|Image 1: Look at his legs, Ronnie Coleman must have done something right... and guess what, the study at hand suggests that part of it could have been his insane training volume.|
Finally a study on subjects "like you and me" ;-)
After an initial 2-week standardization phase with 9 training sessions on a 3-way split, in the course of which the subjects did not squat, they were randomized to one of the three volume conditions (Low = 1-Set; Medium = 4-Sets; High = 8-Sets, cf. figure 1).
|Figure 1: Outline of the training protocol that was used in the study (adapted from Robbins. 2012)|
|Figure 2: Repetitions per set in the first set and average repetitions per set in all working sets (left) and minimal (avg. - 1x standard deviation) and maximal (avg. +1SD) total number of barbell squat repetitions the subjects in the 1-, 4- and 8-SET groups performed during the 6-week volume manipulation phase (data adapted from Robbins. 2012)|
There is no "one size fits it all" volume, but ...
If we now take a look at the actual study outcome in figure 3 it becomes obvious that at least a certain sub-group of those "practitioners" will probably also have to revise their approach to building strength from a very low, to a higher volume approach. After all, the 1-SET group did not only register the smallest gains in lower body strength, a statistically significant increase in strength (as denoted by the asterisk "*" in figure 3) did occur only in the second half of the intervention period, whereas the subjects in both the 4- and 8-SET groups experienced statistically significant strength gains right from the start.
|Figure 3: Maximal squat strength (kg) and relative increase in squat strength during different periods of the study; * statistically different from baseline, # statistically different from 1-SET group (data adapted from Robbins. 2012)|
[...] over the longer 6-week period, the accumulated volume and associated training stimulus were sufficient to elicit an effect similar to that elicited via the 4-SET conditionThis does yet not change the significantly greater and above all steady increases in lower body strength in the 8-SET group, which - somewhat surprisingly - continued even into the post 4-week post program phase, when the study participants were again training according to identical full-body workout plans.
... for advanced trainees a higher volume appears to illicit favorable lower body strength gains.
|Image 2: Only a few "gifted" and often "artificially enhanced" athletes can train still intense, when they increase their training volume to Coleman'ish or in this case Tom Platz'ish levels,|
These results do yet not justify the insane 2h+ "mammoth" leg workouts especially bony beginners (I would hope they are beginners, as they surely look like that) like to do to "bring up their wheels" - I mean, come on, even if you use Coleman'ish "supplements" doing 5 sets of squats, 4 sets of leg presses, 3 sets of lunges, 3 sets of leg extensions and whatever else may come to your mind will either burn you out within 2 weeks, or amplify the aforementioned tendency "to hold back" to a degree that will turn your strength into a whacky cardio workout.
So, please bear in mind: If some is good and more is better, this rarely means that even more would be even better... but I guess this is enough "wise-assing" for today ;-)