Weight Training Volume: How Many Reps Per Muscle Group Per Week?

Akash Sehrawat

4 min read | May 24, 2018

Weight Training Volume = Sets * Reps


For example, if you are doing 3 sets of seated shoulder presses and you do 8 reps for each set, then the total workout volume is 24 reps.


And if you are doing 3 exercises for the shoulder for that day, like lateral raise and posterior raise, again for 3 sets each and 8 reps, then the total workout volume for shoulders is 3*3*8= 72 reps.


And let’s assume that you do shoulder only once a week; the total volume for the shoulder muscle group is 72 reps.



Now, a few questions that demand attention here:


1) Are 72 Reps Less Or More For The Best Results?


2) Should We Do 72 Reps In Just One Session A Week, Or It’s Best To Divide It Into 2 Or 3 Sessions Per Week?


For sake of simplicity, let me answer the first question in this article.


Based on studies [Study-1, Study-2] and my obsessive research in the past decade on training variables, I can say with reasonable confidence that the rep range for 1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17326698/, 2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16287373/


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.


Intensity.-It is the level of ‘effort’ one exerts while working out, and it is mostly related to how much weight you are lifting.


Now, the higher the intensity i.e. above 80% of 1RM, the 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.


Higher the intensity of your workout, the lower the volume.


So it’s fair to say that if you lift heavy weights, you will be on the lower end of the volume continuum. For the 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


Training Level



Quality Of A Rep



Would you agree that a deadlift rep is metabolically much more taxing than a rep of a bicep curl?


Of course, the former is a compound movement, where almost your entire body is at play. This compound lifts tax your CNS, which is your central nervous system, quite a bit, and only good nutrition, a 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.


Doing squats and deadlifts etc, also works your lower back to the T, and your lower back takes its own sweet time to recover. And therefore the need for a lot of rest.


Related Articles:


How to Squat: The Definitive Guide


Trap Bar Deadlift: The Definitive Guide




Another important variable in determining the total volume is your genetics. Yet again, I will curse my genetics, as being an ectomorph with a thin skeleton frame, having a skinny-fat body type and so forth, deems it necessary for me to keep my overall volume low.


Related Article: Skinny Fat To Fit Transformation | 11 Quick Tips


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 of sleep every night and have little or no stress in your life, going above and beyond the continuum is futile.


Training Level


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 do 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.


Related Article: The Ultimate Guide To Beginners Workout




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 heavyweight, and in the process, they end up injuring themselves.


Weight training is one of the safest sports on the planet! It’s not rocket science. Learn the technique. There are common checkpoints shown doing each movement almost perfectly.



Go ahead and check out my course: Exercise Mastery 2018. You will find over 50 weight training and other basic bodyweight movements, and I show you how to do them with proper form.


Final Thoughts


A lot will depend on whether you had a good night’s sleep the previous night, you had enough calories to fuel your workout, or perhaps you were not majorly stressed 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. 3https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27102172/


I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you have any doubts/queries, let me know in the comments below!

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About Akash Sehrawat

Akash is a creator of 25+ programs and certificate courses in which more than 200,000 students have enrolled both on Udemy and Fabulous Body's native platform. Akash is also an author of three books that can be found on Amazon. His answers on Quora have gathered more than 12 million views in less than a year.


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