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In this podcast, I chat with scientist and friend Dr. Bill Campbell about training volume. There’s a recent trend in the fitness space that more volume is always better. Is that always true, though? And if you do want to increase your volume, what’s the best way to do it? You’re going to learn all that and more in this interview. 

In case you’re not familiar with Dr. Campbell, he’s a professor of Exercise Science and the Director of the Performance & Physique Enhancement Laboratory at the University of South Florida, who’s also published more than 150 scientific papers. He also recently started a research review in which he examines scientific papers and breaks them down into simple, actionable takeaways. 

In other words, Dr. Campbell has long been behind the scenes, conducting research on practical, fitness-related matters and helping people apply the latest findings to get us more jacked.

In this interview, Bill and I talk about . . .

  • The right way to count volume (sets, tonnage, etc.)
  • The practical limits of increasing volume (and how to increase volume the right way)
  • The utility of “test days” and training to failure every so often
  • The drawbacks of training to failure (especially for athletes)
  • Why rest times between sets matter
  • How to count indirect volume for muscle groups 
  • And more . . .

So, if you want to learn what the latest science says about training volume and if you should adjust your workout programming, don’t miss this episode! 


0:00 – Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching:

5:29 – Can you tell us about your research review?

9:11 – Where can people find that?

9:36 – Does more volume help you build more muscle?

15:07 – What are some of the drawbacks of the tonnage method?

18:24 – What are your thoughts on the studies that conclude that more and more volume is better?

28:04 – In this study, were there instances where the individualized leg grew more than the non individualized leg?

30:03 – What are your thoughts on increasing volume relative to where you’re at? Is there a ceiling to potential muscle growth that volume can stimulate?

36:29 – At what point is it not practical to increase volume per week?

41:44 – Why do you suggest training to around 3 reps left as opposed to training to failure?

48:59 – What are your thoughts on shorter rest times in between sets to save time?

51:49 – Why do we need to rest for 3 minutes in between hard sets?

54:18  – What is a good method to increasing volume and why would a person want to?

58:13 – Can you elaborate on decreasing and increasing volume?

1:00:47 – How should people choose between a direct or indirect volume training program?

1:08:03 – Is there anything you would like to mention?

1:10:58 – Where can we find you and your work?

Mentioned on the Show:

Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching:

Bill Campbell’s Instagram:

Bill’s website:

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Mike: Hello and welcome to Muscle For Life. I am Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for an episode on training volume, because recently there is a trend in the fitness space, particularly in the evidence based fitness space, and that is toward more volume, not less in the idea that more volume is always better if you want to gain muscle and strength as quickly as possible.

Of course, you can only do so much volume. Most people will acknowledge that. But if you want to get big and strong as quickly as possible, should you try to do as much volume as you possibly can, as you can possibly recover. Is that true? Is it a little bit true? Is it completely true? Is it always true? Is it sometimes a little bit true?

Sometimes completely true? You are going to hear answers to those questions and more in today’s episode, which is an interview with my buddy, Dr. Bill Campbell, who is a professor of Exercise science and the Director of the Performance and Physique Enhancement Laboratory at the University of South Florida.

Bill has published more than 150 scientific papers and has recently started a research review, which you can find over at Bill Campbell. C A M P B E L, in which bill examines scientific papers on body composition. In particular, that is the focus of his research review, how to improve body composition.

And it is heavily focused on practicality, not just understanding things that might be interesting or understanding theory, but application. How do you put this scientific information into use to lose fat and build muscle and stay healthy? And again, you can check that out [email protected]. And so in this interview, Bill and I talk about counting volume.

There are different ways to count volume. Should it be total sets? Should it be total tonnage, should it be hard sets, and so forth. We talk about the practical limits of increasing volume and how to increase volume the right way, because sometimes, as you will learn in this episode, it does make sense to do more volume than you are currently doing.

But let’s say you need to do 50% more volume than you are currently doing to achieve your goals. Should you just make that jump one week to the next, or should you increase volume incrementally? Bill talks about some of the drawbacks of training to failure, especially for athletes. Why rest times matter between sets and more.

But first, how would you like to know a little secret that will help you get into the best shape of your life? Here it is. The business model for my V I P coaching service sucks. Boom, mic drop. And what in the fiddly frack am I talking about? While most coaching businesses try to keep their clients around for as long as possible, I take a different approach.

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But I’m okay with that because my mission is not to just help you gain muscle and lose fat. It’s to give you the tools and to give you the know-how that you need to forge ahead in your fitness without me. So dig this when you sign up for my coaching, we don’t just take you by the hand and walk you through the entire process of building a body you can be proud of.

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And schedule your free consultation. Call now and let’s see if my one-on-one coaching service is right for you. Hey Bill. Hey, good afternoon. Yeah, thanks for coming back on my podcast. 

Bill: Thank you for inviting me again. Yeah. 

Mike: Yeah. I’m excited to talk to you today about volume, which is something that a lot of people are talking about.

A lot of people ask me about, there are different schools of thought on how effective volume is for hypertrophy, how much volume you should be doing, how much volume you could be doing, and what that might mean for additional muscle growth. And this is something that you recently covered in your research review, which if you wanna quickly tell people about, and then let’s just get into it.

Bill: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for the opportunity. So I recently launched in July, a Body by Science Research Review. For anybody who’s not familiar with what a research review is, what I’m offering is I s. Two studies every month that are solely focused on building muscle and losing body fat. In addition to me summarizing these research studies, I bring in two experts.

They could be physique coaches, dieticians, physicians, other researchers, people like yourself, Mike, that help me apply the research. So I always like to tell people, you can read all the research you want if you don’t have a plan for applying it into the, into your life, or if you’re a fitness professional into the lives of your clients.

It’s not very helpful. 

Mike: And sometimes there’s a disconnect there, right? Between even what is scientifically optimal and what is practical, what people can or will actually do, right? 

Bill: Yes. Yep. Yeah. And you have to meet people where they’re at, and that’s part of this heart. So as I bring in the experts, I think that’s my favorite part.

And again, it’s called Body by science. And if you’re into fat loss and building muscle, or keeping your muscle when you’re dieting this, I think this is a great resource to keep you current and to stimulate ideas in your own training or for in your business if you’re a fitness 

Mike: professional. And I would say also if you wanna improve your scientific literacy, it’s a great resource for that too, because, You are producing it for layman.

You are not speaking exclusively to your peers. You’re not speaking exclusively to people with PhDs who understand the intricacies of scientific research. And for example, I like that you don’t use a lot of jargon. You explain in simple terms what is done in these studies and what this might mean, and researchers, how they interpreted this, and how you interpret this and so forth.

So that’s something that even I myself, like with research reviews like this, because I guess I, I’m probably more scientifically literate than the average person, but I’m not at your level. So there are certain things, like if we get too into the weeds with statistical methodologies, for example, I get a bit lost and then I have to stop.

