Training volume is an important factor in muscle building
If you train regularly to build your muscles, you have endless possibilities. You can increase weights or do more reps, lengthen or shorten recovery, or vary everything all the time. However, a study has shown that training volume is the most crucial factor in muscle building.
In muscle building, the training volume is decisive
There are many different approaches to building muscle. Methods like Pilates use very light weights with very high repetition numbers. Bodybuilders tend to use heavy weights with small numbers of repetitions. A study published in the journal Sports Medicine came to a clear conclusion: training volume is the most critical factor in muscle building.
What you need to know about training volume
The scientists from the University of Kentucky, responsible for the study, advise focusing on the training volume during the workout. And you can easily calculate that. All you have to do is multiply the weights you use by the number of repetitions and sets. Here’s an example: If you bench press with 100 kilos and do three sets of ten repetitions each, the training volume is 3000.
Volume increase is very effective
Probably the most common recommendation for strength training is 3 times 8 to 12 repetitions per exercise. It is considered optimal because you can work with relatively high weights and a sufficiently high number. If you train with very heavyweights, you have to reduce the number of repetitions. If you work with a lot of repetitions, you can only use a limited amount of weight. Here are the training recommendations regarding the training volume:
- In each training session, you do 30 to 60 repetitions per muscle group.
- Per week you should do 120 to 200 repetitions per muscle group.
- You should train each muscle two or three times a week.
- Make sure that you train agonist and antagonist in balance.
When it comes to strength building, it looks a little different
So the key to building muscle is training volume. But if your goal is to build strength and get stronger, you need to train differently. You get more power when you work with heavyweights. According to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a maximum of 6 repetitions per exercise is sufficient. You can then work with up to 90 percent of your maximum strength. However, it is essential to have a good technique when performing the exercises with these heavyweights.
Train strength and muscle growth at the same time
Of course, you can also train strength and muscle growth at the same time. You can do this by working with heavy weights and low repetitions but with more sets. So you can stimulate the muscles accordingly and have a high training volume at the same time. The disadvantage of this method: Your workout takes significantly more time.
Training until muscle failure
A popular method for building muscle among weightlifters is training to muscle failure. Here, too, there are different methods. For example, you can take very high weights with which you can only do three or four repetitions, or you take a low weight with which you can do 25 repetitions and no more. In both cases, you have trained to muscle failure. The disadvantage of these two methods:
- They are mentally and physically very stressful.
- They are associated with an increased risk of injury
They are associated with an increased risk of injury
According to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, the risk of getting injured doesn’t seem worth it either. In terms of both muscle growth and strength, training to muscle failure doesn’t have much benefit. The Swedish researchers also point out that training volume is much more critical.