T Nation

What is Average Volume for Bodyparts?

I only ask because people have commented that my chest/tri/shoulder day typically ends up in the range of 22 working sets.

I’ll do something like 12 direct sets for chest, then 6 or so for tris (including a few pressing movements), then a couple shoulder sets.I used to do a similar amount of sets on my back/bicep day but have curtailed that recently (down to about 9 sets for my back and 2 for my biceps). Same with my legs as well.

I was thinking of reducing my chest/tri/shoulder day to something like 7 directs sets on my chest, 3 or 4 on my triceps, and 1 or 2 for my shoulders. Would this be too little, or about average do you think? I want to keep growing, but at the end of the day after I get out of work I just don’t have the time or energy to be hammering out 20+ sets per workout.

Why are you doing 9 sets for back and 12 for chest? If anything you should have more sets for back as opposed to chest, otherwise you are going to end up with imbalances.

Also if you read CT’s ‘creating a damn good program’ and ‘training for newbies’ he typically recommends 9-12 sets for the larger bodyparts.

I would consider 22sets for chest/tris/shoulders low volume.

[quote]ratm88 wrote:
I would consider 22sets for chest/tris/shoulders low volume. [/quote]

I would consider it too high…so?

8 full sets a group should be fine with the right intensity. If you do more than 22 sets, then I think you are LOW intensity.

EDIT I saw Tris and Shoulders…so 24 sets is about right for the 3 groups. Ithought you meant 22 for CHEST.

22 sets in one day?

man, I’d be wiped

I was trying to do 16 sets for Chest/Shoulders but realized I had to break it up, my strength was gone near the end

19-22? Are you serious?

Rippetoe reccomends 3 sets.

Dante Reccomends 1 set.

Bill star reccomended 5 sets.

Where anyone gets off at 22 sets is beyond me.

[quote]Hadow Khan wrote:
19-22? Are you serious?

Rippetoe reccomends 3 sets.

Dante Reccomends 1 set.

Bill star reccomended 5 sets.

Where anyone gets off at 22 sets is beyond me.[/quote]

they recommend those sets PER EXERCISE he’s talking about PER SESSION, including up to 3 bodyparts.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
22 sets in one day?

man, I’d be wiped

I was trying to do 16 sets for Chest/Shoulders but realized I had to break it up, my strength was gone near the end[/quote]

And see that’s what I’m finding. Plus after I get out of work I’m already a bit mentally tired.

[quote]Goodfellow wrote:
Hadow Khan wrote:
19-22? Are you serious?

Rippetoe reccomends 3 sets.

Dante Reccomends 1 set.

Bill star reccomended 5 sets.

Where anyone gets off at 22 sets is beyond me.

they recommend those sets PER EXERCISE he’s talking about PER SESSION, including up to 3 bodyparts. [/quote]

Dante’s program is one set per body part.

WHy has no one asked the OP about the rep ranges?

22 sets of 3 reps - no big deal.
22 sets of 12 reps - pretty big deal.

Everyone is trying to answer the question with only half the information.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
Goodfellow wrote:
Hadow Khan wrote:
19-22? Are you serious?

Rippetoe reccomends 3 sets.

Dante Reccomends 1 set.

Bill star reccomended 5 sets.

Where anyone gets off at 22 sets is beyond me.

they recommend those sets PER EXERCISE he’s talking about PER SESSION, including up to 3 bodyparts.

Dante’s program is one set per body part.

WHy has no one asked the OP about the rep ranges?

22 sets of 3 reps - no big deal.
22 sets of 12 reps - pretty big deal.

Everyone is trying to answer the question with only half the information.
[/quote]

crap thought I had posted that…I average probably 8 reps per set…some of the chest stuff will be lower, around 4 reps, some of the tricep stuff up by 12 reps.

[quote]rainjack wrote:

22 sets of 3 reps - no big deal.
22 sets of 12 reps - pretty big deal.

[/quote]

the intensiveness per rep of 3 reps would be a lot greater than the 12 reps, wouldnt it? and less weight would be used, so wouldn’t it even out?

[quote]Goodfellow wrote:
rainjack wrote:

22 sets of 3 reps - no big deal.
22 sets of 12 reps - pretty big deal.

the intensiveness per rep of 3 reps would be a lot greater than the 12 reps, wouldnt it? and less weight would be used, so wouldn’t it even out?[/quote]

but the overall volume would be greater since you’re doing more overall reps

In a rippetoe scheme, its still only 3-4 exercises per workout.

Thats like 45-65 total reps per workout.

