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High volume training continues to get a lot of bad press since the advent of high intensity training (HIT). But training with high volume is often misunderstood as the 30 sets that Arnold used to train over three or four hours in the gym with Franco nearly 40 years ago.
Today we know a lot more about the body and how it gains muscle so we should use this information to our advantage and use high volume training to help us gain muscle and not just do sets and sets that only lead to overtraining. High volume training should be limited to basic compound movements if you want to see a difference.
Famous strength coaches like Vince Gironda and Charles Poliquin have brought back a high volume training technique called German Volume training (GVT). It is a simple concept of starting with 60% of your 1RM and then doing 10 sets of 10 reps until you can increase the weight.
There are obvious limitations to this type of training if you are predominately fast twitch somatotype. If you are a hard gainer and predominately slow twitch muscle the GVT will work for you. However if you are a fast gainer with predominately fast twitch muscle then you will add muscle faster training with low reps and a heavy weight.
If you are considering GVT or any other type of high set training specifically for muscle gain, then it is strongly advised that you do a strength test. You could do a biopsy to get the exact percentage of fast and slow twitch muscles you have but that is painful and expensive.
A simple strength test can be done taking 80% of your 1RM and squeezing out as many reps as you can. If you can only do 5 to 10 reps with that weight then you are fast twitch and need to train in that range to gain muscle. If you can do 14 to 21 reps with that weight then you are slow twitch and should train in that range.
High volume training certainly has its place in adding muscle and is the key ingredient to any bodybuilder's success. The correct cycling and correct nutrition along with rest and recuperation will always be a part of the greater picture for any long-term success at gaining muscle.
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