Are you trying to develop a strength training plan but are clueless about how many exercises per body part you should do?
Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!
In this blog, we’ll throw some light on various topics including how many exercises you should do per muscle group, how many exercises per workout you should do, and more!
Does It Really Matter How Many Exercises I Do Per Muscle Group?
Whether you want to build muscle or increase strength, 2 critical factors come into play for the success of your workout:
- Training volume
- Progressive overload
Progressive overload means gradually increasing the demands placed on your muscles by adding more weight, repetitions, or intensity, to stimulate muscle growth and strength gains.
Training volume is essentially the number of sets you do per exercise, the number of reps per set, and the amount of weight you lift per rep.
If we were to represent this by a formula, it would be...
Training volume = Reps*Sets*Load
So why does training volume i.e. how many exercises per body part matter so much?
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that participants who did 4-6 sets per week per muscle group had about 80% more muscle growth compared to those who completed one set per muscle group per week!
So if you aren’t doing enough exercises per body part, your muscles just aren’t going to get bigger or stronger.
How many exercises per body part should I do?
The answer to the question “How many exercises per body part should I do?” depends on factors such as each individual’s fitness goals, experience level, workout structure, etc.
Let’s take a look at a few commonly asked questions related to training volume.
1. How many exercises should I do per muscle group?
How many variations per muscle group you should do is a debatable subject but most experts recommend doing about 2-4 exercises per muscle group per week. Ensure that you choose a variety of exercises that cover different movement patterns and muscle functions for maximum muscle growth.
2. How many exercises per workout should I do?
We recommend doing 15-25 total sets per workout with each exercise being 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.
If you’re doing 3 sets of each exercise, aim to do 5 to 8 different exercises per workout. But if you’re doing only 2 sets of each exercise, go for 7-12 exercises per workout.
3. How many sets per muscle group should I do?
As mentioned before, the higher the number of sets you do, the better your muscles grow. But is there an upper limit to the number of sets per muscle group you should do?
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences suggests that 10 sets per muscle group per week seem to be the ceiling for optimal muscle growth, meaning anything beyond this would not have any beneficial outcome.
Factors that affect how many exercises per body part you should do
How many exercises per body part you do mainly depends on your fitness goals and your level of experience.
1. Fitness goals
If muscle growth is your goal, then aim for doing around 6-12 different exercises per muscle group per week with the following structure:
Intensity: 75-85% of your 1RM.
Reps: 6-12 per exercise
Rest period between sets: 60-90 seconds.
(Figure out your 1-Rep Max right here.)
To know more about the type of training you should do for hypertrophy, read our blog post here.
If your goal is to increase strength, you could do around 6-14 exercises per muscle group per week with the below structure:
Intensity: > 60% of 1RM for beginners and > 85% of 1RM for advanced lifters
Rest period between sets: 2-5 minutes
To know more about the type of training you should do to get stronger, check out our blog post here.
2. Experience level
If you’re a beginner doing 3-4 full-body workouts per week, aim for a maximum of 2 exercises per muscle group per week.
If you’re an advanced lifter either doing body part splits workouts or full-body workouts, aim for around 4-12 exercises per muscle group per week.
You might like: What Type Of Training Do I Need To Do To Lose Weight?
We hope this blog has helped clarify a few questions that you’ve had about the number of exercises, reps, and sets you should do per muscle group and workout.
No matter what your fitness goals are, we’re sure that these guidelines will help you create a workout plan that’ll deliver results!