WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The total sets and reps performed during a workout (or over a week). Ten sets of ten reps, for instance, would be considered a high-volume workout, whereas three sets of five (or, if you’re an Olympic weightlifter, eight sets of two) is fairly low-volume. It’s often inversely correlated with intensity – ie the lower the volume, the higher the intensity should be, and vice versa.
WHY SHOULD YOU WORRY ABOUT IT?
Studies suggest that, generally, higher volume is linked to improvement: if you’re struggling to make progress, just throwing in a few more sets or reps (or another exercise entirely) might be enough to change that. “The tricky part is that you need to keep the work high-quality,” says trainer James Adamson. “If you’re doing six arms exercises but hardly putting in any effort on the last three, you’d be better off stripping things back and putting in more effort – or upping the weight.” More volume also means recovery is more important.
Pump up the volume on squat day with a workout from Man Of Steel trainer Michael Blevins. Put 60% of your max on the bar and aim for a total of 100 reps over your workout, doing 20 burpee pull-ups every time you rack the bar. Don’t plan any stair-based activities afterwards.