And maybe I’m gonna have to spend now an hour digging through statistical Math to understand one paragraph that, again, somebody like you would read and be like, Yeah, sure. That makes sense. It’s also worth mentioning. 

Bill: Yeah. Thank you. And it, and if an average person can’t read this and understand what the research was, then I did not do my job.

And you should cancel your subscription. One of my tests is my wife has to read it and not ask me any questions about what does this mean? I’ve failed, if that’s the case. So it is a passion of mine to break down the research in a way that you know exactly what research was done and what the results were.

And then again, the experts helping us to apply it. That’s the essence of it. 

Mike: That’s great. And where can people find that? We’re talking about it, so we might as well just tell ’em if they wanna already go check. 

Bill: So my website is where you can get it. It’s bill campbell And I’m, I give away the inaugural issue for free.

So if something that you just want to test drive, just go to my website, bill campbell and you can download the inaugural issue for free. 

Mike: Great. All right. So let’s let’s talk about volume and we can start this discussion wherever you want to start it. I’ll just throw something out there that has been circulating for it’s been at least a year now maybe a little bit longer.

And that is the idea that the more volume you do, the more muscle you will build, period. And. Almost in it looks to be forever. It is if you’re currently doing 15 hard sets for your biceps every week, 30 hard sets is going to be much better. Maybe not double the muscle growth, but it’s gonna be much better.

And if you could somehow get to 50 hard sets, that’s gonna be better still. So I’m just gonna give that to you and you can, if you want to table that and come back to it, that’s fine, but that’s just something that in particular, a lot of people have asked me. Yeah, so 

Bill: I’ll try to tackle that now. And I have a dichotomy of my thoughts on volume.

There’s huge problems with all of the research that’s done on volume, almost all of the research. And I actually talk about that and I think it’s issue number two of the Body by Science research Review. So I do wanna mention that, Let me start with this. The reason I think that increasing volume over time, and you wanna be careful cuz there are some big implications when you increase volume over time.

You can get out of hand quickly. But the reason that my opinion is that it that it does build muscle is because all of the research, and there’s a prox, this universe of research is about 30 studies, 28, 32, but it’s around 30 studies where the sole purpose of the study by the researchers was designed to look at increasing volume and assessing muscle hypertrophy.

So there’s the universe of studies. All of those studies reported one of two things. Either an increase in muscle hypertrophy or no gain. So there’s never a harm in terms of muscle hypertrophy. Now, again, we can talk about over training sports performance. We’re not looking at those outcomes, at least not now.

The other reason that my default position is what I’m basing my opinion on is that these are multiple labs, different researchers using multiple methods. Sometimes ultrasound, sometimes mri, sometimes dxa. So again, my interpretation of literature, if you increase volume, you should expect no harm and potentially gains in muscle.

Now again, I caveated this with, there’s a lot of problems with the current research that’s based on. And what are you gonna, You’re gonna keep increasing volume. Good luck next year or two years down the line, cuz you’ve just set yourself up for an unattainable. Baseline of volume that, that logic word ends, so to speak.

Mike: Yep. Yeah. It ends in injury. This where, that’s where it will end eventually. And even if it’s not an acute injury, it’s gonna be a repetitive stress injury. Or multiple. No, this is something you’ll probably get to, it depends how you want to define volume. But it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about increasing reps, poundage hard sets, however you wanna define it.

We know that is maybe an example of theoretical versus practical. You can only go so far until your recovery falls behind and eventually you get hurt. 

Bill: Yeah. Or lose your motivation to train before you get hurt if you’re just gonna trudge through it. So this is one of my favorite topics about how you define volume.

I love science and I love simplicity. So in my opinion, the simplest way to track your volume, and I might add, it’s also scientifically validated. It’s a concept, I call it set volume or is that you familiar with set volume? 

Mike: Yeah, I think we’re talking about the same. I give Greg Knuckles credit.

I like hard sets is how he talks about it, but yes. 

Bill: Yeah, same. Yes. So any set, not counting warmup sets, but any set that you do that’s near failure. So where you could only do one, maybe two. And according to the research that has validated this, within three repetitions of failure to where you could do another rib, you would simply count that set towards that muscle group.

So if I did five sets of bench press and I took every one of them to where I thought I could do one more rep, that’s five sets, set volume for my. And I love that because one, it’s simple. And again, I’m, I love simplicity and I’ve done some work on this. It’s validated, like it’s validated in literature.

There’s a lot more problems that get introduced when you start looking at tonnage. When you multiply reps, times, sets, times weight, that, that introduces a lot more things. So let’s just mention one of the big problems with this research on all of the resistance training volume for muscle hypertrophy is a lack of a standardization of effort or intensity.

So if each set is not taken to the same standard, which would be failure or near failure, one study can’t be interpreted the same way. So the best studies are those that increased volume and that controlled for intensity, or I like to call it effort. 

Mike: And before we continue on that line, would you mind just commenting on some of the drawbacks of the tonnage?

Method. And then maybe if you wanna also quickly comment on total reps, because this is also something that people, a lot of people wonder, how should I be counting my volume? Yeah. 

Bill: A big major problem that I have with ton of, which is basically this is where you’re gonna track your volume by how much weight you’ve lifted.

So if you do 10 reps at a hundred pounds for 10 sets, what is it that’s 10,000 pounds on any given exercise, if you’re gonna use tonnage, total weight to base all of your decisions, whether you’re gonna increase volume, decrease volume here’s where this really falls apart. Squats and leg breath.

So let’s assume for a moment that squats with 200 pounds will tax my body, have the same stimulus on my body as 400 pounds. Let’s just double it for 10 reps on the leg breath. So let me restate that. I did 10 reps of a back squat. With 200 pounds that has introduced a stimulus on my body that’s equal to the stimulus, that 400 pounds for 10 reps that the leg press did fill my body perceives both of them as the same stimulus for growth because 

Mike: of course you would be able to do a lot more on the leg press is 


Bill: point.

Yes. So the leg press is double the tonnage. And what happens that in a given week or two where you’ve done more leg press workouts than squat? So there’s just a simple example where tonnage falls apart and that’s just one example. You’ve got chest flies versus bench press. You’ve got all of these again, it just introduces so many problem.

And again, I’m, I just, I love 

Mike: set volume. It also, you mentioned this, that this point of effort is very important. The tonnage doesn’t reflect how much effort went into each of those sets. So you could rack up more tonnage doing a bunch of low effort sets. You could just sit in the gym for three hours doing a bunch of real sub max, just low effort stuff.

And if you were thinking that’s how you track volume and I just increased my volume, I should gain more muscle. No, you won’t. If you went from training with a lot of effort, lower amount of tonnage to that for a period of time you might not lose muscle, but you’re probably gonna get weaker.

