High Frequency Volume Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by Football Bat, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. Football Bat

    Football Bat Double-Digit Post Count

    Hey Guys,

    These are my core exercises:

    a. Macebell 10 to 2
    b. Clean and Strict Press
    c. Jefferson Lift
    d. Weighted Pullup

    So here's a little background on what's going on:

    I was doing 15 reps per exercise per session 4 days a week and overextended myself, which required me to take a 2 week deload to get back to normal.

    I cut the weights back to 75% of my theoretical maxes in order to work back up and started training 6 days a week.

    I started out with what I thought was low volume and found that the same overtraining warning signs that preceded my deload period started cropping up. So I started cutting back the volume on each exercise until I started leaving the gym feeling fresh.

    Right now my workouts are looking like this:

    a. 6 Reps of Macebell 10 to 2
    b. Clean and Strict Press for 3 singles
    c. Jefferson Lift for 2 singles
    d. Weighted Pullup for 3 singles


    If I increase the volume by even one rep on any of these excercises it becomes unsustainable and the fatigue accumulates throughout the week until I feel drained and lethargic for the remainder of the day.

    So here's my question:

    Have any of you been able to make progress with volume this low? It feels almost too easy and I'm not sure if I'm wasting my time or not. Also are there any guidelines on how much weekly volume you should shoot for on a high frequency program?
  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    6 days a week at 75% is going to be too much for many people. 5 days a week would, at the risk of stating the obvious, be better, and with low volume @ 75%, it's sustainable. Look up the Daily Dose Deadlift program here and see what you think of that.

    NB: The DDD is designed to co-exist with other training. It's 5 days out of 7, if memory serves, and it's 5 reps total of the deadlift.

    2 or 3 singles @ 75% isn't going to be enough volume at that weight. Aim for 5's.

    In your place, I would immediately go to 3 days a week of training and no more. 3 sets of 5 each day or, even better, 2 sets one day, 3 sets another day, 4 sets another day. See how you adapt to that.

    LukeV likes this.
  3. LukeV

    LukeV More than 300 posts

    Dan John's rule of 10 is a great guide for higher frequency lifting and at 9-10 reps per exercise is also consistent with other higher frequency programs like Justa Singles #1 (ave 9), PTTP (10), Pavel Singles (ave 9) etc. I'm a big fan of near daily training (you do benefit from some down time but it doesn't have to be every week) but I recommend starting light (maybe as low as 60% 1RM) and working up over a couple of weeks to let your body adjust to the higher frequency
    Bauer, Denny Phillips and vegpedlr like this.
  4. vegpedlr

    vegpedlr More than 500 posts

    What Luke said. I’ve found Dan John’s versions of Easy Strength to work well. 2x5 or 3x3, four or five days a week. Keep it light, you can always add weight later.
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  5. LukeV

    LukeV More than 300 posts

    Yes and the complete variation set for rule of 10 is:

    1 x 10
    2 x 5
    3 x 3
    5 x 2
    6 x 1
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  6. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts

    Periodization Training

    This program revolves around progressively increasing the loading in an exercise over a certain number of weeks. The final week involves pushing it to the limit.

    After the final of pushing it to the limit, you decrease the loading, as you did in dropping the weight back down to 75% of your estimated max and working progressively increasing the load over the set number of weeks with the same exercises or some different exercises.

    Periodization Plan traditionally involve a 4-12 train program, rather than two weeks.

    Novice Lifter adapt slowly to a training program. Thus, they are able to perform up to a 12 Week Periodization Training Program with the same exercises.

    Advance Lifter adapt quickly. They perform better in shorter Periodiozation Training Cycles of 3 - 4 Week.


    The final week of a Periodization Training program pushes you into Overreaching; a slightly Overtrained State.

    "Wound Healing"

    The greater the trauma placed on the body, the longer time needed to recovery.

    Overreaching mildly traumatized the body, less time is needed for recovery, a few weeks is need for recovery.

    Overtraining dramatically traumatized the body, more time is needed for recovery, often months.

    The Objective

    The objective of a well written and performed Periodization Training Program is to promote Supercompensation.

    Supercompensation occurs when the body is tramuatized and then allowed to recovery, bounce back and become even stronger.

    Supercompensation occurs during the recovery period by lowering loads, as you did, and then progressively increasing it over a number of weeks, 4 week or plus.

    Active Recovery

    Active Recovery is part of what Periodization is about. The load is dramatically decreased in a training program. One of the things Active Recovery does is increase blood flow to the tissue. This promotes faster recovery.

    Passive Recovery

    This involves taking a week or more off and doing nothing. Passive Recovery isn't as effective Active Recovery in promoting a fast recovery.

