Bodybuilding programming is hard -- not because it's complicated, but because there are so many different training styles that all seem to be effective. In my opinion, bodybuilding training styles fall into one of two categories:

  1. Higher volume (multiple sets and many different movements)
  2. Higher intensity (Dorian Yates-style, shorter training sessions)

Both styles can be effective, but if you can transition from one to another at different points in your training career, you'll end up ahead of almost every other lifter. This video explains my take on that.

In case you don't have time to watch, here are the major takeaways:

  • Beginning and intermediate bodybuilders need to develop their mind-muscle connection by training with high volume and moderate intensity*.
  • Once that connection has been made and can be maintained while training to failure, a lifter can benefit from lower training volumes and higher intensities (including advanced techniques like drop sets, forced reps, etc.)

*As this article is about bodybuilding, I use the term "intensity" to refer to effort, not to weight on the bar.

One style is not better than the other. I believe volume training can be effective throughout an entire training career. However, the higher intensity method may be more effective for advanced bodybuilders, and is almost certainly inappropropriate for beginners and intermediates.