As with volume training for hypertrophy, it's probably best to simply track volume for each exercise individually and try to improve that over time rather than trying to convert everything into one larger number. More advanced athletes may need to focus more on the volume of their accessory work than their main work. This will work better at correcting individual weaknesses than main work will. Periodization is the bread and butter of strength training.
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Studies have shown that programs that feature any kind of periodization are vastly superior to those that have none. Generally, the two overall purposes of periodization are to 1 increase volume over time and 2 , do so safely. Since a lot of people spin their wheels trying to gain strength when they don't actually add any volume on their own, periodization often means a huge jump up because following the program makes it easy to improve volume over time without even thinking about it or having to do much math.
However, provided that you aren't going too crazy, you can actually just create your own self-regulated, self-periodized program simply by adding volume. Calculate your volume for the current workout, and if you're down a little bit from the last one, just do a few more reps or sets, either with your working sets or something a little lighter if you're already getting tired out. It's as simple as that.
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The biggest problem with people who convert to volume-based training programs is that they immediately want to jump in and do a lot. Since more work equals more gains, they discover volume training, try to do a much greater workload than what they're used to, and then quickly burn out because it's too much.
Weight Training Volume: How Many Sets, Reps & Exercises?
The solution is easy — don't overdo it. You want to increase your volume, but don't do it in fits and starts. Keep that graph trending upward, but there's no need to suddenly do 20 sets of 3 high-intensity deadlifts in the name of building strength. Volume is, all other variables remaining the same, the key indicator of your improvement.
But that's the thing: There are a lot of other variables, and they don't always stay the same. Your level of preparedness for training varies widely based on psychological and physical factors. If you only got three hours of sleep the night before, or haven't eaten anything all day, or your diet is totally off kilter for a week, you're not going to be in peak shape.
That means you may find it difficult to show up to the gym and do more volume than last time.
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During such times, just show up and get a maintenance workout in. Don't obsess too much over it, but roll with the punches and keep moving. Consider, too, that during a weight cut, whether as a bodybuilder or strength athlete, you're going to have worse recovery than usual. You'll need more sleep to recover between workouts, and even then it may be difficult to add strength or size.
You should probably focus on maintaining what you have at this point instead. Piling on the volume when your recovery isn't perfect can potentially just make things worse, and that's when you put yourself at risk of burnout.
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Above all, remember that progress is never a straight line. Your volume graph is going to go up and down as you try out new exercises, new training methods, and new rep schemes. You're going to have great days and crappy days. Never let a single shitty day, week, month, or even year get you down. If you want to be good, you're going to have to keep at it no matter what.
Since improved volume accounting for recovery is the main factor, you can see more volume by getting in more workouts for a specific body part or lift in a week. Going from training your deadlift for strength once per week to training it twice per week is a huge jump in overall volume, as is adding a third or fourth day. While deadlifting five days a week may not suit everyone, provided that your recovery is good, more days equal more volume, and more volume equals more gains. Further, even if you split the same volume from one workout into two workouts of half the volume, you'd be fresh for each workout and thus you'd have an easier workout while seeing similar gains.
Many lifters can improve volume with readily available stuff using simple equipment kept at your home. Unless you've got a home gym, you're going to have to drive to your gym and make a real event out of your workout. However, by keeping some light dumbbells, kettlebells, and bands in your house, you can get a lot more volume in over time by doing low intensity work like biceps curls and band triceps pushdowns.
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While they're pretty light and won't contribute much to your overall volume in the short term, it all adds up when hypertrophy is the goal. Doing some biceps curls while you watch TV, or some lateral raises before you brush your teeth for the night, will add up over time and make a huge difference without severely impacting your free time or your recovery. Bodybuilders can target lagging body parts while strength athletes can get in accessory work for the upper body. Sadly, many lifters only know about a couple of these.
Here's a quick hypertrophy refresher course. Sounds like blasphemy, but chasing numbers on the bar can sometimes wreck your gains.
Here's why, plus four ways to fix the problem. Mix heavy lifts with moderate lifts and blend powerlifter strength with bodybuilder size.
So, What Total Amount Of Reps Is Best For Me?
Not everyone is ready for the barbell. Find out here and double check your form. Research shows these veggies deactivate the muscle growth inhibitor, myostatin. Check out the science. Many "experts" say kids should avoid lifting because it'll prevent them from getting taller. A bigger squat requires more squatting. Here's a unique way to squat frequently without burning out or breaking down. Coach Rooney smashed his deadlift goal using the pseudo-sumo deadlift and five rules. Here's how you can too. Big arms, wide shoulders, strong abs, amazing athleticism.
What can we learn from gymnasts about training?
Looks scary, but it's the best way to bench if your goal is chest size. Develop explosiveness, grease the groove, and improve work capacity. And it delivers, every time. Curls seem easy to master, yet most lifters are leaving some gains on the table. Use these science-based tricks to build bigger bi's. That means volume can be measured in a lot of different ways, the most important of which are: How much volume is being done per exercise. How much total volume is being done per workout. How much total volume is being done per week. For the best results possible, we need that optimal middle ground.
Person A might do 2 sets for each exercise, for a total of 6 sets altogether. Person B might do 3 sets for each exercise, for a total of 9 sets altogether. Person C might do 4 sets for each exercise, for a total of 12 sets altogether. Using the same 6-sets-per-muscle example from before… Person A might do 6 sets of 6 reps for a total of 36 reps per muscle group, per workout.
Person B might do 6 sets of 10 reps for a total of 60 reps per muscle group, per workout. Reps Are The Most Accurate Measurement Of Volume If you recommend a certain amount of reps to do per muscle group or per workout or per week, it can be divided up into different combinations of exercises and sets. But, in the end… the number of reps being done always remains the same.