    Stimulate, Don't Annihilate

    One of the keys to training is to stimulate the body to adapt and become stronger, Supercompensate.

    Too much training annihilates. You end up losing ground and going backward.

    As per Steve, "6 days a week at 75% is going to be too much for many people. ...go to 3 days a week of training and no more. ...See how you adapt to that."

    Kenny Croxdale
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  7. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    We sometimes forget the fact that the dose make the poison. Sola dosis facit venenum, literally "only the dose makes it poison." Too much and we break down, give up, and therefore don't improve. But too little and we don't adapt and therefore don't improve, either.

    Abdul-Rasheed likes this.
  8. Football Bat

    Football Bat Double-Digit Post Count

    Thanks for the suggestions, the DDD article was exactly what I needed: Daily Dose Deadlift Plan | StrongFirst

    The guy's methodology seems to be to lower the volume and intensity while increasing frequency to break through plateaus.

    His program prescribes 15 to 25 deadlift singles evenly spread out over 5 days.

    If we take his method to the extreme and split the lower end of that volume range over 7 days then it should be plenty effective.

    I suppose the only way to find out for sure would be to try it. If it works I'll photocopy this month's training sheet into the logs section (also if I remember to do so).

    I need to start my day off with the exact same routine or it throws off my productivity. With the way I've been training I can get in the gym first thing in the morning, knock out my workout in 30 minutes and feel energized for the rest of the day. I think it would be worth it for me to try to make training every day in the exact same way work just for the psychological benefit to myself.
  9. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts

    The General Adaptation Syndrome

    The underlying reason you hit a plateau is the that you body adapts to a training program.

    When adaptation occurs, progress stop. That means you need to change something.

    Changes in exercises are more effective than in loading schemes to improve muscle strength. - PubMed - NCBI

    This research demonstrated the two most effective method for increasing strength are...

    1) CIVE: Constant Intensity-Varied Exercise

    2) VIVE: Varied Intensity-Varied Exercise

    The common denominator is Varied Exercises.

    "(a)CIVE is more efficient to produce strength gains for physically active individuals; (b) as long as the training intensity reaches an alleged threshold, muscle hypertrophy is similar regardless of the training intensity and exercise variation." As the article you referrenced it termed it, Specific Variety.

    Changing an exercise can be as simple as going from a Wide Grip to a Narrow Grip Bench Press, Conventional To Sumo Deadlift, Wide Stance-Low Bar Squat to High Bar-Narrow Stance Squat.

    Varying Your Training Program

    Also, making changes in your training program, such as going from...

    1) High Volume to Low Volume

    2) Low Volume to High Volume

    3) High Intensity to Moderate or Low Intensity

    4) Low/Moderate Intensity to High Intensity

    5) Increasing Training Frequency to Decreased Frequency

    6) Decreased Frequency to Increased Frequency

    "Eat More Protein"

    This part of the article is ambiguous with no real definition or meaning.

    "Research is what I am doing, when I don't know what I am doing." Einstein

    Yes, the only way to find out if something works is to try it. Even Einstein initially got thing wrong, like the Theory of Light Bending.

    The second part of that is if it doesn't work but it working for everyone else, don't blame the program. The reason it isn't working is that your most likely implemented something incorrectly.


    One of the keys to making progress is making changes in your training program.

    That's is the foundation of Periodization Training.

    As the saying goes, "Everything works but nothing works forever".

    Kenny Croxdale
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  10. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    Regarding exercise variety, what criteria should one use in determining if an exercise is different enough from an earlier exercise?

    Also, regarding exercise variety vs intensity variety, do you find there is a difference in effectiveness if we compare them between different strength training methods; max vs. submax vs. repetition? Like, if there is a larger need for a different kind of variety in training for different qualities; metabolic stress vs. motor unit recruitment.
  11. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts

    Different Exercise

    To increase strength or size in a particular group of muscle the exercise changed should employ the same muscles. The exercise doesn't need to be dramatically different, just different.

    Think it like ice cream. Instead of having vanilla, have chocolate or put some chocolate on your vanilla ice cream. It's still ice cream but it's different. It the same with training.


    1) Going from a Wide Stance/Low Bar Squat to a Wide Stance/High Bar Squat or something like a Narrow Stance/High Bar Squat.

    2) Pressing can be as simple as going from a Wide Grip Flat Grip Bench Press to a Wide Grip Incline or Decline Press or to a Narrow Grip Flat Grip Bench Press.

    3) Deadlifting can be going from Sumo to a Conventional or a Stiff Leg (slight break in knees) Deadlift.

