Weight training at home – The right volume of training

Do you like to do a workout for nothing? Doing tons of exercises, sweating, blowing like a buffalo...for no results? Or so little that your great-grandmother beats you at arm wrestling. 

Of course not !

And yet, it could happen to you if you don't have the right amount of training. Maybe you've even experienced it. It's super discouraging.

Workout at home - grandma
Damn, she just beat you!

And just because you work out at home doesn't mean you have to do anything. No, but then again!

Intensity and volume of your workout

In a previous article on the intensity of the weight training sessionsYou have learned how many reps you need to do in each set. You've figured out that it depends on your personal goal. The intensity you choose will promote strength, muscle volume or endurance.

Well, that's done...

But the result will also largely depend on your training volume. And you will understand that it is important not to make mistakes.

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What is training volume?

In weight training, volume is the amount of work done during the session.

Small but useful demonstration

In my early years of weight training, I got into the habit of calculating the amount of weight I moved during a session. This allowed me to know if I was making progress in overall volume. I don't even remember where I got the idea. Probably in a bodybuilding magazine. 

So, every time I did a set, I would add the weight moved on my notes. For example, for each set of 10 biceps curls at 26 kg, I would add 260 kg (10 X 26 kg). If I do this little calculation today, I know that my upper body session (pecs/back/arms) represents about 17 tons moved in 45 minutes.

That's real training volume. You can have fun with this kind of calculation. But I'm not going to ask you to do this for every session.

Why ?

Well, you'll get sick of it...

Adjustable dumbbells 24kg

Other methods to measure your training volume

This volume of "work" is of course in the form of exercises, with a certain number of sets (or series) and repetitions. This means that you can evaluate your training volume in several ways.

For example, you can calculate:

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That's true. But it's really important.

why it matters

You must realize that this information is essential for you.

Why ?

Because it is one of the determining factors for your workout to be effective. Here are the basic reasons why:

  • If your training volume is too highIf you don't do this, you may limit (or even negate) your ability to recover. And if the reconstruction of your muscle cells is not done in optimal conditions, you will not get the results you want. This is especially important if your morphotype is ectomorphic.
  • When your training volume is too lowInstead, you are not giving your muscles the stimulus they need to respond. Your muscles are saying to themselves, "It's okay, I've got it. No need to bulk up. I don't need to burn fat. Cool, Raoul. Relax, Max. At ease, Blaise."

So, as you can imagine, your goal will be to find the volume high enough to stimulate your muscles. But without exhausting them to the point of not recovering and not rebuilding between 2 sessions. So, not to gain muscle volume... That's a bummer.

Especially if that is your primary goal.

How do I find my ideal training volume?

Now, to determine what your ideal volume is, some of you think that you just need to know how many exercises you need to do per muscle or muscle group. But it doesn't work that way.

In reality, it's a little more complicated. Here's why...

The number of exercises does not give any reliable indication

You see, even if you do exactly the number of exercises a coach recommends, the volume can vary greatly. For example, let's say I ask 3 different people to do 3 exercises per muscle group. Here's what the outcome of their weight training session might be:

  1. A may decide to do 2 sets of each exercise, for a total of 6 sets
  2. B does 3 sets of each exercise, for a total of 9 sets
  3. C decides to do 4 sets of each exercise, 12 in all

Will they get the same amount of work in the end?

Probably not. Yet they did follow my instructions by doing 3 different exercises. So let's forget about the amount of exercise to determine the volume of training. It's too random.


Should we rely on the number of sets or series?

Another possibility is to set a number of sets to be performed per muscle and per session. You can then spread them out over the exercises you want.

If I tell you to do 6 sets per muscle or muscle group, what are the possible breakdowns? Well, for example, you can do:

  • 3 exercises in 2 sets each
  • 2 exercises in 3 series
  • 4 sets of one exercise and 2 sets of another
  • etc
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The advantage is that the number of sets remains strictly the same, which is already better than choosing the quantity of exercises. But this does not answer the following existential question:

How many reps should you do per set?

Okay, maybe it's not an existential question... But still, it's important.

Are you looking to gain strength, muscle size or endurance? So your results really depend on the number of reps and the volume of training. These 2 things are inseparable.

You may have noticed from reading this article that you need to do between 5 and 12 reps to build muscle, with 8 to 12 being the ideal range. This is the goal of most of you. Let's go back to the example of the previous subheading with 6 sets per muscle:

  • A can do 6 sets of 6 reps for a total of 36 reps
  • B can do 6 sets of 8 reps for a total of 48 reps
  • C can do 6 sets of 12 reps for a total of 72 reps

The gap will therefore be considerable while the 3 are in a number of reps good enough to gain muscle. This confirms that the number of sets is not the best indicator either.

So what is left for us, apart from collective suicide?

The number of repetitions, let's see!

Yes, this is the easiest way to measure your training volume without having to add up all the weights lifted or the tension of your resistance bands.

It's also a reliable way if you heed the advice you've read in previous articles in this series. If you have a certain number of reps to do per session or per week, you can spread them out as you like in your exercises and sets. It doesn't matter!

At the end of the day, the number of reps always stays the same. That's why it's a good way to control your training volume once you know which one is best for you.

Which brings us to the next important question in creating the best training program for you:

What types of exercises should I choose?

Do you find it difficult to choose which exercises to include in your sessions?

This is normal, because the possibilities are endless. Every specialist has a comment on what is supposed to be the best.

In reality, the choice is based on 2 fundamental possibilities:

  • compound exercises
  • isolation exercises

These two types of exercises meet different and complementary objectives.

NOTE : This article is the 7th in a comprehensive and free guide that will help you create the best fitness or bodybuilding program possible for you. You will be able to achieve exactly the goals you have set for yourself.

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If you haven't already done so, start with the first article in this series on 7 steps to create a strength training program really successful.

Tell me what you think about this article. Leave a message in the comment area below. Thanks 😉

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4 Gedanken zu „Séance de musculation à la maison – Le bon volume d’entraînement“

  1. Vanmeeteren François

    Hello, I have read your article and I have arrived at the choice of exercises. The problem is that I don't have the rest so I don't know how to choose the different exercises to finalize my program. Would you have a solution for me?
    Thanks in advance

  2. Hi, you give good advice, frankly. But, I have a problem:
    I started training 9 months ago now, and I was starting to change physically because I used to do a lot of push-ups and often weights (I think I was doing a little too much), but right now, I feel like I can't progress anymore. I understand that the less push-ups you do, the more weight you gain, so I'd like to know if I should decrease the number of reps, to be able to progress better?

    1. Thank you for your comment Armand,

      In fact, there are many reasons why you may not be progressing. The number of repetitions is one of them, but also the problem of the intensity of the exercises.
      To help you out, I wrote a very comprehensive article on intensity (see link in article above) that will teach you how many reps you need to do to gain volume.
      After that, it is very important to check if your diet is not a hindrance to your progress. To find out, you should read this article on best diet.
      The 3rd thing to check is the optimization of your testosterone level (naturally). If you wait a bit, I'll have an article on this subject today or tomorrow, and another one next week.

      Also keep in mind that you have to be patient in weight training, and that sometimes you may stagnate a bit before making further progress.

      Good luck and don't hesitate to make other comments.

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