You’re not gonna get stronger and fitter during that. Almost like a, it’s not a de training phase, but it’d be like a, I don’t know a very low effort maintenance phase, I guess you could say. 

Bill: Yeah. And thank you for mentioning that. I, that’s even more of a baseline issue with tonnage. Exactly.

That it’s, if you’re not controlling for effort, like you said, I’ll just do 10 pound dumbbells for three hours cuz I could do it. I got a lot of tonnage, I’m growing. Nope. 

Mike: Yep. Yep. And total reps have the same types of problems, right? 

Bill: Yes. Yep. Yep. Same thing. 

Mike: Yep. Okay, cool. So I just wanted to, I just wanted to quickly divert to the, on that because I think it’s, I think it’s it’s good and it’s relevant to the discussion, but coming back to you were talking about how, alright, the best research on volume, it controls for effort and so I’m assuming where you want to go from there is, All right.

When you look at that research, then in particular, what’s the message? What’s the signal in that research as opposed to the 30 ish studies that. Many people will look at in the aggregate and again, conclude and this, you’ve seen this conclude that more volumes better and you just can keep doing more and more forever, as long as you can’t, as long as you don’t get hurt.

If you can get up to 50 hard sets per week for your biceps, then do that if you want really big biceps. 

Bill: Yeah. And I also add in control for effort and frequency ideally. So the same number of days per week that you’re stimulating a muscle group. Ideally that’s controlled for as well, 

Mike: even volume per session, ideally.

Because we know that doing 20 sets for one muscle group in one session is not going to be as effective as doing two 10 set sessions or three, six to seven set. Yes. 

Bill: So yeah, so now we’ve just reduced the approximately 30 studies that didn’t control for V for intensity, and now we have eight of them, or six, whatever.

We have the best study. Let me get into the next major problem with this . And it’s a big problem. The problem with that research, and this is everywhere, and I’m guilty of, I’ve published several resistance training studies and I violated this. I won’t do it anymore. So I’m not saying every other researcher is just a poor methodologist.

I’m also guilty of what I’m about to say or historically have been. 

Mike: And just because it was an oversight, I’m assuming, it’s just now you know more. Yes. 

Bill: Yeah. So these studies that were designed to investigate volume, so I’m gonna explain the problem and then I’ll give an example to bring it home.

The researchers did not assess the current training volume of the subjects of what they were doing before they entered the study. So let’s look at practical example. Let’s say researchers have a high volume group and a low volume group, they’re gonna compare 10 sets per week versus 20 sets per week. 20 sets being the high volume, 10 sets being a low volume group, and they’re gonna randomize their subjects to these two groups, which exactly what you should do.

That’s a great way to conduct a study. But what if a subject, let’s just say this is bicep. What if one of the subjects was doing 30 sets per week on their own and they were randomly assigned to the high volume group. So the researchers are taking that data and attributing their outcomes to a high volume of training, but what were they actually studying in that subject?

What is it? A 33% decrease in. The same could be true. What if somebody was in the low volume group? They were assigned to their, to the low volume group. But prior to this study, they were doing five sets per week for bicep. So they have increased their training volume by a hundred percent, but yet the way the study was designed by not accounting for their previous training volume, researchers are saying, This is what you can expect with low volume.

That’s not even close to what that subject was actually doing. They were increasing your volume. So I say all of this to say there’s a lot of holes in the volume research. One of the largest things we already mentioned was not controlling for intensity. The other, and this is almost all of them, Is not appreciating the current training volume of the subjects 

Mike: going into the study.

And then, so if you have to look at this existing literature with that additional lens now added, where does that leave us, ? 

Bill: That’s where I still, as I interpret the literature on average, again, everything in research is based on averages. On average, you’re gonna have some people that were likely incorrectly randomly assigned to one group and the other, but on average increases in volume associated with or have cause, cuz everything else was controlled in the best studies and increase in muscle hypertrophy.

Now let me talk about the best study that I found on Wolf. And this is the one that I in the Body by Science Research Review. This one study, the research did handle this. They addressed this. What they did was they had two groups of subjects. They had a non individualized group and an individualized group.

I think they actually did this within subjects model, which means they had one leg train, one way, one leg train the other. So it was actually the same subject. One leg doing one thing, one leg do thing in the other. 

Mike: So just so people understand, one leg would be the individualized and one leg would be the non individualized.

Bill: Yes. Yes. So what they did for the non individualized group or leg, they said, We’re gonna give you an an arbitrary amount of set volume to do. We’re gonna give you 22 cents per week. And this was a combination of leg press and leg extension. And they measured the muscle thickness, I think it was with ultrasound, maybe it was mri.

I can’t recall. They looked at the actual muscle growth in the quadriceps. And the way that they came up with 22 sets per week was, it was a random assignment based on 10 other resistance training studies. And that was the average resistance training volume that those 10 other studies were. So one group didn’t matter what they were doing.

They said, You’re doing 22 sets, whether you’re doing less than that, more than that, we don’t care. The other group or the other leg, they said, Whatever you are currently doing, we’re gonna increase that by 20%. So there was an individualized component to that group or that leg. And at the end of the study, I think it was a six or eight week study, both legs experienced a significant increase in muscle growth, but the individualized group who across the board increased their resistance training volume by 20%.

Had a significantly greater muscle hypertrophic response than just the arbitrary of it. Now, one other statement here, that does not mean that 20% is a magical number. They didn’t test 10, they didn’t test 30, and I would say 20% increases in your volume is pretty extreme. That can get outta hand very 

Mike: quickly.

Yeah, because it compounds if you’re gonna , if you’re gonna be aggressive with it, right? 

Bill: Yeah. If you do 20% each month, within six months, you’re gonna be in the gym eight hours. Like it, It is a compounded programming approach and you, it can be maintained. So yes, I think the principle is for coaches, for fitness professionals for people that are serious about their training base, your programming decisions on what you’re currently doing, there’s the principle, and now further research should seek to fine tune them, but I think 20% is way too high.

Unless you’re gonna do that on an annual basis, but that’s kinda wonky. 

Mike: Yeah. Couple follow up questions. So one is in this study, I’m curious, were there instances where somebody they were not doing 20 ish hard sets per week. Maybe they were doing 10 or 12 ish, let’s say, right? And they, in one leg, they’re essentially doubling their weekly volume.

Or maybe just even increasing, let’s just say 50% plus. Are there, were there instances where that leg grew less than the leg that was individualized, which had a smaller increase in volume? If you don’t remember exactly. Yeah, that’s fine. I’m just curious because if that is the case, that’s interesting, right?

Bill: Yeah. So let me tell you what I do remember, and then I’ll say what I think happened. So what I remember is in the non individualized leg, exactly what you would think some of those legs. We’re decreasing their volume by 50%. One of them was like 150% increase, so it was all over the board.