    Other types of Deadlift Auxiliary Exercise that work the same muscle are: Good Mornings, 45 Degree Back/Hip Extensions and 90 Degree/Parallel Back/Hip Extensions.

    I not completely sure what you mean. So, this may not answer your question.

    Different Strength Training Methods

    Your training objective determines the choice of your Strength Training Method, as you know.

    Limit Strength (Mechanical Tension), Power and Speed employ basically the same Phosphagen Energy System, Sets and Repetition ranges. However, the Training Percentages are the determinate factor of which one you are training.

    Hypertrophy Training utilized moderate to high repetition (Metabolic Stress) and fall more into the Glycogen Energy System.

    From 0 to 100: Know Your Percentages! | T Nation

    This article provides a good break down on the percentages needed to train a specific type of strength.

    However, one type of Strength Training enhances the other; that based on anecdotal and research data.

    It's like making a shirt with a cotton-polyester blend. Cotton allow the shirt to breath. Polyester doesn't shrink, change shape and you don't need to iron it.

    The "Blend" also work with training, as demonstrated by...

    Conjugate Training

    This combines/blends different types of Strength Training into the same Training Cycle.

    Another approach is...

    Periodizaton Training

    Strength Training is broken down into different phases for a certain period of time. Once one phase is complete, you move on to the next phase.

    Sprinter Resistance Periodization Training Example

    Phase 1: Hypertrophy

    Phase 2: Limit Strength (1 Repetition Max)

    Phase 3: Power

    Phase 4: Speed

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
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  12. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    Sorry for being unclear. English is not my first language. I will try to be more clear and thorough this time.

    First, regarding the exercise variety itself:

    Wouldn't it make sense that the exercise has to be different enough? For example, in the bench press, if I move just one finger width wider or narrower, the difference, or variety, will not be as optimal as if I switched from close grip to a wide grip? Now, if this is so, on what basis would we make the distinction? Distance? Difference in strength levels? Difference in primary muscles used in the movement? And at what point, if we exacerbate the difference, will the exercise become too different, so that the carryover to the main exercise will be diminished?

    As an other example of the same we could talk about the deadlift and the deficit deadlift. With means, we can easily set the deficit exactly where we want it, whether it's blocks, rubber mats, weight plates, or whatever we use. We can go from 1cm to 20cm deficit deadlift, for example, with 1cm increments. Of course, the shorter the deficit, the more carryover, but at the same time the less variety, so less of a different stimulus. By what criteria would one choose the height of the deficit?

    Second, regarding variety through exercise selection vs. variety through load:

    As a premise I would separate strength training to the maximum effort method vs the repetition method and the submaximal method, roughly categorizing them as ME vs. RE/SE.

    Now, based on your understanding, what kind of difference in seeking variety from exercise selection vs load is there between the methods? Is variety through exercise selection more important for ME than RE/SE? How about variety through load? Etc.
  13. william bad butt

    william bad butt More than 300 posts


    I'm curious to read @kennycro@@aol.com response...

    From my perspective, there are 2 schools of thought.

    (1) If following the Conjugate Method, where one is performing singles or doubles (an ME day) at a near maximum %RM, one is going to peak and reach a point of diminishing returns within a few weeks (or less). So excessive variety is important to allow for progress. One should choose full body complex lifts that are as different as possible. Maybe transitioning from working on a back squat to a good morning, back to a safety bar box squat, then to a deadlift variation, every 2 weeks, for example. The importance here is learning to strain and switching things up because you will plateau fast and if you don't switch you are wasting time and could get hurt. Technique is mastered (for a goal lift), via the DE day (Dynamic Day). Using lighter weights at maximum velocity. I don't speak for Strong First, but I don't usually see this training methodology promoted here, although I believe it is probably effective and many use it with success.

    (2) If one is following a more linear periodization or even block periodization program, where one typically performs reps in the 3 to 8 rep range with intensities from 60-85%, that person will be able to remain using the same exercises for a much longer time before the point of diminishing returns. Variety, to an excersise, via a similar supplemental derivative exercise, provides value because one can work on their weaknesses. For example, if one is weak on a bench press lockout, close grip bench press or floor press or 3 board bench press may allow one to overload their triceps. For the Conjugate Method, one would work on their weaknesses via the RE repetition day. Although using different variations of lifts/excersises is probably not necessary until one is at least at an Intermediate level of strength on that particular exercises (a beginner, which probably represents most of the population, does not need to worry about exercises variety).
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  14. Bauer

    Bauer More than 500 posts

    And 1,2,3,4

    And for pushups, goblet squats etc.
  15. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    In my understanding maximum effort is the method where one trains close to a training max, for example 85%-90% of competition max. Only a minority of the lifts go heavier than that, like <5% of lifts, and even less to the true maximum. Training close to a competition max demands too much. Take the elite weightlifters, for example, the training load in a competition is absolutely pitiful compared to a typical heavy day, but the physical and psychological toll of the true maximum effort takes forces the athletes to take a week or two of rest, even if they typically recover in 72 hours even after a heavy training day. Fatigue is to a certain extent exercise specific, yes, but too much is too much.

