High volume training is my personally preferred way of training to drop body fat and transform the body. It relies upon simply doing more work in the gym. Many people fear the concept of overtraining far too much and end up drastically under training. I personally feel that if nutrition is perfect it is very very difficult to over train.
With the workouts that I use whilst dropping body fat, I usually perform up to 500 reps per body large body part and up to 300 on the smaller ones. The vast majority of these reps are not past the point of failure, but many of them do go into the muscle adaptation threshold.
There are a number of methods I use to perform so many reps in a workout. If you were to do the standard procedure of 3 sets of 8 reps for a number of different exercises you would have to do over 20 exercises to get to the number of reps required. This is totally impractical and would take hours. It is for this reason that I use a number of different methods that will save on time whilst still working the body to its limit.
Giant sets –
Giant sets are a great method for hitting a number of different exercises and performing many reps in one go. I use these a lot as I like to target the muscle from different angles and cause fatigue in a number of different ways. There are some things to take note of when planning a giant set though. It is best in my opinion to start with an isolation exercise for the target muscle, then go onto an exercise which adds in a little help with surrounding muscles, and then finally go onto a compound exercise to blast all the muscles to failure. For example on legs I personally like the giant set of Leg extensions x 20 reps, stiff leg deadlift x 15 reps, hack squat x 10 reps. All done as heavy as possible with no rest in between. After you have performed the full giant set you will rest for 2 minutes and then repeat. Giant sets will burn huge amounts of calories as well as releasing loads of growth hormone due to the lactic acid build up. With giant sets you are not limited to 3 exercises. You can perform as many exercises as you like back to back, but the more you add in the harder it gets to keep proper form and focus.
Super sets –
Most of you will have heard of super sets. These are basically just 2 exercises done back to back. However varying the rep range is a great way of mixing these up. Kris Gethin devised a great system called DTP, which uses the principle of doing high to low rep ranges, then back up. This is great to use on super sets as it hits all types of muscle fibres. I personally prefer to invert the system though and do 50,40,30,20,10 reps on one muscle whilst doing the opposite way back up on the other. So if I were super setting biceps and triceps I would do 50 reps for biceps, then 10 reps for triceps, then 40 reps for biceps followed by 20 reps for triceps. This allows for heavier weights to be used at the lower rep end and it allows for shorter rest periods at the higher rep end.
Rest pause –
I really like rest pause training. Drop sets are great and I use them a lot but rest pause is more effective for gaining strength and recruiting higher threshold motor neurons which will aid in hypertrophy. To perform rest pause sets you will pick a certain weight that you will be able to perform a given rep range for. Lets say 100kg bench press you can usually just about perform 8 reps with. You will then use the same weight but aim for 12 reps. This is taking the muscle way past its usual point of failure. The method is to unrack the bar, perform as many reps as you can (most likely 8) then put the bar back. Wait a few seconds, unrack the bar and rep again to failure (you may only get 2), put the bar back and repeat until you get to the full amount of reps you require. I would advise always using a spotter on this as by the 3rd rest pause rep you will really be fatigued.
So if you are planning on doing some high volume training why not give these a try. They fit in nicely and should shock your body pretty well.