The number of sets per muscle group depends on your ability to cope with the training load, life circumstances, nutrition, and other factors. I recommend doing 6 to 16 work sets, most people make good progress on 9-12 sets. If you do so many sets and your muscles don’t get the right boost, then you need to stop relaxing in the gym and start plowing.
Don’t you think so? Are you saying that you can do more than 12 sets, give your best, and recover well after that? Well, it happens. Some are actually capable of this, but they are rare exceptions, and you’d better assume that you’re not one of them first. I understand that this slightly lowers self-esteem, since everyone considers themselves special and very cool, but I want you to understand too: to survive a tough workout is one thing, and to recover and grow after it is quite another.
Start with 9-12 sets and practice this way for a while, giving your best in each set. See how your body responds to this volume. If you are absolutely sure that you can handle it and you need an additional load, then I will allow you to add more approaches.
Remember also that 9-12 sets for each muscle group is still a general recommendation. If you have low recovery abilities or are very busy at work, a range of 6-9 sets is more suitable for you. In full-body training, the number of sets for individual muscle groups should be even less (4-6), since the total training load will be quite large.
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A test to determine the maximum number of sets for each muscle group
There is a simple test that allows you to determine the maximum allowable number of sets performed for a particular muscle group. To do this, take the weight that you can lift on the biceps without cheating 10 times (but no more). Then you need to measure the circumference of one of the biceps in a tense state, and start performing bicep lifts in sets of 10 times, after each set again measuring the circumference of the biceps on the same arm (naturally, in a tense state). After each set, give yourself the amount of rest that will allow you to lift the same weight again 10 times (but not too long). From approach to approach, the circle will increase until after the nth one it stops at what it has achieved or loses in size. This number N is the parameter we are interested in. The number itself shows the maximum number of bicep sets allowed. Let’s say the biceps circumference stopped increasing after the fifth set, so the maximum number of sets per bicep for you is 5.
For the remaining muscles, use the following ratio:
Latissimus dorsi, quadriceps, pectoralis major = N+4
Triceps, Hamstrings, Glutes = N+2
Abs, long back muscles, lower leg = N
Deltoids, forearm, trapezoids = N-1
Number of exercises per training
A key factor in developing an effective training program is the appropriate selection of exercises. It is very difficult to determine the optimal number of exercises, and some trainers, in their desire to develop as many muscle groups as possible, select too many exercises. As a result, the program is overloaded with exercises and tiring for the athlete. Instead, you should choose the number and types of exercises in accordance with the age and level of training of the athlete, the requirements of the sport and the stage of the training process.
You can train hard or for a long time . To get the most out of your workouts in terms of mass or strength, you need to focus on quality, not quantity, and cut back on excess volume.
It is clear that you need a certain amount of training volume to give sufficient stimulus to your muscles, but more is not always better. Overly prolonged workouts, after which you do not have time to recover, and performing additional sets in such fatigue when the workout is already unproductive and even harmful, are a great way to stop progress.
When you train to change your body for the better, emotions are strongly involved. You start to think that the more exercise you do, the better you’ll look. If you add just one exercise, or two, or three, you will work the muscle from all angles, and this will only help. In fact, it will only hinder you from achieving your goal. It’s great when you strive for success, but if your training is driven by emotions, the result can suffer greatly.
Do just 4 to 6 exercises per workout. If you work out two muscle groups, do up to 3 exercises for each. If there are three-1-2 exercises for each one. If you’re doing a full-body workout, do only one exercise for each muscle group. Simple arithmetic, isn’t it?
Sometimes you will need to do more than 6 exercises (circuit training, for example), sometimes you will have to limit yourself to just two or three. But 90% of your workouts should contain 4-6 exercises.
When you’re working on strength, do more sets of each exercise to improve neural adaptation. Conversely, when you gain weight, you need to do more exercises to diversify your workout and balance your muscle development.
Power = Less exercise, More sets
Weight = More exercises, Fewer sets
For hypertrophy of the musculature, it is recommended to do from 5 to 12 sets per muscle group. Read more: How many sets to make.
Choose from the following table an exercise approach scheme according to your training goals and split program. For example, if your goal is strength, and you work on the bench press/deadlift split, loading three muscle groups in training, then you need to do 2 exercises per muscle, 4-6 sets per exercise.