And there were some that were right, like that was their average. So they were just, staying the same, 

Mike: just doing their normal workouts. Yeah. 

Bill: Yes. And then I remember the graph, and I love what, when studies do this, when they tell you what happens on a per subject basis. And they did that in this study.

And yeah, I believe there were some people in the non individualized group that had a outstanding, maybe it decreased volume. I don’t remember the individual details, but there were some that had a great response to this arbitrary 22 sets per week. And then again, the way that research is reported, it’s on average, it was not as good as the individualized 

Mike: approach.

Yep. And just a comment on that point for something that I think is good for people to keep in mind when trying to understand research or interpret research, is this point of averages that if you have on average something doing better for the participants, worse no change. If you look into individual responses, what you often find is a bell curve, not always, but a normal kind of distribution, where on average, most of the people are in the middle, and maybe that middle is a little bit better, a little bit worse, or about the same.

But then you’ll often find a minority of people who did much better, minority of people who did much worse. And so if somebody were just reading the abstract of a study, Rita. On average this doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, but there are scenarios where, because of individual circumstances, if they were in that study, they might have been one of the really good high responders.

They were just in the minority, and that isn’t necessarily reflected in an abstract. Yeah, 

Bill: that’s absolutely right. Just to further that example, we recently did a diet break study in resistance trained females, and this isn’t published yet, but one of the things we were able to do was monitor their weight gain or loss during the week of the diet break.

So they took scales home and every day we had them weigh in and there was like a third of the subjects, I think it was like 40% that gained weight when they increased their calories for seven days back to maintenance. There was like 20, 25% that actually lost weight. And then there was like, this middle group, 15% that really didn’t gain or lose weight.

So th there’s a perfect example if I’m coaching somebody and my client’s educate and they say, Hey, the research says this. As a researcher, I would say, Yeah, that’s true on average, and we should, we shouldn’t be surprised if that happens, but do appreciate. There are some people that responded better than this.

There you, you may respond worse. So we can’t have a hundred percent faith in what the research reports because you are not an average. You are an individual data point. 

Mike: Yep. Very important point. Coming back to volume, so a key takeaway is increasing volume relative to where you’re at is going to be superior on average than just picking an arbitrary number.

That’s really high. And that also practically is gonna work better because if you’re going, I mean take lower body, if you’re doing 10 sets per week, let’s say you’re relatively new, you start with 10 sets per week, hard sets per week for your lower body, you’re gonna do quite well with that. We know that.

And eventually that’s not gonna be enough volume to continue gaining muscle and strength. And so you’re at that point it’s gonna be smarter to. I’m gonna bump that up to 11 or 12 sets and see where that gets me. That might be enough to eek out another couple months of muscle growth. It might be a month, it might be two, it might be three.

And then at that point, maybe you look at adding a little bit more. That approach is going to be superior to just going, All right, I’m ready to be hardcore. I’m gonna go from 10 to 20 hard sets simply because, thinking the amount of soreness you’re not gonna wanna do those workouts for for very long.

And I’d love to hear your comments on that if you agree with that approach. And then after that I would love to hear your thoughts on the ceiling. You do you think, cuz this is something again that there’s a debate on, is there essentially no ceiling to the potential.

Muscle growth that volume can stimulate. Are we only limited by our ability to recover and just sit in the gym for hours? 

Bill: So first part of that, going from 10 to 20 sets I think that would be insane. First of all you’re doubling the amount of time at a minimum because there’s a fatigue aspect in that as well.

Again I said earlier, I think 20% at a given time is too much in my opinion. I guess I, I know we have this I’d say it’s a consensus. I think most people would say less than 10 sets per muscle group is low volume, 10 to 20 is considered moderate volume, and then 20 or greater would be considered high volume.

And again, this would be on a per body part basis 

Mike: and per week. Just so people understand. Yeah. Yeah. Sets 

Bill: per muscle group per week. Yeah I’ll talk, We can, if we have time, I’ll get into what I’m currently doing it for my own volume and tracking it. Man, 20 setss per week is, that’s, again, I’m also assuming a non enhanced that somebody who’s not taking anabolic steroids, I think there’s a different class of lifter who I’m not basing my opinions on, which would be the enhanced athlete here.

And in terms of, is there a ceiling? Yeah, I believe so. I think I always go back to protein I, as I interpret the research on protein intake, the more and more protein you ingest, the, you still, in my opinion, you get a benefit. The more you eat. You keep getting benefits, but the more you eat, the less and less of a benefit you get.

So it’s, it’s like this. What’s the name of the curve? 

Mike: It just a Sy a sym. A asymptote. Asymptote, How you pronounce that? I can spell it. But yeah, we’re, It’s approaching zero, but it never reaches zero yet. 

Bill: Yes, that’s exactly right. So that’s my opinion on protein. And I, again, I’m just gonna, and say the same thing with volume.

There may be a benefit in a perfect world with continually, but that’s when we’re getting into like we’re admitting here, recovery, is it impacting your sleep? What about your, just your lifestyle, your time? Here’s what I think is the problem with going to high volumes. I think by default and I will say this is would be natural.

The intensity with which you are conducting those sets is probably not gonna be what it would otherwise be if you did less. And that’s something, the research as far as I know, hasn’t really addressed. So you can keep increasing your volume and I’m going to assume. That your intensity doesn’t change so that I can, compare apples to apples.

But if you’re gonna tell me that I’ve gotta do eight sets of leg press versus three, I might tell, I might try to convince myself that all eight sets or within a few repetitions of failure, they’re 

Mike: probably not. And, I in my training wouldn’t, I do four sets per exercise right now and that, that’s my standard.

But take leg press or a squat a any compound exercise that first set, I actually want to be around 3, 2, 2 or three good reps left because I just know that by set four that’s gonna. A one. And if I start with a one though, by set four, I’m probably gonna have to take weight off the bar or off of the machine, which it would actually, it occurred to me that could make for an interesting discussion.

What’s better push to one on that first set and basically keep every set at one ish good rep left, but you gotta take weight off the bar. Or the first set is three, maybe two or three good reps left. And then set four is maybe one good rep left, but you did not have to take weight off of the bar. However, regardless to your point, doing it the latter way, like where set one is all out almost to failure.

And then doing that every single. That’s a lot more taxing. Coming back to recovery and soreness, I run into that still where in my training blocks I start with sets of 10 and then I progressively over the course of four months move into heavier weights. So by the end, I’m doing like sets of fours and twos when I start.

I just did it last week. Tens I squatted on Thursday, did lower body on Thursday. I’m still sore. I couldn’t deadlift today. I was like, Oh, my legs are too sore. And that’s, that was only 12 hard sets in that workout. But those are pretty hard sets. Yeah. And 

Bill: that, that factors into it just again, I think it always goes back to recovery.

