Tag Archives: volume

Did you say volume?

A little training protocol that is nothing magic, it’s just something that sprung to mind ad thought I’d share it before the ether claims it.

Day 1 – Max Effort Volume in 45min
Day 2 – 40% Volume of Day 1
Day 3 – 70% Volume of Day 1

You’d do well to perhaps pick one movement to focus on for this.

Some rare individuals can perhaps many two (maybe splitting the sessions to AM/PM), yet for most just one will be better, and any extra work you decide to do on the 3 days would be in the form of simple maintenance – 3×8 & 1min rest betweens sets.

That’s it really, nothing too fancy just good old fashioned work.

As a recommendation I’d suggest the lift you pick will do well to be loaded at 70% of your current max, from here you’d need a total volume target that when achieved you can increase the total load and work towards hitting that volume target with a max of 85% of that lifts max.


  • Squat – Current 1RM 100kg – Starting load 70kg
  • Total volume goal in 45min – 225 reps (or more, your choice)
  • Load increase each time total volume hit +5-10%
  • Reps per set – chosen at your discretion (5’s, 8’s, 10’s, a combination, all are acceptable)

Here is what a training week may look like:

Day 1 –
W/U – General Flow Work
A1 – Squat – 45min timer – 70kg – reps achieved (make note, we shall say 160 for the purpose of this example)
B1 – Dip 3×8
B2 – Chin Up 3×8
B3 – Reverse Fly 3×8
C/D – Genreal Stretch

Day 2 – (3 days later)
W/U – General Flow Work
A1 – Squat – 45min timer – 70kg – reps 40% Day 1 (40% of 160 = 64 total reps)
B1 – Z Press 3×8
B2 – Pendlay Row  3×8
B3 – Curl 3×8
C/D – Genreal Stretch

Day 3 – (2 days later)
W/U – General Flow Work
A1 – Squat – 45min timer – 70kg – reps 70% Day 1 (70% of day 1 = 112 total reps)
B1 – Incline Press 3×8
B2 – V Handle Row  3×8
B3 – Skull Crusher 3×8
C/D – Genreal Stretch

^ The above would be a Monday-Thursday-Saturday training week.

You’ll find that keeping a focus on solid form, tension, and what Dr Hatfield coined as Compensatory Acceleration will have you making a lot of progress.

For accessory lifts (the 3×8 with 1min rest between sets), you can choose as you please, the main focus of this protocol is the volume lift.

There you have it, something simple and just good fun.


P.S – my choice of lifts for this would be Kettlebell Swings in the AM & Press Ups in the PM.

Accessory work, if fancied would simply be alternating Pull Ups, Pistols & Ab Roll-Outs in a GTG fashion through the day (every day, 3-5 reps), however that’s just me.

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A little something arbitrary for y’all


General physical preparedness.

Special/Specific physical preparedness.

Some will ask which is better and the answer will always be; it depends.

If you have a solid goal then SPP will rule the roost and GPP will fall in line to help bolster the goal.

Yet say your goal is a loose one, you merely want to be a half decent allrounder, then in that case you ca pick and choose when you use SPP and have the majority of your training in the GPP area.

Do remember though that it often means you will never excel at anything and in fact more than likely not even end up as mediocre in the majority of things because of too much choice.

All this being said, here is something those of you that don’t really have a goal and just want to train can utilise in your training.

I call it the 50%-100%-200% Method.

You will use the above percentages in reference to your body weight on the movements you’re going to do.

So that could mean bodyweight barbell curls and double bodyweight press overhead as a superset if you’re some sort of genetic beast lobster (50% curl and 100% press will do for most).

Sets and reps can be up to you because the options for that are endless.

Take this example 3 day template for starters:

Day 1:

W/U – Clean & Press w/sandbag x50% x AMRAP x 15min
A1 – DL x 200% x6x4
B1 – Bench Press x100% x3 xAMRAP
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

Day 2:
W/U – Farmers Walk x50% x max total distance in 15min
A1 – SQ x 200% x8x3
B1 – Bent Over Row 100% x4-5 xAMRAP
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

Day 3:
W/U – Sled Push/Pull x50% x max total distance in 15min
A1 – Press x 100% x12x2
B1 – Pull Up x 50% x 8×3
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

The above if with mostly standard gym kit, however doing the above with awkward objects can be a great way to build ‘old time strength’ along with an epic amount of conditioning.