    The exercise complex itself should be changed periodically, yes, but I'm not sure if 1-3 weeks is too short a time. I understand 2-6 weeks is more optimal, and the training frequency of a specific lift could likely also be more than one max effort time a week. For example, I understand some dominant elite T&F athletes do a max effort competition event like a hammer throw on almost every training day. Their strength training exercises are used in 2-4 month blocks, with each selection only used once, and the most important ones closest to the Olympics. Of course, T&F is different from powerlifting, and the comparison makes for an intriguing discussion.

    I too think learning to strain is an important skill. Straining with a heavy single is something that feels different to everything else. Continuing from that, if strength expressed in a heavier 1RM is the goal, I think it's questionable to which extent the other neurological training is important for the goal. The repetition method causes some motor unit recruitment and with the submaximal method they cause the metabolic stress which leads to very important hypertrophy, but I'm not sure if learning technique outside of the max effort is important for a competent athlete. The ability to produce max force, strength, is a different motor ability from the ability to achieve max velocity. I would expect this to be even more true in the extreme area of the force-velocity relationship, the powerlifting competition max.

    Regarding the second example, where one avoids maximal effort, I would tend to agree that the exercise variety is not as important as load variety. It makes sense to strengthen the weak points, of course, to get the maximum benefit for the expended recovery capability.

    I also see the variety through load as more important for the beginner. With beginners I would also concentrate on the submaximal and repetition method and leave the maximal effort to more advanced athletes.
    william bad butt likes this.
  16. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts

    Your English is fine. I wasn't sure what you meant.

    Making The Exercise Different

    Moving your bench press grip one finger wider isn't going to make it different enough.

    It's like making a one shade of the color red minutely a shade lighter. Both shades of the color red looking like each other. Making one a dark red and the other a light red make the difference much more distinct.

    In the case of the bench press, you need to change your grip so that it is noticeable different. Something you can see and feel. You need to play with it.

    Difference In Strength Levels

    There is going to be some strength variances when you change you grip width or change your pressing angle. You are going be stronger in a Decline Press than in a Flat Bench Press and Stronger in a Flat Bench Press than an Incline Press.

    That means each type of pressing will have a different 1 Repetition Max that you need to base your percentages on.

    Difference In Prime Movers

    Changing the angle of a movement, modifies how the prime mover work.

    As an example, a Conventional Deadlift engages the lower back to a greater degree than the Sumo Deadlift.

    Research (Dr Tom McLaughlin, PhD-Biomechanics) determined that the lower back initiates driving the bar off the floor in a Conventional Deadlift, with some assistance from the legs.

    The Sumo Deadlift drives that weight off the floor with the legs, with some assistance from the lower back.

    Performing exercise that are similar in nature to let's say the Conventional Deadlift will have more carry over. However, performing Sumo Deadlift also will assist in increasing strength in a Conventional Deadlift.

    Conjugate Training

    The anecdotal and research data prove that combing different type of strength promotes an increases in strength and size, dependent on the emphasis of the program.

    Olympic Lifter focus on strength and power exercises. Chris Thibaudeau wrote an article on how the Chinese Olympic Lifter are employing more Bodybuilding/Hypertrophy Training.

    The Westside Powerlifting Method does the same with "Speed Days (Power Training), Repetitive Method Days (Hypertrophy Training) and Max Effort Days (Limit Strength).

    Dr Michael Zourdos' (Powerlifter) research determined greater strength was obtain when a program included: Hypertrophy/Bodybuilding, Power and Limit Strength.

    There are various way of writing it into a training program.

    Auxiliary Exercises

    One of the most effective method for increasing strength is to vary your Auxiliary Exercises, as the Westside Method does.

    Perform one Auxiliary Exercise in a Training Cycle, then replace it with another exercise in the next Training Cycle.

    Varying Load

    With the exercise you select, you want to at some point in the Training Cycle, push the limit of the load it.

    Your volume to a large extent will determine the load.

    As an example, in performing one all out set of 5 repetition in an exercise, you are going to push a higher load than if you are performing 5 sets of 5 repetition in the same exercise.