Mike: And then, so what are your thoughts then, practically speaking, at what point is it just not practical anymore to further increase volume? Like hard sets per, for a major muscle group 

Bill: in a. In my opinion, and then this is my opinion, this is not based on, on, on evidence. Your first priority should be on effort.

So if you can only do one set with an effort that’s near failure or then, and then two and then that would be, I think effort or intensity is the primary driver of muscle hypertrophy. Assuming, I’m assuming we’re focused on muscle hypertrophy. Once that’s taken care of and you can maintain a high effort, then the next priority would be, okay, can I over time increase volume?

And that can be stepwise over a period of time and then dropping back down and going stepwise again. Again cuz it can get out of hand with the compounded effect if you’re just gonna constantly be increasing volume. So that, those are my thoughts. And intensity’s gotta be the focus I’m going through.

Lift hard and when somebody says they’re gonna stop three reps, shy of failure. That’s still not an easy set. Technically it wouldn’t matter. The load wouldn’t matter if you’re always going to three rep shy failure. That is a hard workout there. There’s nothing easy about that. 

Mike: Yep. Yeah that’s a good point.

And I refer to this, I don’t think it’s a technical, an official technical term. It’s just something that I talk about intensity, discipline and trying not to deceive ourselves about how. Good reps. We actually have left. And I catch myself. I’ve been paying attention to this more closely for at least a year now, and been tracking my reps in reserve my perception of it in my training spreadsheet.

And so I’m able to see over time how my loads trend reps and my perception of effort. And I’ll catch myself sometimes on certain exercises ending a set. I just yesterday I was doing an incline press. It was a machine kind of incline press. I wanted to try it out. And it was my third set and I had done eight or nine reps, and I marked that down as like a two reps in reserve.

And then I had an, I had a thought that I was like I don’t think so. I think I think I could have done a few more than that. And so I then this is my next set. This is my fourth set, so I should, I’m a little bit even more fatigued now than that third set. And because It’s a machine. Not that pushing to absolute failure on a, on incline bench.

Price is a big deal if you have a spotter, but it’s a machine. So I’m like, all right, I’m just gonna, I’m gonna go for it and see what failure really looks like here. And I did 13 I try to, I feel like it’s easier for me to perceive it properly on free weight exercise, on a squat.

I feel like I’m pretty good. That when that final rep is a grinder and that bar has really slowed down, I think I’ve maintained a pretty good perception there, deadlifting as well. I don’t push it to that point. I don’t like to deadlift until I’m like shaking, trying to get the bar up.

I don’t think it’s necessary, but just in a very important point that you brought up is how hard are you training really? And if you don’t ever really push it, you can lose your perception, of what is failure, because often, We can do a little bit more than we think. 

Bill: Yeah. And I like the idea of, I call ’em test days.

So every month, every six weeks. Take your, if again, not on deadlift, I would say not on squats, but especially on single joint exercises, take it to salute failure where you cannot physically do another repetition and then you have a standard or you have something objective to say, Okay, for the next six weeks, I know that on my first set I, I should be able to do 12.

So anything less than nine is, I’m not pushing it. So I call ’em test days and I actually like that it’s like a self calibration if you’re gonna use this de near failure type of approach in your lifting, which I think you. 

Mike: Yep. Yep. I do that as well. I do some am wraps on my big exercises every four months, and I don’t push to absolute failure on the squat.

I don’t think that’s necessary. I am comfortable going to a zero to one good reps left, though, like that final rep is really hard. I almost don’t get it. I’m comfortable going to that point. I’m comfortable on the deadlift going to one or two good reps left. So that last rep was hard.

The borrower really started to slow down. I probably could grind out one max two more, but I don’t do it because I just don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t amrap everything. But I will do the same thing where I’m happy to push it really right up to the edge and maybe even more often than four months on the isolation stuff, just for that point of, not that it, it necessarily stimulates more muscle growth, but it does just help maintain that intensity, discipline and that’s just a segue to something I wanted to follow up with you on, which is a comment that you made about training to, let’s call it around three good reps left.

This is a difficult workout and it’s highly effective for gaining muscle. Many people might be surprised that you said that because many people have heard that you have to push two failure or right up to fail. Maybe one good rep left or even zero. That was it. You didn’t fail, but if you tried to get another one, you would fail.

Many people think that you really need to train at that level of intensity, always in all or most of your sets to gain muscle. Bodybuilders for a long time have been saying that it’s those last couple reps before you fail. That’s where all the muscle growth is, 

Bill: yes. And that’s how, where I grew up, I don’t know if you remember Mike Menzer and Yeah.

The heavy duty systems. Yeah, sure. And Dorian Yates had a hybrid approach to that. So that was my introduction to body building. But the evidence would suggest that training to failure is no better than leaving up to three repetitions in the tank. Now, there’s not 30 studies that have shown this, but of the research that exists, training to failure is not harmful for muscle hypertrophy.

But it does not give you a benefit. And I would add though, if you’re an athlete, there is a harm in training to failure cuz it decreases acute power production and a chronic power production. If you’re an athlete and your sport requires that you generate power, you do not want to train for failure.

Cause that there’s multiple studies set up, three off the top of my head where that has been shown that you want to avoid failure training. And if you think about it, it makes sense when you’re training to failure. Think of the speed of the bar or the dumbbell on that last set. Is that a, an explosive No, it’s slow.

It’s very slow. So you can see the argument that you’re training your neuromuscular system to grind. Yes. Yes. Which is not what you want if you’re a powerful athlete. Now, again, for hypertrophy, no harm. But you also have to look at what is your recovery ability gonna be. And there is some cellular data on just ATP resynthesis that it takes a much longer period of time to recover from a set to failure.

And that could have implications on sets two, three, and four and the rest of 

Mike: your workout. And especially if you’re doing that on big exercises, I see people in the gym, maybe not so much on a squad or a deadlift, but on a leg press for example. And an other lower body, lunging until they can’t even walk anymore and hey, I’ve done it as well.

It just, it, there’s places some major recovery demands on your body that you could then wonder is that really the most effective way to go about this? Because I’m not gaining, let’s say it’s, let’s just even be very generous and say it might be a little bit better. And I understand your position and I agree with you, but let’s even just say, Oh in this case it’s a little bit better for hypertrophy to train that hard, but how much more stress is it putting on your body?

It’s just the math doesn’t, it doesn’t work out. 

Bill: Yeah. And I will also admit, All of the research that I’m relying on that informs my opinion is once again, in a non enhanced dim go. So if you’re on steroids, I’m willing to admit that it’s possible that training to absolute failure that may be different for that athlete.

Cause I don’t have evidence to rely on that. I just say, I don’t know. It’s possible. It’s also possible that it’s the same as a non advanced staff loop. Yeah. Yeah. 

Mike: That’s a fair point. Anecdotally speaking, I can think of one big enhanced bodybuilder who works out when I work out in the gym I go to, and just over the years, a lot of these really big guys, they do tend to train that way.

