Workout Volume is Killing Your Gains!

  • Published: 09 May 2019
  • If you’ve been around any gym or online forum these days you’ve likely heard that training volume is the key to all muscle growth and gains. In fact, of every other element of your workouts, the amount of training volume you accrue over a single workout or multiple workouts is supposed to be the main driver of muscle growth and size. In this video, I’m going to debunk the value of volume. In fact, I’m going to show you how volume can be almost entirely negated in the absence of something far more important - training intensity.

    Much like functional training was the buzz word of the early 2000’s, volume has become the equivalent for 2019. We have been led to believe that simply adding more sets and time to our workouts is going to equate to faster and more significant muscle growth. This has led to an epidemic of people spending more time than ever in the gym, getting far less results than ever before.

    Not to mention, with all the additional volume being misdirected towards their joints and tendons there are more people gaining aches and pains from their training than they are hypertrophy. Why is this? Because accruing volume for the sake of volume is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your workouts. The best thing you can do is trade in some of that volume for intensity if you really want to see increased muscle mass and development.

    As it is, I believe that many people in the gym simply don’t train hard enough. The adoption of volume as the driver of gains and the focus of many people’s workouts is something that easily fits that narrative. Rather than work harder with less, all that is required to obtain more volume is time. If you have additional time to spare, you can add more sets to your workouts. That said, the only way you are going to add more intensity is with more effort.

    Effort is something that will not come easy. Effort is going to demand that you look for ways to intensify the state of your workouts. Adding paused repetitions, reducing rest time between sets, pushing to actual failure at least a few times during your workouts are all things that are going to require a higher level of output and effort than simply adding more time.

    If you want to see greater muscle growth from your workouts you are going to have to be willing to push harder. What winds up happening when you trade in workout length for intensity is that you see what science has shown and that is, even as little as 4-10 productive high effort sets is all it takes to elicit a muscle hypertrophy response from your training. There is no need to spend hours and hours in a gym trying to get results when far less time is capable of doing the same.

    If you are looking for a program that shows you how to train hard and not have to train long, then click on the link below and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System that best matches your goals. Start training like an athlete and get more out of your workouts every time you step into the gym.

    For more videos on how to build muscle fast and the right way to split your workouts for maximum muscle gains, be sure to subscribe to our channel at the link below and turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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Comments • 3 630

    ATHLEAN-X™   7 months back

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* - Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected WITHIN the first hour the video is published. So don't b*tch if you're not one of them :) Just try next time. Click the link to see if you’ve won. Good luck!

    If you don’t win, no worries. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

    • Sam Shepherd
      Sam Shepherd  4 weeks back

      Jeff i have a question I hope you see this and are able to answer. Im only able to train 2 times a week. I train on Wednesday and Sunday but I train 3 hrs each session total of 6 hrs a week. I train with serious intensity and do full body workouts each time hitting all the big lifts with high reps. I know this is not ideal at all but it's my only option with work, college, and kids. I'm 30 years old, 220lbs, 5ft 11in, male. What are your opinions is this safe? Ok worried about this rhabdomyolysis I keep hearing about and overtraining. Body feels fine except after the workout I'm absolutely wiped out but I eat alot, plenty of water, and at least 6 hours of sleep per night.

    • jgfjgfify
      jgfjgfify  5 months back

      Low reps, *HIGH Weight,* challenge and intensity. Like all things in life, you don't get better doing the same thing you've done a million times. We get better when we *Challenge* ourselves. *Aka: Quality over quantity.* If you're not challenging yourself in your lifting, and only doing a zillion lightweight sets? You're not getting the best results.

    • Rayford Dunbar
      Rayford Dunbar  7 months back

      Hey, I'm a 52yr old male, I'm 6'4" 280lbs. I'd like to get around 225/235lbs. The only place I can get a workout in my city is Planet Fitness. They only have dumbbells up to 75lbs and no way to bench without using a Smith Machine. I workout 5 days a week but I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels. Can you do a segment for those of us who don't have access to a gym with equipment like your gym?

    • Bio Zelink
      Bio Zelink  7 months back

      ATHLEAN-X™ Jeff i really respect you, but you shouldn't act like your method is the end all be all of training. Failure is a good tool for sure but not really necessary in every set. Squats for example or bench press. It's not a very good idea to hit yourself with the bar is it.

      I get what you're saying though.

  • Christopher Clarkin
    Christopher Clarkin  8 hours back

    Thumbs up!

    • Raptors for the Win
      Raptors for the Win  18 hours back

      what about doing 3 sets each of incline, bench x2, and decline bench? thats 12 sets a week - is it fine since they are diff parts of the chest?

      • Andrew Evered
        Andrew Evered  1 days back

        Jeff, How does rep range play into this?

        • abdul ahad
          abdul ahad  1 days back

          who came here after Greg Doucette Commented on Jeff Nippard commented on Jeff Cavaliere

          • Florin Stan
            Florin Stan  2 days back

            Who’s here after doctor Greg doucette?

