40 Sets Per Week Per Muscle is Best?!?
If you ever wondered what the perfect volume per week is for building muscle, then you are going to want to watch this new video. Find out how many sets and reps should be done per muscle group per week in order to see the most muscle gains. Muscle building science can be quite confusing when it comes to the topic of muscle growth and workout volume. Here we will try and decode the information to give you the best approach to succeed in your workouts.
It starts with understanding the interplay between volume and intensity. First of all, intensity by definition is simply a representation of the amount of weight that you are lifting. This is often represented in one of two ways. Either as a percentage of your one rep max or as RPE, or the perceived exertion and gauge of your effort in relation to your best effort.
The volume is referring to the sets and reps that are performed.
Arbitrarily this tends to be discussed with one week as the time frame. This is truly arbitrary since some training splits don’t even get all of the muscles trained within that one week time. That said, the majority of splits do tend to complete their cycle of workouts within the 7 day time frame and therefore this is used as a reference point for discussion.
Where things get a little more confusing and interesting at the same time is when the volume discussion starts to split out into the amount required by one muscle group vs. another. There is still a lot of conflicting information here. The bigger, broader question however of total volume on average needed for a muscle group to grow needs to be answered.
Currently, research points us to very differing opinions on this number. Some of the greatest strength and conditioning researchers in the world have concluded that total sets as low as 6 per muscle group can be effective in creating overload and stimulus for new muscle growth. Other, newer research indicates that more is better…a lot more. Some have argued that the ideal amount of volume for building muscle is upwards of 45 sets per muscle, per week. This seems like an insanely high amount of sets and reps performed in order to grow muscle.
Add to that that in these studies, each of the sets performed was taken to failure.
As you’ll see in this video, the interplay between volume and intensity is real. I say all the time, you can either train hard or you can train long but you can’t do both. If the volume is incredibly high, then the intensity is going to have to be low in order to allow you to make gains and recover in between workouts without breaking down. On the contrary, if you train at a super high intensity, then the volume has to be low in order to prevent overtraining and muscle breakdown to a point of irreparable damage.
What makes the high volume side of the equation a poor approach is the amount of junk volume that comes along with it. Sure, the higher number of sets and reps performed makes it easier to ensure that you are getting adequate workout volume to stimulate new muscle tissue. That said, if the junk volume that comes along with it is also having a detrimental effect on your joint health and recovery, then it is potentially doing more harm than good.
Likewise, if the effort is so high that you cannot properly recover or that your workout frequency has to be spread so far apart that you are performing far fewer workouts in a calendar year for example, then you are providing yourself fewer opportunities for muscle protein synthesis. Neither place represents an ideal spot to try and make gains with in your training.
The solution, as is often the case, lies in the middle. In the case of the X diagram shown in this video, that is where you want to be. Stimulating with enough sets and reps while still not delving into the area of useless reps. This is where drop sets and effective rep training (as was demonstrated in my 100 series workouts) is effective for building muscle while maximizing effort.
If you find this approach to be intriguing and want to learn more, head to athleanx.com via the link below and get the new Beaxst PPL program. It features a push, pull legs split where effective volume is the rule. We help you optimize the volume and intensity in your workouts to give you nothing but gains, leaving the pains for other programs.
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