The bill-star scheme isnt much different.

anyone have a link to a rippetoe schem?

Buy his book, starting strength.

But basically, its two workouts, alternated, monday, wedesday, friday.

Workout 1
Squat 3x5
Bench 3x5
Deadlift 1x5

Workout 2
Squat 3x5
Overhead Press 3x5
Barbell Row 3x5

It just focuses on adding weight to the bar as often as possible.

I have been reading bodybuilding literature and training for 12 years. Actually only the last 4 were truly hardcore years.

From my experience and from what I have gathered from quite a few experienced strength training writers, such as Dante Trudel, Ian King, Alwyn Cosgrove, Jason Ferrugia, Skip La Cour, and Dorian Yates, 22 sets is a large amount of volume for one workout for intermediate and advanced trainers.

I can’t really see the point for an intermediate to advanced person to perform more than 2 sets per exercise if training for bodybuilding.

As Alwyn Cosgrove and Ian King have pointed out, if you could use the same load for 3 sets or more with a constant number of reps, it is unlikely that you were training to your maximum (near or to failure)in the first and second set. Most people cannot duplicate sets like that on big exercises when they get to a certain strength level.

If you could squat 405 near or to failure for anywhere from 6 to 10 reps, could you really duplicate this number of reps for a second, third, and fourth set? I know I can’t do it for any exercise that requires a respectable amount of weight.

Therefore, I never do more than 2 sets per exercise, and most likely after a certain strength level will resort to doing 1 set per exercise, just like the way Dorian, Skip, and others have.

This past training year has been my most productive yet with adequate nutrition, lifestyle, and lifting. My longest workout is a total of 16 sets. I am a fan of quality over quantity. I have actually been using the same routine, with a few minor adjustments, for the past year and do not see any signs of going backwards.

I train balls to the wall for 5 to 6 weeks and then “deload” for 1 to 2 weeks. My deloading simply entails stopping 1 or 2 reps short of failure. I take a week off for every 12 weeks of training.

My training is as follows:
2 sets of 6 to 10 reps (rep range that works best for me at the moment)

Chest (pre-exhaust) (8 sets), bis (6 sets)
Incline flies
Incline DB press
Flat flies
Flat DB press
Reverse curls
Incline hammer curls
Preacher machine curls

Calves (4 sets), hams (6 sets) (pre-exhaust), quads (6 sets)
Calf raises
Seated calf raises
Leg Curls
High and wide foot placement leg press
Single standing leg curls
Squats
Lunges
Sissy squats

Shoulders (6 sets), traps (2 sets) tris (6 sets)
DB overhead press
Seated lateral raises
Cable lateral raises
DB Shrugs
Close grip bench press
1/4 triceps dips
DB lying triceps extensions

Lats/upper back (pre-exhaust)(8 sets), rear delts (4 sets), “pillars” (2 sets)
Straight arm pulldowns
Pullups
Lying shrugs
DB Rows
Rear delt DB raises
Deadlifts

I have experienced more success with this routine than any others I have used in the past. As stated above, this has been used for the past year and half and I do not see any reason to change things as of now.

To the OP. How many days of training per week do you do? How many reps? What is your overall split like? How often do you train each bodypart.

How often you train a bodypart dictates how much volume you should be doing. Also whether you train to or near failure dictates how many sets you can do.

The amount of volume you perform depends on your work capacity. Your work capacity is crucial to your development and depends on a LOT of factors: your athletic background, your nutrition, stress, etc.

Increasing work capacity should be very important to you because it will allow you to put more adaptive demand on your body. A lot of guys here will crucify me for saying this, but volume is king. That said, allow me to qualify that statement: it’s about what you can handle and still entails effort.

Many people think that high volume means less intensity. Not true. As you increase your work capacity, you can increase your strength density. That is, you can maintain high outputs of power over longer periods of time AND with shorter rest periods.

Why is this ability to maintain high outputs of power over long periods AND with short rest periods important? Well, we can use the power equation to demonstrate this:

P=(force x distance)/time

As you increase your work capacity, you can use higher volumes, maintain force output, AND shorten time between sets. This would all lead to higher levels of power over the duration of a workout.

How does all this help you in determining the volume you can handle? You do as much as you can and take note of your body’s cues as to when you need to back off, when you can push harder, etc. No, I’m not saying, “do volume for volume’s sake.” Use volume adaptively within an intelligent plan to stimulate target muscle fibers. Of course, don’t be so cerebral when you hit the weights :slight_smile:

You’re always in the best position to evaluate what YOU should do to progress. Remember that.

