Total Weight Moved

What is the significance, if any, of the total amount of weight moved in a given training session. I.e. 5x5 of any given workout with 100 pounds of weight = 2500 lbs of weight “moved”(for lack of a better term)

Is this at all relevant when gauging gym progress? I ask because despite the work I’m putting into this, it isn’t always easy to see or feel the progress or consequence of it, which can be frustrating for a beginner who is eager to improve.

Yes it is relevant.

Volume of a set, or total volume of a set of sets can give you an indication of progress or regress, where you are putting to much or too little emphasis, and tell a gazillion other things about your lifting regiment.

It’s one of those basic variables that you have to learn to track and manipulate to achieve the results you want.

Trying to understand the weight training without an understanding of volume and intensity is a lot like trying to understand cartesian algebra with out X and Y.

It is very important, but be careful. What you mean is actually work, or force x distance. Let’s look at 3 examples to illustrate my brilliance:

total weight moved (volume) = load x reps:

(1) shrugs: 135 pounds x 10 reps = 1350 lbs
(2) bench press: 135 pounds x 10 reps = 1350 lbs
(3) snatch: 135 pounds x 10 reps = 1350 pounds

work = force (volume for the set) x distance:

(1) shrugs: 135 pounds x 10 reps x 6 inches (1/2 ft) = 675 ft-lbs
(2) bench press: 135 pounds x 10 reps x 2 feet = 2700 ft-lbs
(3) snatch: 135 pounds x 10 reps x 6 feet = 8100 ft-lbs

So watch it, and don’t be a volume whore - it’s fun at first, but you’ll just end up tore up and feeling used.

Now, keeping track of all of this is a pain in the ass. So if you compare apples to apples, then over time, you will see what is going on. In otherwords, compare bench to bench and snatch to snatch.

Generally: over time, the more weight you can move in a fixed amount of time, the bigger and stronger you will be. Volume is hugely important. Now, before you run off and quote that uberghey Jim Wendler with his “the only thing that should be high volume is your stereo,” you should understand something. Those guys are STRONG. A few of their big sets equate to more work and volume than all of yours put together. Consequently, Jimmy is lowJAKT.


Thanks for the replies. I guess I knew it was important, Specifically I was referring to how much importance I should place on that method of calculation vs. gauging solely on an increase in weight used.

Which, I suppose works just fine when you’re doing the same type of sets for a couple weeks. The question really just arose today when I did 30 squats, varying my weight and reps heavy, mid, light and 3,5,7,3,5,7.

My total volume was greater than my last 3x10 workout, and I got to thinking about how, organizing my reps/weight in this new way, let me distribute my workout energy better, to complete the 30 total reps. But at the same time, there is this nagging feeling of being redundant, missing the point, or otherwise thinking too much. At the end of the day, Eat and lift is still my modus operandi, but, I am still a dork.

I have no problem sitting down with a calculator before and after a session, it’s actually pretty beneficial to organize things this way.

I hadn’t even considered the ‘distance moved’ variable, but that is huge too, will have to start considering that in my calculations.

Any other tips or input on practical ways to calculate and approach volume.

Would it be beneficial to tally up the volume of the entire week’s worth of workouts, or is that splitting hairs?

[quote]Malevolence wrote:

Would it be beneficial to tally up the volume of the entire week’s worth of workouts, or is that splitting hairs?


Yes, it would be worthwhile. Russian powerlifters and weightlifters, who generally favour a high volume approach, monitor both the total volume and the average intensity week by week. They vary the volume and intensity also, to keep the body guessing. Usually if the intensity is increased, the volume will go down, and vice versa. but occasionally they will have a down week of low volume, low intensity to facilitate recovery, and sometimes a high volume high intensity week to provide additional stimulus. This is a proven method of getting strong.

Follow-up question.

Let’s say I moved 3000 pounds total volume with a workout with the heaviest weight moved 100 lbs. Then the next week I moved 3000 pounds total volume but with different sets and reps, varying between 50, 100 and 150 lbs.

Would the increased weight intensity make a substantial difference in this case, when the total volume moved was the same?

Wouldn’t make a big difference just in one workout. You need to keep the body guessing over the long term to achieve the effects I am talking about.

Check out the program here:

Google “Boris Sheiko” if you want to explore further.