This Is How Many Exercises Per Muscle Group Are Ideal For Gains

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Knowing how many exercises to do and how to formulate a good training plan can greatly affect your gains.

Your workouts and how you plan them are important. Putting together a workout plan can be incredibly challenging and something you may actually dread. But once you get the right exercises into a routine, it’s time to bite down and get into the nitty gritty of it all. Knowing how many exercises per muscle group to do can seem nearly impossible, but think again. Taking the right approach and knowing what you need will allow you to see those gains you want most since more attention can be paid to the fine tuned details of a solid workout plan.

Let’s take a look at how we can formulate the best training plan. With the right exercises strategically placed into your routine, you are well on your way to getting the most out of each and every workout. Stop thinking that it’s impossible because it very much is the realm of you doing so effortlessly. You just need to know exactly how to get there and we’re here to help. From knowing what you want, to planning your week, and playing with sets, reps, volume, and frequency, taking these steps can ensure the right approach is met hassle free.

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Knowing What You Want

Knowing what you want is key because your gains may differ from someone else or even what you have done in the past. You might be looking to bulk up and increase that strength and size, which requires a certain number of exercises in your routine on each day. For those seeking more of an endurance approach, this will take a different direction so you can see those gains you want most from a conditioning side. Knowing what you want is very important because it will affect the approach you take when it comes to your goals, and ultimately, your gains.

Planning Out Your Week

Looking at your week and planning around your schedule is important because your life can get busy and your workout should be a release from the stress, not an addition to it. But planning out your week also involves pairing together certain muscle groups so you can get the most out of your gains. A very common approach to this is taking those pushing muscles, being your chest, shoulders, and triceps, and pairing them together to keep the movements similar. That means your back and biceps, those vital pulling muscles, will be paired together. Your legs are fine getting work done alone since you have many muscles to attend to in your lower half.

So, if we took this approach for example, a five day week structure would look something like Days 1 and 4 would be chest, triceps, and shoulders, while Days 2 and 5 would work your biceps and back. Day 3 would be leg day which will also give your upper body muscles a nice break.


Sets Vs. Reps & Volume Vs. Frequency

Let’s talk about sets vs. reps and volume vs. frequency. Now we’re getting into the meat of why you’re here. Certain exercises may be more beneficial with a certain number of sets and reps, but the volume and frequency at which you perform them can also affect your gains (1). For those seeking more strength based goals, lower sets and lower reps with less exercises will promote those gains. This is because you can pack on the weight and work to lift much heavier reps with more rest time (2).

For those seeking a more endurance based approach, higher sets and higher reps will get your heart rate going so you can increase lean muscle while also getting a good sweat going. You will use lower weight for each exercise but since you will program in more exercises, you can achieve this goal of endurance more easily this way.

4-phase workout

Featured Supplement For Serious Gains

To capitalize on gains, it is important to match your workouts with a great supplementation routine. Whether that be a protein powder, pre-workout, or intra-workout supplement, or something like creatine, you can work to tackle any muscle building and bulking needs.

A mass gainer can pump you with vital macronutrients to really increase strength and size. Added ingredients work to help with digestion so you absorb all those vital nutrients as effectively as possible.

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Wrap Up

Finding the right exercises and how many to do for each muscle group can be challenging but it is absolutely possible. Knowing just what you need to do in order to maximize your gains does take some time and research but can greatly affect the outcome of all your goals when you put your mind to it. It is vital to know what you want out of each workout, whether that be strength, endurance, or something else, because that will affect how you program your workout. Higher sets and higher reps can boost conditioning, while lower sets and lower reps can boost strength with more weight. It is up to you, so knowing your goals can influence just how many exercises you do to boost your gains.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Mangine, G.; Hoffman, J.; Gonzalez, A.; Townsend, J.; et al. (2015). “The effect of training volume and intensity on improvements in muscular strength and size in resistance-trained men”. (source)
  2. Willardson, J. (2008). “A Brief Review: How Much Rest between Sets?”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.