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How to Record Training Volume?

If I want to track my training volume, how does one go about assigning volume to various muscle groups from compound lifts. For example, say I bench press 100lbs (to make the maths easy, and tbh it’s not far off what I am doing as a beginner (although I work in kgs!)) would I say that the full weight goes under ‘triceps’ as well as ‘pecs’, or would you split the weight 50/50, or is some other ratio the norm, or would you just put it down as ‘pecs’ and ignore the very obvious load it puts on the triceps? If each muscle gets a certian percentage, what would this also be for squats, deadlifts, overhead/incline presses, db flyes etc?


Most would just view it as pressing volume and not break it down that specifically.


:roll_eyes: talk about overthinking.

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It doesn’t matter as long as you do it the same each time.

If recording this info helps you towards your goals and you can assess your training on it then thats cool, what ever works for you… but using weight moved per session to track progress doesn’t make sense on lots of situations.

Example, my goal is hypertrophy
Session 1 I move 4000kg on incline
Session 2 I move 2000kg on incline

Which session was the better session in terms of hypertrophy?

Thanks, that’s an interesting way of thinking about it.

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Yeah just count isolation exercises differently, like 3 sets of flys and 3 sets of tricep extensions is equivalent to 3 sets of pressing.

If you’re training for strength, volume is for the Lift. You track “bench press volume” or “squat volume” or “deadlift volume” and you track or adjust those week to week(or whatever).

If you’re training your muscles, bench press is for pecs. Like three sets of bench is three sets for pecs. Then 3 sets of inclines and three sets of flies would be 6 more sets for pecs.


But what about close grip bench if it doesn’t really do much for your pecs? Some people get very little pec development from benching one way or another too.

Well, first I’d say it’s probably not your best pec go-to in a hypertrophy program if that’s the case.

Close-grip counts as triceps! Then you still get to say you did the optimal 2x weekly frequency for chest but really you got to have an arms day. It’s wins all over the place!

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Thanks. Guess I should have said training is generally for strength - but strength for climbing, running, and general injury prevention, not necessarily strength in a competative, lift focused, way.

What got me thinking was I increased the weight I was benching but then found I couldn’t do as many set/reps on isolation exercises and want to know how to balance adding a few kg to sets of bench presses would/should affect how much isolation work I could/should do. For example - the total volume of my bench sets increased by c.500kg, but tricep extentions and shoulder press dropped, but looking at them all as just ‘pressing’ and it probably about equals out!

Yeah, Close grip bench is for triceps!

If somebody wants to use slightly narrow grip bench for inner/upper pecs, I’ll allow it.

I agree that some people don’t get much chest muscles from bench. Some people don’t even bench press, and they use other lifts to develop their muscles.

500kg increase in volume could be a huge, huge increase! Or a very small increase. What time period are we talking about? How much volume did you do before?

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The inner pec is part of the same muscle, the upper pec is the clavicular head (as opposed to the lower sternal head) and apparently reverse grip bench is one of the best exercises to target that.

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Bench pressing won’t give you the strength you need for those activities. I’m not saying don’t do it, but definitely don’t make it a priority, although maybe you were just throwing it out there as an example. Always happy to talk climbing-specific training if you’re ever interested, as it’s the only thing I’m any good at.

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I think this is waaaay to much detail for a beginner…

… but the typical way is to attribute it all to chest (or whatever the prime mover is) but realise that the movement is going to involve tris and shoulders (or whatever the secondary movers are)and therefore reduce the overall volume assigned to those areas.

No, obviously - the bench is more of the injury prevention (antagonistic to all that pulling on stuff) side. But I’ve a chronically weak upper body - could hardly do a push up, let alone a pull up, not so long ago, so it’s all really just about getting fitter/stronger overall (and not having an upper body you could mistake of a xylophone).

Would be interested in climbing specific info - Thanks! Have only been climbing ‘seriously’ for a year, and a good chunk of the year was lost to lockdown, so still v much a beginner there (leading up to HS trad, indoor sport to 7a, bouldering about V5 - but apart from the trad that was pre-covid). Will be getting a small fingerboard soon work on finger strength. And (fell/mountain) running is what I do best, so all this is extra to that…

The best thing for you at this stage is to climb as much as you can. I wouldn’t worry about too much specific training. Just climb a lot, absorb as much information about climbing with good technique as you can (classes at the local gym, online videos, etc.) and do some general upper body exercises (horizontal and vertical pushing and pulling, whatever variations you like to do) would be my recommendation for now. You likely won’t notice much improvement with finger boarding at this stage, although if you’re not able to climb regularly it’s a good substitute to maintain some fitness. Just be careful to build slowly, rest more than you think you need to, etc. Fingerboarding is as good at injuring fingers as it is at building them.

Another word of advice: accept that you won’t be good at everything. Lifting, mountain running, and climbing are three very different things, and to excel at one you will slow your progress in others. You also only have so much capacity to recover, and hammering the hell out of three different activities will burn you out, so it’s about finding balance between all disciplines.

I have a hard time sometimes because I want to be strong as fuck and also the best climber I can be and also have great cardio…at the same time. It doesn’t quite work like that. It’s peak climbing season where I live right now, so I’m pretty weak and my cardio is suffering. It took me a few years to just come to terms with that. When winter arrives I’ll be hitting the weights hard again.

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If you’re training for performance goals, it is backwards to be breaking down volume by bodypart IMO. I think it’d be much more productive to get a good balance of movement patterns.

For example, on a pull day I try to make sure I hit a good balance of pulling in 1. vertical plane top/down (pulllups, pulldowns, etc.), 2. horizontal plane (rows), and 3. vertical plane bottom/up (high pulls, kirk shrugs, etc.). And I’d pair them off with the antagonist movement on a push day, i.e. 1. overhead or high incline press variation, 2. flat or low incline variation 3. dip.

Hope this helps!