            • Martin Iversen
              Martin Iversen  3 days back

              Breathing air is killing your gains!

              • Kunwardeep Singh
                Kunwardeep Singh  5 days back

                Me: * breathes *
                Jeff: Gains killing your breathing!

                • alex razorback
                  alex razorback  5 days back

                  People should learn about Dorian Yates.
                  1 set to failure. 6x Mr Olympia.
                  Well done Jeff.
                  Finally someone said it!

                  • UX Ama
                    UX Ama  5 days back

                    I watched jeff nipard's video last night and now this came in my recommendation

                    • YangSword9x
                      YangSword9x  5 days back

                      If you're not gonna take a lunch breaks in between 3 sets same muscle, & rest 2-3 weeks...before same muscle again...
                      -I'd recommend 8-9 sets.

                      • Always Be Kind
                        Always Be Kind  5 days back

                        I love this! But how can I know when to start increasing my volume?

                        • Dan The McCoy
                          Dan The McCoy  5 days back

                          Jeff Nippard brought me here.

                          • Daedric Royalty
                            Daedric Royalty  5 days back

                            Thanks for this info Jeff, but I've been following your perfect workout videos and for a push pull legs split, it's extremely high volume, like 3 hours a day, I've been getting leaner and more ripped but in terms of gaining mass it's been quite sad, I'm 6 ft tall and now weigh 144 lb, I'm gonna try to split the perfect workout over 3 days because otherwise this is gonna continue

                            • Matt Cutts
                              Matt Cutts  5 days back

                              There seems to be a very equal division between weight training experts recommending going to failure vs. leaving 2-3 reps (usually 2) in the tank. For example, Jeff Nippard just released a fairly substantiated video on the subject of volume in which he supports leaving a few reps in the tank, but it was piggy-backed off this Jeff Cavalier video -- and as we know, Cavalier supports always going to failure. So which is it? Or is this another training facet that needs to be individually tailored?

                              • TLR Sexuality
                                TLR Sexuality  5 days back

                                Yea I was killing my gains with too much volume my whole life until
                                recently. I always thought that working out more meant more gains.
                                Instead it just caused a bunch of health problems, (shoulder impingement
                                & spinal problems). Less is more when done right.

                                • TLR Sexuality
                                  TLR Sexuality  5 days back

                                  Yea I was killing my gains with too much volume my whole life until
                                  recently. I always thought that working out more meant more gains.
                                  Instead it just caused a bunch of health problems, (shoulder impingement
                                  & spinal problems). Less is more when done right.

                                  • Manuel Moreno
                                    Manuel Moreno  5 days back

                                    Next video: how Jeff’s markers are killing your gains

                                    • patwams48
                                      patwams48  6 days back


                                      • Erick Salas
                                        Erick Salas  6 days back

                                        My dumbass thought volume on my music while working out 😂

                                        • Spencer Craig
                                          Spencer Craig  6 days back

                                          Hey Jeff! I’m trying to better understand what you’re saying. For example if one were to do Incline Bench 3x5 and Flat Dumbbell Press 3x8 at a high intensity in the same workout, would that be too much volume on the chest? For a relatively new lifter in this scenario.

                                          • iodineclip
                                            iodineclip  6 days back

                                            how much reps is considered high volume?

                                            what if i do 6 sets, 8 reps each. is that ok?

                                            • Saagar Patel
                                              Saagar Patel  2 days back

                                              I do not think he means reps, he means sets... Basically saying if you do too many sets per muscle group, you get negative effects (loss of gains)

                                          • Willems Pierre
                                            Willems Pierre  6 days back

                                            Solid.... "Junk Sets" are the biggest gain killers and gym fillers..

                                            • Eugene Martiny
                                              Eugene Martiny  6 days back

                                              So should we do 10 sets in one workout, or 2 set a day for 5 days? Or 10 sets, but twice a week for the frequency? Its as clear as mud to me.

                                              • Markus Bond
                                                Markus Bond  6 days back

                                                Can we get examples? Do we need to do 2 chest exercises for 6 sets going to failure or....

                                                • Julian Sierra
                                                  Julian Sierra  6 days back

                                                  Intensity is what I hear from all of this. As long as all you’re set have intensity volume is secondary. Progressive overload 👍🏽

                                                  • Camden Hanson
                                                    Camden Hanson  6 days back

                                                    So am I suppose to do 2 chest workouts for a whole week

                                                    • Krist Sostad
                                                      Krist Sostad  6 days back

                                                      Had to watch after Jeff Nippard’s response

                                                      • Mohamed Abdallah
                                                        Mohamed Abdallah  6 days back

                                                        Hi Jeff
                                                        What if I do a high volume (20sets per week), high intensity workout, and my recovery is very fast. Do I still have to decrease the volume or just stay with it?
                                                        I am seeing gains by the way, but I feel it's slow compared to the intensity of my workouts.
                                                        Thanks in advance

                                                        • RJ Lugatiman
                                                          RJ Lugatiman  6 days back

                                                          Im here because of Jeff Nippard

                                                          • Deelaka
                                                            Deelaka  6 days back

                                                            How would one increase intensity?

