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Ben Halpern šŸŒ±
Ben Halpern šŸŒ±

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What's the right amount of weightlifting volume (for your discipline?)

Volume usually refers to the total number of sets and reps in a weightlifting routine.

Of course volume should depend on your goals, and how your body responds to stress... What would you say is best for you and your goals?

How many sets and reps do you approximately perform in one workout and in one week?

Discussion (11)

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rcoundon profile image
Ross

My experience is that an abbreviated style of training which has far less volume than almost anything you'll see promoted by fitpros and magazines (online and in print) is far more effective for strength and muscle size over the long term. It's also time efficient.
The focus is getting stronger in basic compound movements.
For anyone from beginner to intermediate, most likely beyond, training full-body, twice per week. Take 1 or 2 sets (or equivalent with myo-reps - see below) close to failure in a rep range between 5 and 15 and consistently add weight to the bar over time.
Personally, I start at a weight that means I fail around 5 reps, work up to 12 reps over a few weeks, then add weight to the movement.
My training is weighted parallel dips, weighted chin-ups, trap-bar deadlift and lateral raises (yeah, maybe I'm vain) twice per week. The trick is to learn what real failure is like, most get nowhere near.
I also use myo-reps/rest-pause after the main working set - 25s rest, 2 or 3 more reps, repeat 4 times.
That's it, simple, fast, effective but volume by most measures is quite low.

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lee profile image
Lee Wynne

Great insights and advice Ross, love the diversity of approaches here

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rcoundon profile image
Ross

Thanks, this approach has gotten me to 10 reps with a weighted vest of 48kg for parallel dips at a bodyweight of 77kg. It's worth reading the work of Stuart McRobert (like his book, Brawn published in '91) for a background to the abbreviated style of training. It's basically how people trained before the proliferation of steroids.

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rcoundon profile image
Ross

Should mention, I use a Kensui Fitness weighted vest, fantastic piece of kit that you can load plates on to. I have no affiliation with the company, it's just a really good product.

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Lee Wynne

Thanks Ross, had a look, very interesting - which one did you go for?

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rcoundon profile image
Ross

I was an early adopter so the one I have is a bit of a hybrid but it's effectively the Max

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Lee Wynne

That would make a good post šŸ˜Ž

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lee profile image
Lee Wynne • Edited

Do you think that Body Pump type classes would qualify here? It is lifting and strength conditioning, but not specifically for growth. Prior to those I would focus on 3 body parts per workout routine, always work in sets of 3 with 10 reps per set, maxing out on the last set. Iā€™d usually do that 2 - times per week.

Iā€™d also argue that diet and genetics play a factor in terms of results and therefore influencing your motivation and commitment to continue with a particular routine.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern šŸŒ± Author

I mean, everything we do is exercise to some degree, so everything counts. I guess it's a matter of how it all adds up.

Intensity and volume.

In track and field some of the rules of thumbs tend to revolve around shifting between high intensity and low intensity days, as a way to achieve high volume.

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Ben Halpern šŸŒ± Author

Here is an example of a routine which strikes me as fairly high volume, more than I would typically undertake in a week.

Either way, volume is a less important factor for me than motivation these days, but I'm curious what folks think about as ideal volume for their discipline.

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Nick Taylor (he/him)

My goals these days are to just be in shape. When I was younger and playing rugby, I was more about being as strong as I can be because it helped me on the field when tackling, running through people or taking a hit.

Having said that, heavy squats will always be my favourite exercise. šŸ˜Ž

Lately, I've been doing HIIT training so things are constantly changing in terms of exercises, but the constants are tonnes of sets and short rest times. In terms of reps, it's typically get as many in as you can within 30-45 seconds depending on the type of exercise.