Often times we get some of our best results when we limit our choices because we have no other option than to put in some hard graft that has a defined purpose.

Try the simple loading strategy above and see how you get on.

Personally I’d lean towards working on volume/density as the main drivers, so getting out max reps (with good form) in specific time frames or more reps in the same time.

You might have heard this called EDT (escalating density training), Charles Staley is the man to look up for article on this.


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5×5, just not as you know it.

A great little protocol that will be good for fat loss, hypertrophy, strength endurance and fun.
I had this little training program come to me while walking last night.
This it by no means anything groundbreaking.
Keeping that in mind, I reckon it will humble a fair few if the proper effort level is given.
The basic set up –
– Pick 1-5 movements
– 5 sets total
– Each set is a 5min time block
– No Sloppy Reps
– Rest 3-5min between each set
– Train 2-3 days per week
– Enjoy for 6-12 weeks
A 5min block of time where you simply perform only one lift, sounds easy on paper, not so much in reality, especially if you don’t put down whatever it is you’re lifting.
Keeping a hold of a bar or piece of kit for 5min is quite the challenge both physically and mentally.
Of course in some instances it won’t be possible.
This is where the beauty of he above comes in to play and helps you regulate the intensity.
You don’t have to keep a hold of whatever kit you’re using or keep moving if it’s a bodyweight exercise you’ve chosen, you can stop an rest.
The main focus is on training density & work capacity.
You simply not what weight you used, how many reps you got an aim to beat that next session, simple.
I’d personally stay with the same movements for 3 week blocks, you can either repeat the same session for each of your 2-3 days or change the lifts each time, that’s up to you, just keep that the same for the suggested block.
Example 3 days –
*The warm up of the rest will be int he first 5min set, doesn’t have to be, it just saves time.
Day 1:
Set 1 – Kettlebell Snatch (don’t put down)
Set 2 – Farmers Walk
Set 3 – Kettlebell Push Press (don’t put down)
Set 4 – Pull Up – any variation
Set 5 – Kettlebell Double Racked Squat (don’t put down)
Day 2:
Set 1 – Sandbag Clean & Carry
Set 2 – Thruster BB (don’t put down)
Set 3 – BB Row
Set 4 – Kettlebell Single Arm Swing (don’t put down)
Set 5 – Press Up – any variation
Day 3:
Set 1 – The Bear Complex
Set 2 – Squat – any variation (don’t put down)
Set 3 – Power Snatch
Set 4 – Ring Dip
Set 5 – Power Clean
*Warm down with a good old stretch and marvel in all the good effort you put in.
^^ One thing to keep in mind with the above is there needs to be a focus on quality reps.
(Now imagine trying to do this with just one movement for all 5 sets of 5min….. Brutal)
Even though in the example I’ve said in some cases not to put the kit down, if your form is going to pot then don’t be a hero, put it down, grab some rest and try for a few more reps.
There will always be next session to try and make the full time.
Feel free to add in smaller movements as well, thing such as face pulls, reverse flies, bicep curls, skull crushers and so on.
The idea behind this little protocol is to get you focusing on achieving a decent amount of quality work.
Give it a try and let me know how you get on.

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Progression Tips for Beginners

Do you have any idea how to progress your training across the variables?

– Volume
– Intensity
– Density
– Frequency

It’s quite easy really, as such here is an example for each that can be used for several weeks or months if you have the courage to stay the course.

Volume –

Ladders, one of my favourites.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 or 2,3,5,10, or 1,2,3,4,5

There are a lot of choices, for adding extra volume in the form of reps, the most effective being 1-10, and you will only add weight once you can go 1-10 unbroken.

Example (works best as a super set):

A1 – Pull Up
A2 – Close Grip Bench Press

Intensity –

Let us say that you’re a creature of habit who likes doing the same sets and reps, this is cool however progressing can be a tad tricky, therefor this is the solution:

Fractional Plates.

Small 0.25kg (or lighter) plates, all you need do is hit your desired reps then add another 0.25kg and aim to do the same next time.

Personally I’ve found that doing 3-5×3-5 works well as it gives you some room to adapt to the gradual increases. Once you hit 5×5 with good form, adding another fraction plate is easy, it might may you only be able to do 3×3, that’s okay keep grinding until it’s 5×5 and progress from there.