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:
I have been reading bodybuilding literature and training for 12 years. Actually only the last 4 were truly hardcore years.

From my experience and from what I have gathered from quite a few experienced strength training writers, such as Dante Trudel, Ian King, Alwyn Cosgrove, Jason Ferruggia, Skip La Cour, and Dorian Yates, 22 sets is a large amount of volume for one workout for intermediate and advanced trainers.

I can’t really see the point for an intermediate to advanced person to perform more than 2 sets per exercise if training for bodybuilding.

As Alwyn Cosgrove and Ian King have pointed out, if you could use the same load for 3 sets or more with a constant number of reps, it is unlikely that you were training to your maximum (near or to failure)in the first and second set. Most people cannot duplicate sets like that on big exercises when they get to a certain strength level.

If you could squat 405 near or to failure for anywhere from 6 to 10 reps, could you really duplicate this number of reps for a second, third, and fourth set? I know I can’t do it for any exercise that requires a respectable amount of weight.

Therefore, I never do more than 2 sets per exercise, and most likely after a certain strength level will resort to doing 1 set per exercise, just like the way Dorian, Skip, and others have.

This past training year has been my most productive yet with adequate nutrition, lifestyle, and lifting. My longest workout is a total of 16 sets. I am a fan of quality over quantity. I have actually been using the same routine, with a few minor adjustments, for the past year and do not see any signs of going backwards.

I train balls to the wall for 5 to 6 weeks and then “deload” for 1 to 2 weeks. My deloading simply entails stopping 1 or 2 reps short of failure. I take a week off for every 12 weeks of training.

My training is as follows:
2 sets of 6 to 10 reps (rep range that works best for me at the moment)

Chest (pre-exhaust) (8 sets), bis (6 sets)
Incline flies
Incline DB press
Flat flies
Flat DB press
Reverse curls
Incline hammer curls
Preacher machine curls

Calves (4 sets), hams (6 sets) (pre-exhaust), quads (6 sets)
Calf raises
Seated calf raises
Leg Curls
High and wide foot placement leg press
Single standing leg curls
Squats
Lunges
Sissy squats

Shoulders (6 sets), traps (2 sets) tris (6 sets)
DB overhead press
Seated lateral raises
Cable lateral raises
DB Shrugs
Close grip bench press
1/4 triceps dips
DB lying triceps extensions

Lats/upper back (pre-exhaust)(8 sets), rear delts (4 sets), “pillars” (2 sets)
Straight arm pulldowns
Pullups
Lying shrugs
DB Rows
Rear delt DB raises
Deadlifts

I have experienced more success with this routine than any others I have used in the past. As stated above, this has been used for the past year and half and I do not see any reason to change things as of now.

To the OP. How many days of training per week do you do? How many reps? What is your overall split like? How often do you train each bodypart.

How often you train a bodypart dictates how much volume you should be doing. Also whether you train to or near failure dictates how many sets you can do. [/quote]

Nice post.

Yes but is such high volume really necessary? Generally the higher the volume the slower the rate of progress. If, instead of doing 22 sets, the OP cut it down to 8 sets, would that make a difference? Well if that lower volume allows him to push himself harder, add more weight to the bar/reps, then yes it is better.

Honestly I don’t think anyone needs to be doing 22 sets per bodypart. I don’t believe it takes anywhere near that amount of volume to stimulate a muscle to grow.

Say guy A does 5 sets for his chest. The other guy B does 20 sets. They are both equal in terms of genetics, amount of food consuming, etc etc for the purpose of this example. They both bench 225 for 8 reps. Now lets both let these guys train hard and lets get back to them in 2 years.

Guy A can progress faster because he has less total sets and exercises. He trains the muscle with extreme intensity that forces it to grow, and he doesn’t do any other sets that are going to cut into recovery. Guy B does 20 sets and because of the higher volume, progresses slower. Now if at the end of these 2 years Guy A is benching 350 for 8 reps, and Guy B can bench 295 for 8 reps, who is going to have the bigger chest? (providing all other factors remain constant?

I could be wrong, but from what I have heard, progression ultimately establishes the ‘best’ routine. If you progress best on lower volume, then do lower volume, and vice-versa.

[quote]Hadow Khan wrote:
In a rippetoe scheme, its still only 3-4 exercises per workout.

Thats like 45-65 total reps per workout.

The bill-star scheme isnt much different.

[/quote]

believe it or not, rippetoe and bill-star is not the be all and end all to weight lifting.