It seems like where it’s a lot of high rep sets, a lot of sets and a lot of training to failure. It’s rare to see a big jacked bodybuilder, not a strength guy, but a bodybuilder doing sets of five on the squat, to failure. . 

Bill: And one other thing I wanted to mention, cuz I think it’s very practical, just my own training right now.

So what I’m doing is I’m on a, at least a four week, maybe even a little bit longer. I’m trying to standardize my volume. And the reason for this is, I know we’re not gonna talk about this today, but you’re helping me design a weight loss case study that I’m gonna go on. So I’m in the process of just making sure that kind of like earlier I’m, I wanna make sure that everything I’m doing, my diet and my training and my cardio is all standardized so that when I start this weight loss study on myself, that there’s nothing that’s been changed other than the done.

So there’s the pretext for this and also thank you for continuing to help me design this. So what I’m doing is I’m doing 10 sets per body part per week for my major body part. And I’ll just say what they are. So it’s chest back. Shoulders, quads, hams, biceps, tricep, glu. That’s eight. That’s eight. So I don’t do calves and I don’t do abs.

So I’m really about cals. And the practical part of this is that takes me about four hours per week. So I divide that over four workouts. So if anybody’s curious, if you’re gonna do 10 sets per week, which most people would say that’s on the threshold of low to moderate volume. It takes me, again, across four workouts.

It’s about four hours per week. And my warmup, that also includes my warmup, which is about 10 minutes per session. So about 15 minutes per session to, to get 10 sets. So personally, I can’t imagine doing 20 sets, cuz now I’m in the gym eight hours per week. And again, that’s with my lifestyle, my father job.

All the other things. So I always am curious for the people that are able to do more, I think they’re usually younger, 

Mike: correct? And they usually don’t have kids and are not teaching at a university and so forth. Hey there, if you are hearing this, you are still listening, which is awesome. Thank you.

And if you are enjoying this podcast, or if you just like my podcast in general and you are getting at least something out of it, would you mind sharing it with a friend or a loved one, or a not so loved one even who might want to learn something new? Word of mouth helps really big in growing the show.

So if you think of someone who might like this episode or another one, please do tell them. And, another question I wanted to get your thoughts on just related to volume is, so some people what they do just to this point is they shorten rest times. So instead of resting two to three minutes in between sets, at least of bigger exercises.

And I actually, personally, I don’t ever rest less than two minutes unless I’m doing a kind of modified super set like an antagonist paired where I’ll, do a set of biceps, rest a minute, do a set of calves or whatever, right? Cuz they don’t interfere with each other. But what are your thoughts on that approach?

Because again, some people are thinking about, okay, I don’t wanna spend two hours in the gym. I have maybe 60, 70 minutes, I wanna do more volume, right? Instead of, I’ll just rest a minute and a half in between sets and Yeah, if I have to take weight off the bar or maybe I have to pyramid down my reps, I start with 10 and then I only get six and then I only get three or whatever.

Bill: lot of people do that. I appreciate saving time, trying to be efficient. I personally don’t like the short rest periods, so something that I’ll just, I worked out right before we got on here. So I did incline bench press and I did lap pull down. And what I do is I finished my set of lap pull down and I’ll set a timer for five minutes.

So within five minutes I need to go back to the lap pull day. But during that five minute rest period, I’m also doing a set of incline bench pulls. So I guess we’re gonna call that super set. So lap pull down, incline bench, lap, pull down, incline bench, lap, pull down, incline bench, lap pull down. I actually did four sets of flat pull down, three sets of incline.

Then my workout took me to step up, so I put a barbell across my back. I stepped up with one leg, my left leg, and then my right leg. And so I took two minutes in between there and then I went and did a set of shrug. So now I’m doing lower body. And shrug. So this is just a different spin on what you’re suggesting.

Some people will choose to lower the rest periods. I’m just super setting so that my muscle group is having plenty of time to recover, but yet I’m maximizing my time because I’m able to work another muscle group that wasn’t fatigued while the other one is recovering. So that allows me to be more efficient.

So yeah, so typically it’s either, depending on the movements if it’s squats or deadlift, then the timer, six minutes while I’ll go do something else. Cause I need more time to recover. But five minutes, four minutes where I’m doing two exercises in that in every 

Mike: five. Yeah. Yeah, that’s a great time efficient way to get a little bit more training done and a little bit less time without compromising any of the exercises.

But can you speak briefly to this? It’s just a question that somebody really might ask. It’s okay, so if I take a set relatively close to failure, that’s a hard set and that has a certain amount of training stimulus to it, that’s where I should be. Some, somewhere between one and three good reps left.

And why do I need to rest? Two to three minutes. Let’s just say it’s gonna be a more standard, straightforward. Do a set of incline, bench, press rest two to three minutes, maybe two and a half minutes, whatever. Do the next set. Why not just rest one minute? So long as I keep pushing close to failure and yeah, I’m gonna have to take weight off the bar, but why does that.

Bill: I think this goes back to the mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy. So there’s two that are two that I think have the largest impact of mechanical tension, which is the amount of stress you’re putting on the muscle fibers, and then there’s metabolic stress. So with that approach, if you’re gonna do an exercise and then only take a minute, you are sacrificing mechanical tension because you’re not gonna be able to do the same weight for the same amount of reps in that second and third sale.

So you are knowingly sacrificing some mechanical tension and that aspect of muscle hypertrophy. But what you’re gaining with that approach is metabolic stress. So a oxygen deprivation to the tissue, an increase in lactate production, which also is associated with growth hormone increase. So there, there’s that aspect.

So I would be hard pressed to say, I don’t know if there’s a strong argument against that. Other than theoretically, I think mechanical tension probably plays a larger role in muscle hypertrophy than metabolic stress. So I’m gonna choose to put more of my efforts on keeping my weights higher for each set rather than getting this, this lactic acid buildup.

Which would naturally happen with very shortness period. But that’s just my opinion. 

Mike: Yeah. And that’s my understanding as well that’s my answer is prioritizing mechanical tension is what we want to do. I would look at that as stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime

So why don’t we, let’s just take the dollar. Last question for you, which is something I’m sure some people listening or are curious about is you’ve spoken a little bit about this but maybe if you could just lay it out just succinctly and clearly so people can understand. How would you go about increasing volume?

So somebody is wherever they’re at right now, and Okay, they understand that 20% every week or maybe even every month, it gets outta control. What is a more reasonable method of increasing volume? And maybe you want to just first explain why somebody might want to increase volume based on where they’re at.

Bill: Yeah. So that question there would be, my first question is why would they want to, and again, they may say, Cuz I wanna get bigger muscles. So I would wanna make sure if I, again, if I’m putting myself in the role of coach or programmer, does the person want to increase volume? And if they say yes and they have the time and they’re gonna be able to execute.

