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Increasing Volume to Train Around a Bad Back/Shoulder?

I’ve read a ton about set volume per muscle per week, but I can’t find an answer to my specific question. This question covers a few categories, so hopefully I chose the right one. Due to a bad back (I’ve had 6 surgeries) I had to develop a program that of course didn’t aggravate it which means that I can’t do a lot of exercises that are so important like deadlifts or power cleans. And also since I workout at home I can’t do squats with heavy weight (I do one legged band squats) and need to do a lot of other exercises with bands as well for this same reason. I probably wouldn’t do squats with heavy weights anyways as I would be too nervous about doing them, but basically I don’t do what are staples to so many people’s programs. So when people discuss set volume, the assumption is that these exercises are included and that obviously plays into what your volume should be. My question is: should I or can I do more exercises, and therefore more sets, than what is recommended since I’m not taxing myself as much as most people do with the exercises listed above? Since there are varying opinions on set volume… If you are in the camp that 15 sets is the best for you, would you up it 3, 6, 9 sets? What if you were already doing 21 sets and wanted to add an exercise, is 24 sets without doing those staples too many? I feel like I probably should do more sets than the average person to make sure that I’m hitting all of the muscles from multiple angles to where I’m not leaving anything in the gym (home), but also doing that without over-training. And by not leaving anything in the gym I mean doing the best that I can with my restrictions. And FYI: the only exercises where I use what would be considered heavy weights are incline DB presses, flat DB presses, shrugs and EZ bar curls. I’m a walking injury lately so I can’t even do DB shoulder presses with heavy weights due to a bad shoulder (it’s getting better at least). Playing sports my entire life has come back to haunt me on the wrong side of 40. You would think that it would be okay to add a few isolation exercises to every muscle, but I wanted to get some opinions. Just being cautious not to over-train and either cause more injuries or aggravate the ones that I already have. Thanks in advance!

No, don’t do that. Don’t do “extra” because you’re not doing big stuff. You don’t want endless BS patty-caking around.

Stick to your 10 sets, +/-. Be sure to keep tension on the target muscles, and go to failure. Or however close to failure you feel like you need to go.

If you want to do “heavy training” you can cut out a few sets use techniques like slow eccentrics or pauses in the bottom or mid-range of moves to keep up the Focus and Intensity without having to use huge weights.

If you decide to train “light” and do maybe 12 sets because it’s “light day” use short rest periods and stuff like drop sets to keep the muscles Pumped Up and increase the burning.

If you want to do a regular-ass medium volume day use you most focused, isolation type moves like band leg extensions or band Terminal Knee Extensions or Band Leg Curls to pre exhaust for 3-4 sets. Then move to the more “compound” stuff using that fatigue to make those exercises compound exercises more challenging.

Instead of focusing on moving the barbell with more weight, focus on loading the correct muscles and keeping the tension where it should be as you move through the ROM. This way every rep is like Rehab for your old injuries and every set improves you.

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Thank you. In regards to the rest time that you referred to what would you recommend for rest for sets of 8 reps, 12 reps and 15 reps? If I rest for 1 minute when I do 8 reps, you said that rest time for 12 reps should be shorter, so is 45 secs good? And should it be even shorter for 15 reps or would it be the same as for 12?

Just think about what you’re trying to do and be a little flexible.

To example, You mentioned Incline DB as a lift you could go “heavy” on. So if you’re doing sets of 12-15 on incline DB, go “normal.” Rest around 90 seconds (or whatever feels right) and do straight sets.

But maybe your back is jacked up, and you want to train your Lats without torquing your lower back. So you do 15 reps in the straight arm pulldown with a band, then while your lats are still burning immediately do 1 arm rows with your light dumbbell. Don’t rest and let the fatigue from the straight arm pulldowns make the light rows “harder.” Blast your lat without crushing your low back.

45 seconds is perfect for stuff like delt raises and curls. Do a set, take a short rest. Then when you’re like 90% recovered but still kinda pumped up, do another set.