Density –

Perhaps you’re already one strong hombre and adding weight or reps is becoming tricky, fear not, you have two options to progress.

1 – Set a time limit to hit your rep goal.

Example; 50 reps in 15min with 140kg in the squat.

Once you hit it you add weight.

2 – Reduce your rest periods.

Say you’ve started with 5min rest, knock off 15 seconds at the next session, if you hit all your reps then knock off another 15 next time, repeat this until you are perhaps at 3min rest, or lower, that is up to you.

Once you hit your desired point of ‘low rest’ add weight and take the rest back up to 5min per set and so on.

Frequency –

The easiest to manipulate, al you do is add an extra bout of reps or an extra session.

Say you train your squat once per week, bump it up to twice, if you already do two squat sessions do three, you can spread the reps out and build them up from there, example:

1 squat session a week = 5×10
2 squat session = 3×10 per session (10 more total reps)

Make sense?

Adding weight or reps can be applied from the other example above.

The little tips of today are very basic, there is a lot more that can go in to this, however these will be enough to tweak your current training and perhaps get you over the plateau.


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More for Less

The more knowledgeable people become the more they start to understand the importance of increasing training session volume each time they venture to the gym, this is so that they can keep progressing.

Keeping this in mind there are several ways to add that little extra to your workouts so that you ensure some positive adaptation, the obvious ones are to add one of the following 3:
– More Set
– More Reps
– More Weight
If you are not constrained by time then these three are quite viable options. You would potentially spend more time in the gym while you accumulate more total volume, however this would eventually reduce when you come to a much needed deload, then this process will be repeated until you either stop making progress or get bored of lifting weights.
What happens if you don’t have the luxury of spending extra time in the gym due to work, family or other time constraints? Simple, you do some density work or as it’s otherwise know Escalating Density Training.
What is EDT?
EDT is the process where by you select a perform an exercise in a certain time frame with appropriate loading and get out as many reps as you possibly can. Depending on what your overall training style is you can add anywhere from up to an extra 50% (possibly more) to your overall workout total. If you’re unsure of what this means take a look at the example below.
Pressing Day –
Bench Press 5x5x100
Flies 3x12x20
Dips 3x12xBW – 75kg
5920kg total volume
Now lets say you had a 45min window to workout and that took you 35min leaving you 10min spare, this is where adding in a density set will help boost that volume.
10min – Press Ups – BW 40kg (because you don’t use as much as you think) – If you achieved 100 in time limit that would give you an extra 4000kg of volume, almost as much as the session. Not a bad little addition for 10min of work is it.
Using this technique can help you provide some more stimulus in the same time period. For upper body days press ups, pull ups or any body weight exercise are a great addition to finish your workout, when it comes to leg day there is another option you can use, it involves loading the bar with 80% of your top weight for the day and doing one of the following – As many reps as many as possible in a specific time limit while resting as necessary or using that same load and setting a rep target such as 50 for example. You can do this for upper body days if you want to as well.
*Always regulate your weight based on your top set(s) of the day. You can lower the amount of time you have once you hit a specific rep goal, this will help you further increase your density of work and overall work capacity. The variations are endless truth be told.
It’s actually quite easy when you think about it, isn’t it. There are a lot more methods of EDT, but they all adhere to the same principle which is to help you increase your overall work capacity.
A word of warning however, be sure to keep a track of all your volume and how you’re recovering from it all. Everyone has a limit, once it’s hit you can push it for a touch more but then you will need to take your foot off the gas and deload, if you don;t you may just burn out, go backward and even get injured.
Try adding some EDT your workouts and break through your plateaus.

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Progression put Simply

Morning Guys,


What is it?

How does it work?

Let me answer that for you…

Progression put simply:

Beginner: 0-18 months of training –

Add weight to the bar each workout until this is nit longer possible.

5kg lower body, 2.5kg upper body (smaller plates can also be useful to.help continue this beginner progression for as long as possible to milk it dry).

Strength is the focus.

Intermediate: 18months – 36months of training –

Add reps instead of weights. Focus on turning your 3RM in to a 5RM, your 5RM to an 8RM and so on.

Increased volume is the focus.

Advanced: 36months+ of training –

Now this is where it gets interesting and I will be honest, most people will never need to worry about making this more complicated than adding reps or weight, When it comes to the requirements for this style of training I would advise hiring someone to do it for you because you won’t possess sufficient knowledge to do it yourself.

