T Nation

Adequate Volume?


I have read pretty much every article released for the last year and a half maybe two years, learnt alot about training and techniques but I still am not very clear on adequate total volume for a single workout session. I made myself the following upper lower split where I train upper body and lower body twice a week.

I would like to know if the sets and reps prescribed in each session is enough volume or too much considering frequency.

So basically how does total workout volume correlate to frequency of body part trained?


BB Bench Press - 5x3
Seated Row - 5x3
Incline DB Press - 4x8
Bent Over BB Row - 4x8
DB Flyes - 3x12
Bent Over Lateral Raises - 3x12

Stiff Legged Deadlift - 5x3
Leg Press (Narrow and Low) - 5x3
BB Long Lung - 4x8
Snatch Grip Deadlift - 4x8
Seated Calf Raise - 3x12

Pull Up - 5x3
BB Overhead Press - 5x3
Upright Row - 4x8
Dip - 4x8
Seated Incline Alternating DB Curl -? 3x12
Rope Pushdown - 3x12

Front Squat - 5x3
Leg Press (Wide and High) - 5x3
Leg Extension - 4x8
DB Step Up - 4x8
Standing Calf Raise - 5x5


It puzzles me that you would ask about whether your volume per session is adequate.
Focusing a little on the wrong thing here, aren't we?

I'd suggest that you read modok's t-cell thread as well as "professor x: a request", along with the numerous discussions we've had about progression etc.


Its not that I'm not lifting, I go gym every week without fail, I spend 4 weeks on a program, do a deloading week then change my program. At the moment I'm finishing up Chad Waterbury's ABBH program and before that I did another strength type workout and now I want to return to a more class hypertrophy type routine came up with the above and want so helpful advice.

Thank you.


what C_C said.

Stop worrying about the "right" amount of volume. Stop worrying about fancy programs with cute Acronyms. Just worry about increasing your lifts and gaining weight.


6 1 and 81kg after two years and you change routines every 4 weeks? Now you can obviously see it didn't work.

18 Kcal's and 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight and Iron Addict's Simple Power Based Routine.

I think you will like it, because it is also an upper, lower split with some rotating exercises.

I think your routine above has to many useless exercises at your stage of training.

Now please do this program for at least 6 months to a year. (adjust calories and please don't try to cut after 3 weeks or shit like that. Keep it simple and hard. Trust the program you use-MANY MANY people has made GREAT gains from it. Here it is... www.ironaddicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8050&highlight=power+based+routine

Hypertrophy is a result of gaining more and more strength and eating enough to fuel muscle gains.

This is really how simple it is to get gains.


You should find plenty of good suggestions in the threads I mentioned.
That whole 4 weeks, change routine, 4 weeks, change routine thing... IMO you'll be much better off with a routine or system that has a little variation built in (exercise rotation for example), though depending on your strength levels that may not even be necessary yet, and yeah, it's possible to use the same routine for a long time before making any changes at all and still progressing... Largely thanks to the right food-intake.

If your goal is to become a rather large individual, you want to keep progressing in the moderate to high rep ranges (say, 5-20) on a few key exercises per major muscle-group. Completely changing your approach every 4 weeks is not exactly the best way of going about that.

Look into BBB (we have a thread about it in the bb forum), Phil Hernon's routine(s), That old yates 3-way of mine (in the "pyramid or not?" or so thread as well as in my training thread on the last page if I remember right), Wendler 5/3/1 (can be used with a BB routine as it's simply a way to go about your 3-4 main exercises), professor X's old split and so on.


Yeah, that routine has a nice track record as well. I'd actually go with a higher food and protein intake though.


Yeah me too I usually go above 20kcals per pound myself...

One can never know how much to recommend though... :slightly_smiling:


I don't think all bodyparts need the same amount of volume and some don't recover as fast as others. Everybody is different and you have to decide for yourself thru training and then access your results, give it some time though. Personally, my legs and arms do not need the volume my back, chest, and delts need.I would refer your question of volume and frequency to Modok's post:
I like to hit everything 2 times a week while adjusting the volume of each bodypart according to my progress in strength and growth.


You'll figure what you need after you figure out what you get. If you are getting stronger, progress from there. Simple shit.


Volume is irrelevant. You can only get big if you use the roidz.


To answer your question :

The more frequently you train a muscle in a week the less volume you give it. But you then need to slowly build your tolerence to volume. That's what getting stronger is.

What your currently doing would be considered low volume / high intensity (intensity being a percentage of 1rm) and considered a strength focused program.

Once you have ceased to get stronger using this approach i'd suggest you go for a higher total volume per muscle group utilising the exact same split but increasing reps.


If your irm bench is 100kg :

5 x 3 at 90% of 1rm = 1350kg of volume in a workout for that lift.
4 x 8 at 75% of 1rm = 2400kg of volume in a workout for that lift.

But if your a beginner to intermediate lifter i wouldn't worry about that. Just focus on getting stronger whatever program your on. Building a strength base first is key. Playing with volume and intensity is only required when you stall more and more the longer you lift.

