I get a good number of questions through email about the number of weight lifting exercises per workout.
People ask: “How many exercises should I be doing each workout?”
Many people attempt to design a workout program themselves, and I want to clear up any confusion over this hot topic.
It's important to get this right because you could possibly waste weeks and weeks of time doing too many exercises and slowing your progress to a complete stop. I don't want you to waste your time and become frustrated.
Usually, frustration with a lack of results leads to people quitting. And quitting is the last thing I want you to do.
Today, I'll show you how many weight lifting exercises you should be doing so you are always making progress.
A HUGE Mistake Made in MANY Weight Lifting Programs That MUST Be Corrected Now…
I hang out around some of the more popular weight lifting forums and bodybuilding forums. I do so simply to give me ideas on how to help people and find the mistakes people are making.
I like to look at weight lifting programs and how people are designing them.
Just the other day, I was reading about a free program put together by a guy who is trying to help others. He's trying but he's actually slowing progress.
Let me explain…
Just so you understand — THE most important muscle building factor is increasing the amount of weight you are lifting. It's not fatigue. It's not going to failure. It's not getting a pump. It's not volume.
It's increasing the weight as frequent and as much as possible — this is THE most important muscle building factor.
You MUST understand this before going any further.
ANY weight lifting program designed to build muscle fast MUST recognize this fact and help you increase the weight as much as possible and as often as possible… this can and should be every workout or at least every other workout.
You should never lift the same weight for more than 3 consecutive workouts. You will not get results unless you continue to increase the weight.
Now That You Know the Most Important Muscle Building Factor… Let Me Continue With My Story:
I see weight lifting programs designed by people who have no idea what builds muscle. They just don't understand the simple fact that increasing the weight more often will lead to the fastest muscle gains.
Sure… they tell you to increase the weight whenever you can, but they don't design the program to do so.
So how in the world does the number of weight lifting exercises fit into this muscle building equation?
Here's the key: if you have too many different workouts with a number of different weight lifting exercises, you won't have the chance to make progress and increase the weight on ANY given exercise.
For example, let's say you have 6 different workouts with different exercises in each workout that you rotate.
You perform each workout once every 2 weeks or once every 14 days. This gives you a chance to improve on a given exercise once every 2 weeks.
Now, let's take a different workout program with 2 different workouts that you rotate. You get a chance to increase the weight on each exercise every 4th day versus every 14th day on the other workout program.
The workout program that allows you to increase the weight more often is far superior to a program that only allows you to increase the weight a few times over an entire weight lifting cycle.
I hope you understand this point because it's VERY, VERY important.
Don't fall for fancy programs that have you doing all types of exercises and different workouts that are supposed to impress you. You don't need a ton of different weightlifting exercises. Trust me on this.
Why Do You Need So Many Different Workouts and Weight Lifting Exercises In a Weight Lifting Program?
I can answer that question easily… “YOU DON'T!!!”
There is absolutely no reason to include so many different workouts and so many different weight training exercises in a program.
If you think you need to SHOCK the body by doing different exercises or that your body will adapt to a given exercise, you are right because you haven't been increasing the weight each workout.
If you take a program that I design where you are increasing the weight you are lifting each workout, your body never adapts. You have no need to shock your body because your body isn't adapting.
When you increase the weight, that alone is enough to prevent your body from adapting to an exercise or workout. I can't stand it when people are constantly changing workouts because they think their body needs to be ‘shocked.”
If you constantly change workouts and weight lifting exercises, how do you know if you're making progress? You don't! I fell for this for many, many years and never made any progress — not one ounce of progress.
Here's EXACTLY What I Recommend You Do…
A full body workout program is the program I always recommend for everyone except very advanced bodybuilders. And this will still work with very advanced bodybuilders if they want to build overall size fast.
Most very advanced bodybuilders are trying to bring up a weakness without building size elsewhere, though, so they can be more balanced overall. They aren't looking to build more size everywhere.
A full body workout program allows you to take the most important muscle building factor and maximize it's potential. You can increase the weight on each weight lifting exercise OFTEN. The results are amazing.
For example, you can have 1 or 2 different workouts that you rotate.
You can add a little variety with a few different workouts if you need the variety. 2 different workouts allows the cycle to last a longer duration… with one workout, you reach your maximums a lot faster. Both have their advantages.
If you are just starting out, give a single workout a shot. Then you can add some variety later on…
If you have a single workout you do 3 times per week, you have 3 chances each week to increase the weight and make progress. Each workout gives you the opportunity to build muscle in each major muscle group.
Here's an Example Workout Program With the Right Amount of Weight Lifting Exercises
This is just a quick example of a workout program and similar to some of the weight lifting programs you'll find within the WLC System.
This is a simplified program compared to the workout programs within the WLC System, but it will help you understand the point I am trying to make.
A single workout will be done each scheduled workout. Here's what it will look like minus warm ups:
- Bench Press
- Romanian Deadlift
- Overhead Press
- Calf Raises
- Pull Ups
I know… it isn't fancy with tons of isolation exercises, but a workout like the above with the right plan will have you building more muscle than you ever imagined possible.
You just don't need a ton of different weight lifting exercises. All you need is a good workout with the best compound weight lifting exercises and increase the weight very often with a good plan for making progress.
You would take the workout above and use the following weekly workout schedule:
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
Now, there are several keys that you must understand for you to make progress with the workout program above.
One of the secrets used within the WLC System for building muscle is to start or end each weight lifting cycle with a full break from any weight bearing activity including weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise.
This de-conditions your muscles and allows your body to fully recover from a previous weight lifting cycle. It's a good break that your body needs and allows you to recover physically and mentally from consecutive weeks of tough workouts.
Most importantly, though, this break sets you up for success on your upcoming weight lifting program. How so?
You will start out with very light weights with your first workout and higher than normal reps — say something like 15 to 20 reps with light weights. Since your muscles are not accustomed to ANY weight load after your break, you will get results from light weights.
From there, you will increase the weight EACH workout.
As the it gets tough to reach the targeted number of reps (say 15 as an example), you still continue to increase the weight. When you can't reach the target number of reps, you simply decrease that number and continue to increase the weight.
A Weekly Rep Schedule for Weight Progression on Each Exercise Might Look Something Like This…
You should have a targeted number of reps to reach each workout. It gives you something to shoot for, and makes you stop purposely when you reach that number… no reason to go to failure every workout on every exercise.
Here's what a weekly rep schedule might look like for the course of the weight lifting cycle.
Week 1: 15 reps
Week 2: 15 reps
Week 3: 12 reps
Week 4: 12 reps
Week 5: 8 reps
Week 6: 8 reps
Week 7: 5 reps
Week 8: 5 reps
See how the number of reps decrease over the course of the 8-week weight lifting program? This allows you to constantly increase the weight and make progress on each of the weight lifting exercises.
Just to emphasize my point once more… you get 24 opportunities to increase the weight you are lifting with the example program I've laid out here over an 8 week period.
Let's say another program has you doing 6 different workouts… on the same 3 day per week schedule. You would only get 4 chances to increase the weight versus 24 with the other program.
You can always make progress on any program as long as you increase the weight, but the more often you increase the weight… the better the results. Fewer exercises and fewer workouts allows you to increase the weight more often.
And I'll leave you with that… I hope you take the advice on this page and use it to your advantage.