I was talking to my captain yesterday about ultra-marathons. I hate marathons and endurance training in general, but my captain and I had a very fascinating discussion on the training he had to endure for the ultra-marathon and how it was a long lengthy process to even qualify for the ultra-marathon.
Just imagine running a hundred miles (yes, 100 miles!) in the time period of a day and a half with virtually no rest. You can't stop and sit, because you'll cramp up. After a certain point you're literally sleep-running. You have to change your shoes out every so often, since the soles melt from the heat in certain areas that you run through, such as Death Valley.
You can only train for this type of event once a week, because it takes a whole week just to recover from training itself. Bodybuilding also has a ultra high volume training counterpart. I don't recommend training this way, because the cost-benefit ratio for this type of training is very poor. You put yourself through tortuous workouts when you can get the same hypertrophy or more from less traumatic and less lengthy workouts.
Ultra high volume workouts involves taking one or two body parts and trashing them in the gym once a week. Bodybuilders who are on steroids tend to use this type of training, because they're the only ones with the hormonal capabilities to build any muscle on such trauma. The bodybuilder Tom Platz consistently trained this way. Aside from the infamous story of him squatting for 10 minutes straight, Tom was also to known to have taken the change in his pocket to determine his rep range for the day: "First set-80 reps of T-bar rows."
Here's a simple ultra high volume program that is meant only for the advanced bodybuilder who is also a masochist. It is shown here only for entertainment purposes:
Workout #1- Perform parallel bar dips until you reach 100-200 total reps. If you can only do 10 dips, then shoot for 100 reps. If you can normally do 15 dips, then shoot for 150 reps. If you can 20 or above, then shoot for 200 reps. Rest periods are up to you.
Workout #2- Perform pull-ups until you reach 100 reps. Rest periods are up to you. No kipping. Overhand or neutral grip only. Full range, which means you dead hang at the bottom and the rep only counts if your chin passes the bar. And don't even ask if you can use a freaking machine.
Workout #3- Perform 5 sets of 20 reps on the leg press. Rest periods are up to you. Then perform 5 sets of 50 reps on the leg extension machines. Normally I would recommend ultra high rep squatting. In fact in Strength and Physique Volumes One and Two there is a ultra high rep squatting triset used to turn on your anabolic switch.
But there are a lot of morons out there who can't figure out how to do a squat without injuring their back. You have to be very disciplined in keeping your form while squatting ultra high reps, otherwise you're setting yourself up for injury. So in this case, machines are fine to idiot proof this program.