Weight Training Volume = Sets * Reps.
For example, if you are doing 3 sets of seated shoulder press and you do 8 reps for each set, then total workout volume is 24 reps.
And if you are doing 3 exercises for shoulder for that day, like lateral raise and posterior raise, again for 3 sets each and 8 reps, then total workout volume for shoulders is: 3*3*8= 72 reps.
And lets assume that you do shoulder only once a week, the total volume for shoulder muscle group is 72 reps.
Now, few questions that demand attention here is this:
Is 72 reps less or more for best results?
Should we do 72 reps in just one session a week, or its best to divide it into 2 or 3 sessions per week?
For sake of simplicity, let me answer the first question in this article and let’s try and tackle the
Major Muscle Group: 60-120 reps
Minor Muscle Group: 30 to 60 reps
The mystery of this puzzle is far from solved, but at least now we have a framework to work with.
There are so many variables that it’s unbelievable. But let me try and break them down for you.
Remember the term Intensity. It is the level of ‘effort’ one exert while working out and mostly it is related to how much weight you are lifting.
Now, higher the intensity i.e. above 80% of 1RM, lower the volume.
In simple words, if you are lifting only a pair of 10 kg dumbbells for shoulder press you can do more reps and you won’t get tired that easily, whereas if you are lifting 25kg dumbbells you won’t be able to do too many reps.
So higher the intensity of your workout, lower the volume.
So it’s fair to say that, if you lift heavy weights, you will on the lower end of the volume continuum.
For Major Muscle group you will most probably be somewhere around 60-80 reps and for a minor muscle group, it will be 30 to 40 reps.
Besides intensity, the other variables that will determine what your total volume will be on the above continuum are:
-Quality of a Rep
Quality of a Rep
Would you agree that a rep of a deadlift is metabolically much more taxing than a rep of bicep curl?
Of course, the former is a compound movement, where almost your entire body is at play. These compound lifts taxes your CNS, that is your central nervous system quite a bit, and only good nutrition, lot of rest and break in between the session will allow you to recover and recoup before you come back to the gym for another session.
Another important variable in determining the total volume are your genetics.
Yet again, I will curse my genetics, as being an ectomorph, with a thin skeleton frame, having skinny-fat body type and so forth, deems it necessary for me to keep my overall volume low.
A high volume scheme with moderate-heavy weights cannot work for people like me, we will wear out, and instead of building muscle, we will burn it. So I need to be really careful about the volume of my workouts.
Even if you are blessed with great genetics, eat great wholesome foods, get 8-9 hours sleep every night and have little or no stress in your life, going above and beyond the continuum is futile.
Your training level matters. Training volume will be different for beginners when compared with advanced trainees. Once your beginner gains have stopped, then in order to keep progressing not only you need to get stronger, but you also need to add more exercises and sets to your workouts and that means your total volume will go up.
Next is the technique. Most people use momentum when lifting their weights. They cheat, they take extra support, they bring into play other muscle groups to lift the heavy weight and in the process, they end up injuring themselves.
Weight training is one of the safest sport on the planet!
It’s not rocket science.
Learn the technique.
There are common checkpoint shown doing each movement almost perfectly.
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A lot will depend on whether you had a good night sleep the previous night, or you had enough calories to fuel your workout, or perhaps you are were not majorly stress out about something.
OH, I almost forgot about this question:
Should we cover 72 reps in just one session or divide it.
In other words, how many times should we train each muscle group per week for maximum results?
A recent meta-analysis in 2016, indicates that training your muscle group twice per week is superior for muscle growth than training it just once a week. Although, training the muscle group three times may not be better than training it only twice.
Hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any doubts/queries let me know in the comments below!