Cause I think the worst thing is, yeah, let’s increase your frequency, your volume, and then you’re not gonna be able to finish your workouts. That, now that’s a negative, rather you do less than actually complete things. But if the answer is yes, I wanna increase it, I would do something ar around the lines of 10%, maybe even less.

And again, that the numbers get dicey. Cuz if you’re doing, you’re currently doing 12 sets per week, I might say, Hey, let’s do 14 sets for that muscle group this week, and then only 13 sets next week. So it would be somewhere around 10%. And that’s where my scientists nature would come out. I would want some assessment.

Now I’m fortunate I have an ultrasound where I can measure this. So maybe after eight or 12 weeks, Hey, is this working? Is your intensity still the same? That’s what I do. I would say, Why do you wanna do this? Do you wanna do this? Do you have a desire to do this? Then I’m gonna be inclined to work to, to say, Yes.

Let’s do this. You have the desire, you have the energy. You obviously feel recovered enough to have an increase in volume. And I’m gonna, I’m gonna do a minor increase in volume, minor meaning around 10%. And again, that’s based on a body part perspective. 

Mike: It’s just important that you shared that.

Because in my experience talking with people, they’re often surprised cuz I’ll tell, I’ll say about the same thing. Add one or two hard sets for a muscle group. Do that for a month, two, three months, something like that. One month is actually probably in a, probably more like two or three months. See where you’re at.

And people are often surprised cuz that sounds so little, It sounds like they’re skeptical that, that will actually make a difference. Really, I just need to do an extra set or two of biceps curls every week and that’s gonna be enough to get the needle moving again. And yes, I mean if we’re just talking about volume, there are many other things, of course they’re going to influence results, but just looking at volume, yes, that can be enough.

And it’s also something you can recover from and still enjoy your workouts and so forth. 

Bill: Yeah. And. If the, this hypothetical person would challenge that. Okay, so let’s do what you want. Let’s go up five sets. All right. Do you think if we decreased your volume that you would lose muscle?

They would probably say yes. So if you say yes, then let’s assume you’re correct and I’m not gonna make that assumption. But let’s assume that if we decreased your volume, you would lose muscle and you wanna increase five. Where does that leave you for the rest of your life? 

Mike: or get smaller? Yeah, either, either you’re now doing 15 hard sets a week forever, or you are getting smaller 

Bill: or 20 or 25 again, depending on how soon they want to keep increasing it.

It’s one of those, what do you call it, a snowball that rolls down the hill. It’s exponentially impossible to maintain a given level of an increase in. 

Mike: It becomes geometrically troubling. And you had mentioned increasing volume for a period and then decreasing. Could you just comment on that?

Cause that’s something that I just thought was 

Bill: interesting. Yeah cause I’m a nerd on this stuff I would often just write out, as I was doing this research and what would this look like. So as an example, I’m, if somebody starts at 10 sets per week, January 1st, maybe over the course of that year, from January 1st to December 31st, we’re going from 10 to 18 sets, which is a big difference over that year.

Now we go into year two, we start back to 12, and now we go to 20, and now we’re into year three. We started 14 and go to 22. So there’s a life cycle plan for this. In that case, again, I’m not just looking at this month, I’m forcing the client to have an appreciation. What would my volume look like in five years?

And is it maintainable? So that, that’s what I mean by you increase and then you drop back down, but you’re not dropping to the same floor where you were when you started over your training life. You do have an increase in training volume. It’s just step. 

Mike: And what would you say to a question of why decrease at all?

Okay. I don’t mind spending time in the gym. Whatever. I’ve checked whatever boxes that need to be checked. Why not go from, okay, we work from 10 up to 18, and then why not just keep going? Why go down before we go back up? 

Bill: So if a client were to present me with that argument, I would probably say, Okay, I don’t have evidence to suggest that if you have the time and you have the recovery ability, And , you can foresee yourself still progressing.

Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s try it your way and let’s get some numbers, but at some point I would challenge them. You’re gonna come back at some point. You’re going to 

Mike: Is that driven mostly by recovery or other factors? 

Bill: I would just say time. Like just the time alone.

Like you, you may get, you might have to work overtime for, or you might wanna write a book or whatever. That’s a great question. I would not force somebody, I’m just trying to think of what do I think is realistic for somebody to maintain that appreciates an increase in volume, does increase hypertrophy, but keeping it on a path that’s sustain.

Mike: Last question for you, and that is regarding direct versus indirect volume. I think it’s probably worth commenting on just given the context of the conversation people trying to figure out, okay how do I want to program my volume? Could you just explain that? And then I’m curious how you account for that in your training.


Bill: that’s, I love, again I love these little caveats. So get, so that’s a problem, not a problem. That’s an issue that everybody’s gonna have to handle. So an example would be a think of your, you’re working your back by doing a machine row. So I’m pulling the machine back. I’m working my back, but I’m also working my bicep.

And we know from published research that lap pull downs will significantly increase biceps hypertrophy. Machine rows will significantly increase biceps muscle hypertrophy. Same thing with bench press. Bench press is also, it’s primarily stimulating my chest. You get a triceps activation as well. So the question is, or I’ll just explain how I handled this, and I’ve done this two different ways.

For years, I’ve done it one way, and then recently in preparation for this case study that I’m doing I’ve adopted a different way. So I used to say if a muscle group is a primary mover in a lift, I count it as a set. So what that means is on a bench press that counts as a set for my chest and my triceps.

If I’m doing a back row that counts as a set for my back and my biceps what I, where I have, and there’s I think that’s fine. That’s great. Because of the research that says you are clearly getting a benefit in these secondary movers of the movement. What I’ve done recently is I just take it in half.

So if I do four sets of bench press, I’m gonna count it as two sets for my triceps, four sets for my chest. Yeah. That’s what I do. Okay. And then just to take it one step further, cuz I do a lot of things that are three sets I round. So if I do three sets of bench press three for my chest. I don’t like doing 1.5 for triceps, I just round up and it’s two for my triceps.

But please know you are getting a growth stimulus on these I call ’em secondary movers of these compound lifts. 

Mike: Yep. Yeah, that’s exactly what I do. If we look at what’s the limiting factor in terms of pushing close to failure in a bench press, it’s more your chest than your triceps. So it’s probably not as effective of a training stimulus as a triceps exercise that you’re taking right up to the point of failure.

But it’s not nothing either. There, there’s a compromise there if 

Bill: you’re gonna use set volume as your approach. I think ignoring. Is not the best approach. 

Mike: You’re gonna run into problems. There’s gonna be a time issue because then you’re gonna be looking at, okay what do I need to do for each of my deloid, for my biceps, for my triceps?

