You are here

Volume Plus Intensity Training

Unstick yourself by alternating the two methods that add muscle and strength.

How many guys do you know go to the gym regularly but still make no progress? They get to a certain level and stay there. Forever. As hard as it is to admit it, maybe you’re one of them. The problem is usually because the same things that worked when you were a beginner don’t work anymore—you can’t just add weight to the bar every week or go to failure. The solution is to alternate heavy lifting with weeks when you use lighter loads for more reps. Follow our plan for five to 10 weeks and start breaking barriers again.

How It Works:

Lighter loads and more volume (sets x reps x load) provide a hard workout without being too stressful, and they help you recover after weeks of highly intense training (low-rep sets with heavy weights). So you’re getting the best of both worlds in this program—big pumps one week and big weights the next. On volume weeks, the weights will feel easy, since you’re coming off a week of heavy training. On intensity weeks, you’ll feel strong and focused because you’ll have to work up to only one or two hard sets. This back-and-forth undulation not only keeps your muscles guessing and prevents overtraining, it also provides a mental break and makes training more fun.

Find Your Number
A lifter conservatively assumes his bench press max is 235 pounds. Based on the chart, that gives him an eight-rep max of around 190 pounds (80% of 235). In Week 1, a volume week, he’ll use 85% of 190—which is 160 pounds—for all his sets. In Week 2, an intensity week, he’ll use percentages of his one-rep max (235 pounds).
1-REP MAX NUMBER OF REPS
100% 1
95% 2
92.5% 3
90% 4
87.5% 5
85% 6
82.5% 7
80% 8
77.5% 9
75% 10

Find Your Number

A lifter conservatively assumes his bench press max is 235 pounds. Based on the chart, that gives him an eight-rep max of around 190 pounds (80% of 235). In Week 1, a volume week, he’ll use 85% of 190—which is 160 pounds—for all his sets. In Week 2, an intensity week, he’ll use percentages of his one-rep max (235 pounds).

Directions:

Frequency: Perform each workout (Day 1, 2, and 3) once per week.

Time Needed: 45 minutes

How to Do It:

Perform the exercise pairs (marked “a” and “b”) as alternating sets. Complete one set of a, rest, then one set of b, rest again, and repeat until all sets are complete. Do the remaining exercises as straight sets.

The bench press and deadlift are the two main lifts you’re working to get stronger on. You need to calculate the loads you’ll use for each. First, find or estimate your one-rep max (the most weight you can lift for one rep). From here, you can estimate how much weight you can use for any number of reps. For example, during the volume weeks (Weeks 1 and 3), you’ll do sets of eight reps. You need to find a) the load that gives you eight reps as based on your one-rep max and b) the load that’s the correct percentage of that eight-rep max (you’ll use a different percentage each week). See “Find Your Number” above to figure out approximately how many reps a certain percentage yields. The intensity weeks are simpler. You’ll use percentages of your one-rep max.

Volume Vs. Intensity

How much to lift each week.
The following are the percentages, sets, and reps you’ll use each week for the bench press and deadlift.
Week 1: 4 sets of 8 repswith 85% of your 8-rep max.
Week 2: 5 sets. 50% of your 1-rep max for 12 reps, 60% for 8 reps, 75%for 5, 85% for 5 reps, 90% for 3 reps.
Week 3: 4 sets of 8 reps with 90% of your 8-rep max.
Week 4: 5 sets. 50% of your 1-rep max for 12 reps, 60% for 8 reps, 75% for 5, 85% for 5 reps, 90% for 3 reps, 95% for 1 rep.
Week 5: 4 sets of 8 reps with 95% of your 8-rep max
Week 6: Rest
Week 7: Repeat the cycle, adding 5 to 10 more pounds to each set

The Workouts:


Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

You might also like

comments powered by Disqus