There is no doubt that high-volume training is very effective for thousands of bodybuilders for building the kind of mass necessary for standing on the bodybuilding stage. Sure, those low-volume, high-intensity articles look really good on paper. Why can’t a person attain maximum muscle in only one working set? Scientifically speaking, it looks great. However, in the real world, with so many factors (nutrition, diet, recovery, and those factors on the neuromuscular level), it’s darn near impossible to reach your bodybuilding potential without a lot of food, sleep, and yes, training sets.
In order to make your high-volume training most effective, you have to ensure you aren’t missing any of the crucial recovery factors. It’s going to be impossible to stay up half the night partying, then show up at 9 am and give it your all for 20 sets of leg day. Nutrition matters more than ever. You don’t just need a ton of nutrients – you now need them in highly consistent delivery. No more missing meals. In terms of training days, you can no longer push a day forward, skip, or combine your training days when it’s convenient. You have to attend the gym every day as scheduled. In addition, you should take your vitamins and supplements without fail. Your muscle growth is very dependent upon these little things!
There is no lying to yourself when it comes to high volume training. Twenty sets is twenty sets – it’s that simple. You can superset a few of them. You can make a few of them warm-up sets. But the fact of the matter is that you are going to require an hour of lifting to hit those 20 sets, any way you look at it. Shortcuts have all gone out the window at this point. You are going to do your time, without fail. Design your daily schedule so that you’re not rushing in or out of the gym. There will be time to take breaks in 8 or 10 weeks when you switch to a lower-volume training protocol to give your body a break. The time to train is now!
Bringing a training partner into your equation can help with many factors, both inside and outside of the gym. In the gym, you’re much more likely to reach failure several times per workout when you have someone pushing you and making sure the weight doesn’t crush you. At the same time, you’re going to be much more religious about your diet and supplementation – never missing a meal or creatine dose – if you know your partner is hitting the mark right on time. You wouldn’t want him growing that extra one-eight a pound of muscle, if you’re not!
Finally, patience is a major factor with high volume training. Initially, in the first week of training, you are going to initially see some hardness and new volume during that first week of training, but then you may see a crash as your central nervous system adapts to the highest volume. As the weeks pass, however, your body will adapt and growth will continue!