremyD

    dot
    Factors That Establish An Effective Training Program
    dot

    Establishing a productive training program is based on experience and age. The first factor is in regards to how much, how hard, on what types of programs he has trained, and how many months or years.

    The second factor is in regards to nutrition, physical, physiological, and training status (beginner, intermediate, advanced), and psychological preferences for different training styles and intensities.

    Establishing A Productive Training Program Is Based On Experience And Age.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Establishing A Productive Training Program
    Is Based On Experience And Age.

    Based on the factors mentioned above - if an advanced fitness enthusiast is between 40 and 60 years of age it might be better to do more in volume and less in intensity.

    When one gets older one's body naturally deteriorates and becomes more fragile. For this reason it is better for an older person to adhere to volume over intensity. For example, retired Hall of Fame competitive bodybuilder Bill Pearl begins his day by training from 4:00 AM to 6:00 AM and leans toward volume rather than intensity. I know this because I trained with Bill Pearl at his home gym in Phoenix, Oregon a number of years ago.

    Learning from Bill Pearl's regimen I realized that when one's body ages one must adhere to volume over intensity. Everybody's body changes in time at a different age. I noticed a decrease in my body's metabolism at the ages of 41 and 46, and since then it has been proven difficult to adhere to volume training because of what I have accustomed myself to: intensity training.

    When the mind is willing but the body is weak, particularly between the ages noted above, one must first accept the change occurring in one's body, then learn to adapt to the changes, and finally, subject oneself to what works best.

    Everybody's Body Changes In Time At A Different Age.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Everybody's Body Changes In
    Time At A Different Age.

    Bev Francis was the first woman to bench press over 300 pounds and co-starred in Pumping Iron II: The Women in 1985. Bev is an example of choosing volume over intensity while she trained to compete in the Ms. Olympia contest as Rachel McLish's nemesis of the 80s.

    Bev Francis' transformation from a muscular "bulky" powerlifter to a sleek aesthetic bodybuilder is incredible! I asked Bev what she did to transform herself from one extreme to the other.

    RELATED VIDEO: Pumping Iron 2
    Bev Francis' Posing Routine!

    Check out Bev Francis' posing routine from the movie Pumping Iron 2: The Women.
    Watch More From This Series Here.
       Find More Videos On This Topic.

    A condition why the advanced fitness enthusiast should not follow the beginner 3-day full body routine is the experience of having habituated herself to intensity training. Because of this the advanced fitness enthusiast might find it extremely difficult to loosen her resolve of training hard and short (intensity) to training easy and long (volume), generally speaking.

    The advanced fitness enthusiast, therefore, might find it difficult to break away from intensity training and adapt to volume training. But as the saying goes: where there is a will there is a way.

    The Advanced Fitness Enthusiast Might Find It Difficult To Break Away From Intensity Training And Adapt To Volume Training.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    The Advanced Fitness Enthusiast Might Find It Difficult
    To Break Away From Intensity Training And Adapt To Volume Training.

    In regards to choosing how one should train and which program to adhere to is dependent on two factors already mentioned: experience and age. One's metabolism not only decreases when one gets older but also one's recuperative ability. So in the case of the aged advanced fitness enthusiast she might want to consider volume over intensity rather than staying with intensity over volume when she was younger.

    dot
    Conclusion
    dot

    The relationship between volume and intensity in achieving the best results is more complex than simple. Certainly the most logical approach to training is low volume training coupled with moderate intensity training.

    One may be able to tolerate this approach without the risk of overtraining. However, the exhaustive type of high-intensity training exercise advocated by some can lead not only to fatigue and overtraining but to serious central nervous system breakdown.

    RELATED ARTICLE
    Stop Overtraining Now!
    [ Click here to learn more. ]
    Stop Overtraining Now!
    Adding variety to an exercise program can improve adherence and can also help you stay physically challenged and mentally stimulated.
    Author:
    James Kohler

    Maximal-intensity training does indeed have the potential to be extremely productive, but only when used with extreme caution and in moderation.

    The ancient philosophers believed that the virtuous life is lived in moderation. These philosophers did not condemn the pleasures of the body but admonished people to act in moderation because they realized the mind controls the body and gives honor to it for harmony.

    So it is the same with choosing a type of training that one prefers. Choose one that you are more inclined to lean toward or are disposed toward and act temperately by taking a bit from this method and a bit from that method to seek moderation between the two for harmony.

    A fit life has neither deficiency nor excess but what is moderate, and therefore, is fine and good. No single system is ideal for everyone; a few prove to be safer and more efficient than others. You must ask yourself (and answer) one of these two questions:

    1. Which combination of volume and intensity is moderate for me to produce the best results?
    2. Which one in excess of either volume or intensity do I incline myself towards that produces the best results?

    Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

    Importance Of Adaptation, Part 3 - Volume Vs. Intensity: A Supplement To 'Adaptation'!

    Back To Randy Herring's Main Page

    Back To The Articles Main Page.

    Related Articles
    30 Days Out: Craig Capurso's Extreme Cut Trainer
    Size Made Simple: 4 Ways To Go From Small To Swole!
    The Ultimate Beginner's Full-Body Workout



    RATE THIS ARTICLE
    POOR
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    EXCELLENT
    OVERALL RATING
    N/A

    Out of 10

    0 Ratings

    0

    Comments

    Showing 0 - 0 of 0 Comments

    (5 characters minimum)

        • notify me when users reply to my comment
    Showing 0 - 0 of 0 Comments

    Featured Product

    Give Us Feedback:
    Report A Problem
    Site Feedback
    Follow Us:
    Twitter
    Facebook
    RSS Feeds
    Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

    Receive exciting features,
    news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com