Correct intensity and loading % can be a head ache at the best of times, not to mention total volume calculation, reload parameters and much more.

Why do you think elite athletes have coaches?

If it’s good enough for an elite, it’s good enough for you.

Hire a coach.


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The Secret of Constant Progression: Part 1

When it comes to lifting weights well all want to have a steady progression, but many will stall and find their progress grinding to a halt without much warning.

Do you want to know how to avoid this?
Do you want the knowledge to build strength and muscle consistently?
Do you want to know what many trainers hesitate to tell?

Do you want to know the secret of constant progression?

I am going to write one short post per day about what elements of your training you can tweak that will allow you to continue to progress, they are not as complicated as you may think and on top of that there are only 3 KEY elements you need to be mindful off.




That makes 3 content filled posts for you to increase your knowledge and understanding of lifting weights, progression and progressive overload.

If you hied my advice you will find steady progression for many weeks, months and even years to come, so now we have all of the standard chatter of you the way;

Lets get started.

The route to progression is classed as continued progressive overload*, otherwise known as TOTAL VOLUME. This is the amount of weight you lift in one session, the get stronger or build more muscle you must lift more than you did before; simple right?

*Progressive overload by definition is that in order to adapt/grow we require a gradual increase in volume, intensity, density (frequency/time) in order to achieve the targeted goal of the user. In this context, volume, intensity and density are defined as follows: Volume is the total number of repetitions multiplied by the resistance used as performed in specific periods of time.

Not quite. Trying to constantly lift more weight each week will have you hitting a brick wall much sooner than you might realise, your body needs time to adapt, your ligaments and tendons need time to grow stronger as do your muscles. This is where the concept of volume can become skewed, lifting more weight to achieve more volume does not happen quiet the way you would think.

What is VOLUME?

Volume put simply is the cumulative amount of Sets & Reps you ave performed in that one session (Don’t get confused with Total Volume of Weight Lifted.*), the weight you’re using is known as the INTENSITY, but that’s something to talk about on another day, but as you will learn all 3 elements are intrinsically linked.

*The sum total volume of your weight lifted is what you will calculate at the end of your workout to see how much weight you lifted throughout the entire session and over a prolonged period of time throughout your different training phases, this will become important for establishing your ‘Power Index’, but more on that another day.


Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg lifted (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

So theoretically then this would be the next logical step:

Week 2 – 5×5 @ 105kg – 5×105 = 525 – 525×5 = 2625kg lifted (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

This progressive volume thing is easy according to this, the gains will be constant and strong… Or so we would like to believe. You have not changed the volume, you have changed the intensity, yes that has lead to more total volume, but not quiet in the way we are trying to achieve today.

Your body would only progress in this way for a certain period of time before it simply couldn’t handle any more weight for 5 sets of 5 reps, this is when you will need to change the volume load, I.E the amount of set’s and reps you’re doing.

You see, you can can increase your volume from a workout without having to increase the weight, take a look at this example:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

Week 2 – 8×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×8 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 40reps Total Volume

Are you starting to get the picture now?

Week 3 – 10×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×10 = 5000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 50reps Total Volume

*Week 4 Deload to 6×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×6 = 3000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 30reps Total Volume a reduction of 40% Volume, you can have multiple variations of this, but you will learn that over the next few days – This allows your body to back off form he volume but maintain its neuromuscular connections and familiarity with the weight.

As you can see for my rather basic examples above you can increase the VOLUME of your workout by changing the numbers of sets you perform, you can also change the reps but of the purpose of this example I decided to change the sets as it’s easier to see the progression.

That said, if you did want to keep the sets the same but change the reps you might do the following:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

Week 2 – 5×8 @ 100kg – 8×100 = 800 – 800×5 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 40reps Total Volume

Are you starting to get the picture now?

Week 3 – 5×10 @ 100kg – 10×100 = 1000 – 1000×5 = 5000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 50reps Total Volume

*Week 4 Deload to 3×10 @ 100kg – 10×1000 = 1000 – 1000×3 = 3000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 30reps Total Volume a reduction of 40% Volume

AS you can see now from the second example the sets can remain the same and the reps can change, provided your Total Weight Volume is increased you will be progressively overloading, thus getting bigger and stronger.


Hopefully now you have a solid understanding of what Volume is and what it actually means.

Tomorrow I shall be covering Intensity.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below.


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