You mentioned quads and hamstrings. Let’s say if you’re squatting and you only counted that as quads volume because it’s primarily a quads exercise, but your hamstrings are working. If you’re squatting correctly, they’re not just along for the ride, you’re gonna be spending a lot more time in the gym.

And as you’ve mentioned, you’ll probably run into an issue where your volume now is inappropriately high on some of these other muscle groups because you’re not counting what should be, It could be 5, 6, 7, 8 hard sets. It really should be counted already toward that muscle group. But you’re starting at zero thinking that, okay, I need to do 15.

Direct sets for my biceps every week because I don’t count any of my pulling. Yeah, and 

Bill: that’s usually where you see the numbers get crazy is with biceps, triceps, potentially glutes 

Mike: as well. True. Yeah, that’s I guess trendy. See I see it all the time in my gym. I see it’s mostly women, but doing a lot of glutes three to five times a week.

And I swear sometimes it’s like half of my workout, my workouts are like 60, 70 minutes. I’ll see some of these girls, like they’re just doing glutes for probably 30 to 40 minutes. And I’m like, didn’t I just, wasn’t she just doing that two days ago? 

Bill: Yeah. And that’s where you see ’em mean if you do the math they’re over.

I, I wouldn’t be surprised over 40 sets per week on the, cuz you know, if you’re doing deadlifts, that’s if you’re doing squats, if you’re doing lunges, if you’re doing like all of those non, not direct glued exercises are still anything with hip 

Mike: extension. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And to a point you made earlier though.

What I will often also see is many of those sets don’t look all that difficult. Like they’re not pushing to, certainly not to failure. And depending on the exercise, if I look at, even a hip thrust, like how quickly are they finishing the last reps of each set? I can’t say I have a visual montage I can go to, but I just have, I made a mental note just paying attention that a lot of these sets are very sub maximal, and so chances are they could do a lot fewer, many dick to many fewer sets, but work harder in them and get potentially even better results in half time.

Yeah. What’s 

Bill: the slang? Is that junk volume? Is that what we call. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Unless, I guess the counter argument is if you just like being in the gym hours every day and that’s like social time and you’re 20 years old and you have nothing better to do than sure. Yeah. 

Bill: Yeah. I don’t love training. I don’t 

Mike: love it. It’s funny you say that. That could be an interesting another discussion. Cause this is something that people will ask me about motivation and they assume that I just love working out. No I really like having finished a workout. Some workouts I enjoy, many workouts are not all that enjoyable, but I do it anyway.


Yeah. And that’s where I’m at with squats. I hate squats, but I feel if I give in and I stop doing squats, then I’m gonna give in. Maybe, posting something on Instagram, I just, I don’t want, I don’t wanna let that creep in. 

Mike: Yeah. , you don’t wanna start becoming a quitter.

That’s why I still train my calves. Cause if I stop, they win . 

Bill: I’ve given, I’ve surrendered, I’ve put in the little calf white flag up. My calves are actually big, just I guess just from birth 

Mike: yeah. Oh, then you don’t even need to see. My calves are not, And I mean they they’ve grown and they’re, maybe, I haven’t measured them recently, but they’re not what they should be by, by bodybuilding standards.

Certainly not. And so I do enough. They’re slowly growing, but if I really cared, I would double. Cause I’m doing direct sets in the range of eight to 12 hard sets per week. And then there’s some squatting and dev I think. So there’s a bit of indirect there as well. But if I really cared, I would be doing 20 direct hard set.

I would just be blitzing them. I’m only doing it again just so they don’t win . But that’s everything I actually had for this discussion. Is there anything that we haven’t mentioned that I haven’t asked about that before we wrap up, you think should be said? That is, still just bouncing around in your head? 

Bill: No, I the only thing that, since you asked, I would just encourage people, and again I know I’m a data person, but track, track your volume and just see where you’re at if you’re not currently doing it. Cuz then you have a context if you’re ever gonna increase it or if you’re gonna decrease it.

Is it doing your harm? So I’m just big on. It’s the little workout log, What are you doing? Again, to me it’s just fun. 

Mike: It makes it more fun. That, that’s something I think that than both of us. Share that sentiment that people ask me in the gym sometimes. So I have my little Google spreadsheet and I have years of training in this spreadsheet because I just make a new tab for my next four months and build it all out.

And people ask me sometimes, like why do you bother with that? Because it makes it a little bit more fun, because I don’t inherently love just, banging weights. I have to find other ways to make it a bit more interesting. And this is one of them, because at least this way, to your point, I can pay attention to things.

I can see in actual numbers how things change. For better or for worse hopefully I’m making. At least a little bit of progress, at least on key exercises. That alone is motivating. It’s motivating. So in four months of training, I gained about 10 to 15 pounds on my front squat and probably about five to 10 pounds on my deadlift.

I was happy with that. That’s cool to not know. That just makes it a little bit less 

Bill: interesting. Yes, and as you get older, that’s, I still have in my head, I want to have my PR deadlift like 4 0 5. Like I, but I’ve never, I’ve always had back pain that derails me like every two or three years, and it just sets me back.

But anyway. Yeah, I know my numbers that, and I’m committed to getting 4 0 5 1 day. 

Mike: Nice. Yeah, I thought at one point I was getting close to, I wanted to do the five plates, the 4 95, just cause it looks cool. And I’m back to close to that I did in my last AM wrap I did 3 75 for seven with one or two more still in the tank.


Bill: that’s close. Yeah. It would surpass it. 

Mike: If I remember it was like, or in four 80 s, something like that, and at least the calculator that I looked 

Bill: at. Oh, okay. Yep. Okay. So it is 

Mike: close. Yeah. As you know with these calculators though, is once you get above five or six reps, it gets less accurate. So I actually might be able to do it on a good day.

But I haven’t tried yet. , but but anyways, this was a great discussion. And again, thanks for taking the time to do it. Why don’t we wrap up quickly and let people know where they can find you and find your work, and just in case they missed it in the beginning, let’s tell them again about the new research review that you 

Bill: launched.

Sure, yeah. So go to my website, Bill campbell Download the inaugural issue. It’s free it’ll give you a taste for what the body by science is about. And again, I’ll just say if you wanna be current or if you wanna learn, be on top of the best research. And some of the research I look at is historical as well.

But if you really want to I’d say be the best professional or be the best programmer, be on top of the best nutrition research as it pertains to fat loss and building muscle. I think it’s a great resource for you. And it’s an easy read. You do not have to be a. Science Sivan to read it. In terms of following my work, I’m just active on Instagram.

That is Bill Campbell PhD, and I just, I do a lot of education on, love true false collecting. 

Mike: Yeah, a lot of great information on your Instagram account. That’s it for, That’s it for this one. Thanks again for doing it and I look forward to the next one. Yeah. I hope you liked this episode.

I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.

And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share, shoot me an email, mike muscle for, muscle f o r, and let me know what I could do better or just what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.

I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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