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How many exercises per muscle group?
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Author:  tipsycoma [ Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:35 pm ]
Post subject:  How many exercises per muscle group?

I'm an intermediate lifter. I've been lifting for around 3 years now, but I never exactly knew what the optimal number of exercises and sets and reps per body part is.

Here is what I believe:

12-6 reps is good, abs can go till failure, as well as pullups and dips.

3-4 sets is fine, depending on the amount of exercises

4 exercises for chest and back

5 for legs, 2 for hams, 2 for quads, and one for calves is optimal.

2 exercises for bi's and tri's

3 exercises for delts

What do you all think?

Author:  nygmen [ Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

Looks good to me...

Is that helping you get to your goals?

Welcome to the boards...

Author:  hoosegow [ Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

I think it can also depend on what your goals and training schedule are. FWIW, I think training bis and tris are worthless.

Author:  tipsycoma [ Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:32 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks! This website is wonderful. Has plenty of useful info.

I appreciate the responses. I disagree with you when you say training bis and tris exclusively is useless. Isolating them helps add to their growth, as long as you don't overtrain them. If your bis are a little sore after doing back and bis the previous day, you're fine. If you can't move your arms, then you're probably shooting yourself in the foot. That's my opinion. :)

Author:  Jungledoc [ Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:25 pm ]
Post subject: 

There isn't a simple answer to your question. How many reps per set, how many sets of each exercise, and whether to do more than one exercise per movement depend on so many factors that it's hard to say.

In general, I don't do more than one exercise per movement. Why would I? If you don't think that a given exercise is doing what you need it to do, then do it more, or do something different. Doing different exercises for the same or similar movement in different workouts helps keep variety in your routine, and keeps it from being boring. Changing the exercises in your routine every few weeks also keeps things fresh, and sometimes helps to break through plateaus.

These issues have been discussed extensively in many previous threads. It might be interesting for you to read through some of them to see what the regulars here have to say (and disagree about) in this.

It's often more practical to think in terms of movements rather than muscle groups. Unless, of course, you are a BB trying to bring up particular muscles.

Also, before you just dismiss Hoosegow's opinion about direct bi- and tri- work, you should know that I'd be proud if my legs were the size of his arms. I do plenty of bi and tri work as part of compound exercises, but I almost never do bi or tri isolation work. I just don't have that kind of time.

Author:  Nevage [ Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm the opposite, never did direct arm work, just did curls and extensions at the end of my full body work outs. Started doing a day dedicated to arms and have put an inch on in a few months which is more than the last year so just shows really how people are different. But it could be because I've never intensively trained them and they're reacting to something new.

Author:  nygmen [ Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

Nevage wrote:
I'm the opposite, never did direct arm work, just did curls and extensions at the end of my full body work outs. Started doing a day dedicated to arms and have put an inch on in a few months which is more than the last year so just shows really how people are different. But it could be because I've never intensively trained them and they're reacting to something new.


The more I look around I feel like Hoose is the exception more than the rule. Plus he is like 290lbs and moves more weight in a set than I do a week, he can feel anyway he wants about the subject matter. He has more than put in his dues. :lol:

But yeah, generally speaking people have to do curls, CGBP, pushdowns, skullcrushers ect... to get large arms.

By large I'm talking 18inchs or more. Although 17's would look huge on someone 5'8" or shorter. But again muscle shape and low bodyfat can make a 16 inch arm look huge and fantastic. I have no peak at all really. I'm going to have to push 18+ to really stand out in a crowd.

The whole "greek ideal" thing is neck=arms=calfs I believe. Well my neck is 18 without any direct training other than traps, so... I've got 1.5 inches to put on my arms.

Author:  Ironman [ Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:23 am ]
Post subject: 

I don't see why you need more exercises. You can always do more sets of less exercises. If you put too many in there you end up with a bunch of crap that doesn't get you anywhere.

Author:  frogbyte [ Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:25 am ]
Post subject: 

Is it cynical of me to be waiting for spam links to appear in the first post?

Author:  Ironman [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:28 am ]
Post subject: 

Nope, I was looking for them too.

Author:  Rucifer [ Tue Sep 08, 2009 7:33 pm ]
Post subject: 

I tend to not think of CGBPs and close grip underhand chins as direct arm work, but apparently some do. That being said, I've switched too full body twice a week and sadly have thrown in a set of curls at the end of one and a set of lying tri exts in another. I'd prefer the former, but at the end of a full body workout I found I can put more effort in direct arm isolation work than compound isolation arm work. When I was upper lower I did not do curls and tris and was just fine.

That being said, unlike most people you see at a gym, I tend forego my direct arm work at the end if I "don't have the time", but unlike the gym, most people have that mentality with their leg exercises.

Author:  tipsycoma [ Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:23 am ]
Post subject: 

Sorry that I haven't answered your responses in a while.

I'm currently on a full body program where I perform one exercise per muscle group of three sets from 12-6 reps. 20-25 minutes of cardio 3 times a week. It's been working great, especially since I switch up my exercises nearly every workout. My bench has gone up a few reps in the past month and a half which is promising for me.

However I think it's time that I move on to a different split. I was thinking of doing an upper/lower split 4 times a week, Mon: upper, Tues: lower, Wed, rest/cardio, Thurs: upper, Fri: upper, Sat-Sun: Rest/cardio.

Any opinions on this type of split? Thanks again everyone. :>

Author:  Jungledoc [ Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:34 am ]
Post subject: 

If your current, linear, full-body program is working great, why abandon it? You should get all the linear gain you can while you can. When you ACTUALLY STALL, then change to a split program or a periodized program (of which I'm strongly biased toward 5/3/1).

Author:  tipsycoma [ Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:52 am ]
Post subject: 

It's odd because I have been lifting for three+ years, and full body workouts make me feel great afterward and have been giving me some impressive results. However, I've been on the same general program for two months now, and figured I should switch it up. But you're right, if it's working, then why stop?

My question is, once I decide to go back into a split schedule again, such as upper/lower, two exercises per muscle should do it, correct? I don't want to be in the gym for two hours hitting 4 exercises per muscle group.

And what is a 5/3/1 split?

Author:  Jungledoc [ Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:14 am ]
Post subject: 

It depends. If the 2 exercises have a different purpose, then yeah, 2. If not just do enough of 1.

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