                                                            • Sean Macneil
                                                              Sean Macneil  6 days back

                                                              Can someone clarify does he mean 4-10 hard sets a session or per body part a week?

                                                            • seth hinson
                                                              seth hinson  6 days back

                                                              Working out is as complicated as rocket appliances these days

                                                            • Yacine D
                                                              Yacine D  6 days back

                                                              I love those titles haha

                                                              • Diego Kafie
                                                                Diego Kafie  7 days back

                                                                I do a pull push legs split. Training muscle groups twice a week. What rep range and set range would you suggest??

                                                                • Deez Nuts
                                                                  Deez Nuts  7 days back

                                                                  Who's here after jeff nippard posted his response

                                                                  • Mark Benneth
                                                                    Mark Benneth  3 days back


                                                                  • chayoto
                                                                    chayoto  6 days back

                                                                    @Vince Ricci Amen to that. That point at which the two lines cross. And then there's a qualitative aspect that mustn't be overlooked: proper form.

                                                                  • Krist Sostad
                                                                    Krist Sostad  6 days back


                                                                  • Vince Ricci
                                                                    Vince Ricci  6 days back

                                                                    Deez Nuts: Yeah just watched Nippards video and following up watching Jeff C's. To me the bottom line is that training volume and intensity should be balanced for optimal results. Need a certain balance of both for best results.

                                                                  • Goutham M
                                                                    Goutham M  6 days back

                                                                    Nippard explained a recent study on this and pretty much confirmed what Cavalier is saying here.

                                                                • WingChun
                                                                  WingChun  7 days back

                                                                  I do my workouts at work, if I go to failure every time I workout I wouldn't be able to do my work afterwards. I still need some performance ability after the gym as a Fire-fighter.

                                                                  • Eric Mendoza
                                                                    Eric Mendoza  7 days back

                                                                    Thank you! Needed that!

                                                                    • Jarod Grayson
                                                                      Jarod Grayson  7 days back

                                                                      I Bet C.T. Fletcher &Mike Rashid Would Disagree with This 😉

                                                                      • Jarod Grayson
                                                                        Jarod Grayson  7 days back

                                                                        @JasonWW2000 Well Said 😎 or should I Say Well Wrote lol

                                                                      • JasonWW2000
                                                                        JasonWW2000  7 days back

                                                                        Those are elite athletes that need higher volume. Trust me, those guys dont need Jeff's advice. They know their bodies well and what works for them.

                                                                    • Tiago Campos
                                                                      Tiago Campos  7 days back

                                                                      Volume IS the MAIN driver for hypertrophy!! Intensity is also key but volume is much more important! This is proven beyond doubt. There are many things related to hypertrophy that are not known yet but THIS IS known!
                                                                      The thing is you have to find your own values of volume and you do that by acquiring experience through years of training. Beyond a certain volume you are indeed affecting your gains negatively. But after a while you will find your "sweet spot" in which you make most gains if you're serious about your training and you track your progress.
                                                                      Confusing your viewers with so many contradicting videos is not cool man!

                                                                      • MusicStudent1
                                                                        MusicStudent1  7 days back

                                                                        What about 10 sets of 10 with serious intensity? I just did 10 x 10, standing ez curl barbell curls, 35 lb. plates on each side. The 1st set was just as intense as the 10th. What I noticed is it took longer to recover, over 48 hrs. you can’t get to the gym text week for say travel or work,, 10 x 10 would be a good workout before the layoff. That’s what I learned. I think what Jeff is saying is train intense.

                                                                        • H L
                                                                          H L  7 days back

                                                                          No thanks. I'll stick to what works for me

                                                                          • palo
                                                                            palo  7 days back

                                                                            Jeff Nippard

                                                                            • Andrew Frank
                                                                              Andrew Frank  7 days back

                                                                              The problem with bro splits is the tapered volume approach... 45 sets for chest, 35 for arms, 20 for back, 0 for legs haha.

                                                                              • Doc Green
                                                                                Doc Green  7 days back

                                                                                Why are all the fitness you tubers so jacked if too much volume is a issue, just saying

                                                                                • JasonWW2000
                                                                                  JasonWW2000  7 days back

                                                                                  Those may be the ones with good genetics? The other 99.9% did not become fitness youtubers. Most of these youtubers have been training for many years, more years than you may realize. These more elite athletes need more volume to make gains compared to folks who are more entry level.

                                                                              • Sodaeute
                                                                                Sodaeute  7 days back

                                                                                came here from jeff nippard

                                                                                • Stallshula
                                                                                  Stallshula  1 weeks back

                                                                                  Deadlifts is killing your gains. Eating is killing your gains. Breathing is killing your gains.

                                                                                  • Jeff Sim
                                                                                    Jeff Sim  1 weeks back

                                                                                    As a 41yr old, not being concerned with hitting PRs and lowering the weight a little bit while increasing volume has allowed me to train consistently throughout the year with out joint/ligament pain. It's been really good for me as an older lifter.