Hope that helps a bit.


There is no way to tell if volume is "RIGHT". There are WAY too many variables, and what is too much for YOU, might not be enough for someone else.

Some of the factors that will affect it are:

-intensiveness (how close to; or past failure/ # of forced reps, etc.)
-Diet (bulking, cutting, maintanence)
-Past training
-Outside events (if you are going to try to play basketball for 60 min a day, then just give up)
-And many others

The only real way to tell if you are doing it right, is trial and error. To do this, you are going to have to stick with a plan longer than 4 weeks. If you are consistently adding weight (or sets or reps) to each of your exercises each week, then thats a pretty good indication you are doing things right. If you are bulking, and seem to be gaining a bit too much fat, you can add some cardio or up the volume a bit. (If this slows the progress of your lifts, then drop the volume and the cardio) In the long run, the extra fat gained isn't that big of a deal, compared to not making progress in the gym.

You do this, and keep doing it, and learn how to read your body, and how you are progressing, and hopefully eventually you get things right.


Ok, thanks guys for all your responses. Apologies to C_C I must've misread his initial response. I will check out those links now.

Also I'm confused as to how long to stay with a specific program. Obviously you can't work everything, so I switch things up after doing a deloading week. Could someone enlighten me as to why this is such a bad idea, plus there's so many things I want to try that get published on this website.

Just to clarify only this year (since about mid Jan) have I been changing programs every 4 weeks, before that I was doing 8 weeks straight for about 4 months and prior to that I worked out at home and due to limited equipment essentially did the same program for my first year).


Also, I've heard that benching your body weight and deadliftting and squatting 1.5x bodyweight seems like a base level of strength that most should attain to, I tested my 1rm in those three lifts about 8 or 9 weeks ago and got 100kg(aim 80kg) bench 130kg Squat(aim 160kg) and 130kg Deadlift(aim 160kg).

I have no idea why my bench has exceeded the goal, but deadlift and squat are so far behind. I have deadlifted every since I started weight training but squat only since joining a gym september last year.


If you weigh 80kg then 1.5x that would be 120kg.
Either way just get stronger.


OMG that is really embarassing, how the hell did I get 160kg as 1.5x bodyweight, must've been one of those things you quickly calculate and assume u got it right because it's so easy!!!

Damn thanks heaps, didn't even question that, just thought 160kg sounded about right.


Until it stops working. A good program should probably last you at least 6 months, possibly much longer depending on your level of development.

Think of it this way:

You have two people, both with the same goal. The road to this goal is long and contains numerous bumps, potholes and trials.

One person never loses sight of the goal and continues on the road. They run into some rough spots on the road and it's not an easy journey, but they continue to press on. They might make some slight adjustments every now and then if the circumstances require them to, but they always stay on the same general path. After much time and effort they reach their destination.

The other person has ADD. They stop to look at everything shiny lying by the side of the road. Take every possible exit off of the road to check them out. What started out as a long and hard road becomes an eternity to them. They might make it there one day (if they're lucky), they might never make it, but it's going to take them considerably longer to get there than it had to even if they do.

Right now (or as mid Jan) you're person #2.

Funny how the less equipment you had access to the more effectively you seemed to have been training. Guess what Prof X is always saying about people being better off not having access to the internet for their first 2-3 years of training seems to actually pan out in a lot of cases.


You probably want to be benching 180Kg*5-10, Squatting 180 (or more, depends on stance/technique as well) for 5-10 and deadlift 200+ for 5-10 if your goal is to become a very big guy.
Not that those nubmers are set in stone, the shorter your are, the less you'll likely need to lift and limb-length etc is another factor.

Just to give you a rough idea. For some more intermediate numbers, try getting your bench to 140*5-10, squat to 150 or so for 5-10 (again, a guy with short arms and long legs may not be able to squat all that much more than he benches, for example), deadlift (sumo or conv... Though rack pulls are another option) to 180(+) for 5 or more reps...

That kind of thing, for a guy of average height of 5'10-6' or so.

(now, I hope people don't end up quoting me here and stating that these are the numbers you MUST achieve or the maximum or whatever)


@ C_C is that correct? benching 180kg*5-10!?!?! 396lb? That'll take me a while, I don't like BB bench that much, mainly because I don't feel I get much pec development from it, I normally opt for DB instead.

@ Sentoguy, good analogy, I have never seen so much improvement so fast compared to the first 4months of training at a gym, and that was after training at home with limited equipment for a year or more. I personally think its because I had changed my routine (incorporated bigger lifts that I previously couldn't do) and started deloading weeks. Just my experience though.

Also, how come I've read in articles by CT and such that a program is only as good as long as you are progressing and that you adapt, I remember CT saying a good program lasts about 6 weeks before you adapt to it. Also in CW's book Muscle Revolution (which I've read) in the program section, his "year long plan" is a cycle of about 5-6 of his workouts which only last about 4weeks.

I'm not trying to argue, but rather I need to be able to prove to myself why what you're saying above is correct, I don't want to just listen to any1 who posts on forums and accept it as the be all and end all.