    Chris Thibaudeau's Neuro Training Type

    Chris Thibaudea does a nice job of breaking down the different type of training protocols based on individuals in his podcast at the site above.

    I posted the notes on each one of his podcast.

    Speed and Power Training Percentages

    Speed Training and Power are developed with different percentages of your 1 Repetition Max, as is Limit Strength.

    For Speed and Power Development, I am a proponent of training their designated percentages with a variety of load; which change their percentages.

    Let me use my Speed-Power Squat day for this example.

    Speed in traditional movements is developed with load of 10-40%, with around 30% of 1 Repetition Max being the sweet spot.

    In a traditional movement, power is optimized with load of 48 - 62% of your 1 Repetition Max.

    Progressively increasing the load in each set of Squat Set engages the muscles and muscle fiber differently, provides variety.

    My first two warm up sets in the the Speed-Power Squat involve Speed Training Percentages, under 40% of 1 Repetition Max. They are Speed Squats.

    My third set is the entry into a Power Squat, with a load of around 48%.

    My next two Power Squat push the weight up into the higher Power Percentages.

    "Is variety through exercise selection more important..."

    Exercise variety as well as is incorporating Limit Strength, Power, Speed and Hypertrophy is important.


    Your body is like an over protective Mommy. It works at keeping you stable so that you don't hurt yourself.

    You have to play tricks so that you can get stronger, faster or bigger.

    Varying your training exercises, volume, load, frequency, and combinations are some of the tricks you can use to make progress.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
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  17. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts

    Excessive Variety

    I am not sure what you definition of it is. I wouldn't call it excessive variety.

    How quickly you adapt to an exercise is the determinate factor in when to change an exercise. That means when you stop making progress, something need to change.

    This takes us back to...

    Training Age

    Novice Lifter adapt slowly. They can use the same exercise and program for a longer period of time.

    One of the issues with Novice Lifter is the jump around from one program to another.

    Advance Lifters adapt quickly. The need to change exercise and program more often.

    Full Body Lifts...As Different As Possible

    There need to be a distinctive different in the exercise. I am not sure what your definition of of "as different as possible" is.

    You don't need to perform full body lifts. You can target the movement; going from Low Bar/Wide Stance Squats to High Bar/Narrow Stance Squats.
  18. kennycro@@aol.com

    kennycro@@aol.com More than 500 posts

    Excessive Variety

    I am not sure what your definition of it is. I wouldn't call it excessive variety.

    How quickly you adapt to an exercise is the determinate factor in when to change an exercise. That means when you stop making progress, something need to change.

    "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    This takes us back to...

    Training Age

    Novice Lifters adapt slowly. They can use the same exercise and program for a longer period of time.

    One of the issues with Novice Lifter is the jump around from one program to another.

    Advance Lifters adapt quickly. The need to change exercise and program more often.

    Full Body Lifts...As Different As Possible

    There needs to be a distinctive different in the exercise. I am not sure what your definition of of "as different as possible" is.

    You don't need to perform full body lifts. You can target the movement; going from Low Bar/Wide Stance Squats to High Bar/Narrow Stance Squats.

    Exercise Selection

    Those Auxiliary Exercise might work.

    However, I am more of a proponent of if you are Squatting, then change the exercise to another Auxiliary Squatting Movement; performing Auxiliary Exercise with a similar movement pattern.

    Every 2 Weeks

    To reiterate, the length of how often you change an Auxiliary Exercise is dependent on how quickly you adapt.

    Learn To Strain and Plateauing

    I agree that you need to learn how to gut it out.

    How quickly you plateau has to do with how quickly you adapt.

    Technique Training

    Technique development is optimized with loads of 85% plus of your one repetition max for singles.

    Using lighter weight at maximum velocity provides some technique but not specifically for a 1 Repetition Max.

    Baseball Batter Example

    Hitting a 60 mph fast ball make you good at hitting a 60 mph fast ball. It doesn't make you good at hitting a 90 mph fast ball.

    Adaptation Time

    How quickly you adapt to an exercise determines how long you can train the same exercise.

    The Weak Link

    Yes, that is one of the reasons for changing exercise.

    Repetition Days

    Repetition Days can help with working the weakness.

    However, Repetition Day are for increasing muscle mass and increasing recovery by pumping blood into the tissue.

    To strengthen the weak point in a movement, some type of Limit Strength Training specific to the weak point provide a greater training effect.

    With that said, Speed (Power) Power Training is also required.

    The sticking point is the mud hole you are trying to drive through with your car. You want to enter the mud hole with speed, generating enough momentum to help you slide through to the other side.

    Novice Lifers

    No, they don't need to vary their exercises that often.

    Kenny Croxale
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019

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