How Many Exercises Per Muscle Group – How To Build Lean Muscle Mass

Joining a gym can be intimidating right, especially when you’ve never really done any weight training before and you’re going by yourself.

It takes a bit of courage.

I was kind of in that position.

We did a bit of basic weight training in PE in high school which I didn’t really care too much about.

My parents got me a bench press and a few weights for Christmas one year.

I would play around with that.

I really had no idea what I was doing.

No idea about reps or anything! I was just playing.

Fast forward 10 or so years and my wife (girlfriend at the time) was working there as a membership consultant at a gym.

So she talked me into signing up and booked me in with a PT.

I did the session with the PT and got a bit more clarity on training but was still kind of just playing.

Watching over people and trying to figure how to navigate this big new world I had entered.

Because she worked there I would often hang around after my workouts waiting for her to finish.

I got talking with one of the trainers, an ex-bodybuilder.

I remember talking to him about my sessions and how I noticed other guys were training.

It seemed like they were there for hours, doing 1000 different variations of bicep curls and whatnot.

To me, it seemed like they were just doing a lot of the same thing on whatever muscle group they were working that day.

It was him who first told me how unnecessary it was to do sessions for that long. How 45 minutes-1 hour was the ideal time.

He even went as far as saying you only needed to do 3-5 exercises every session.

Not the 12-15 some guys were doing.

So I changed what I was doing.

I started looking into different programs for building strength and doing without spending hours at the gym.

Taking his advice on board I would aim to do around 3 different movements on each muscle group.

And depending on what sort of phase I am at with my training that is still how I do it to this day.

I’m not doing a lot of weight training at the moment. I focus more on bodyweight movements. 

But last year when I did my last phase with weights I was only ever doing 3 per muscle group.

Let’s say I was doing chest and triceps. It might have looked something like this.

Chest – Bench press, Dumbbell flys, and Incline press.

Triceps – Weighted Dips, Skull crushers, and Pulldowns.

How Many Exercises Per Workout

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles you really don’t need to spend hours at the gym every session.

45 minutes is ideal. In that time you can get 6-8 exercises out.

Take the above list as an example and finish off with 2 core movements and you’ve got a pretty good workout in.

That would be how I would recommend doing it if you were doing 2 muscle groups per session.

Check out this article on pull-up bar exercises for abs!

For some just starting out though I would recommend doing an upper-body lower body split.

Or a push, pull legs split.

You can target the muscle groups at least two times a week that way.

You can also try different exercises every time.

If you were to get two push days in a week you could do one with barbell movements and later on in the week you do dumbbells.

You could even try one day with weights and the second push day with bodyweight movements.

You’ll be giving your muscles a lot more variety and keep your body guessing.

But for me, there’s not really any reason why you would need to do more than 6-8 exercises per workout.

That being said here’s a great workout for your arms and it is only 2 exercises, and you’re all done in 10 minutes!

How Many Workouts Per Day

Plenty of people do it.

Professional athletes train at least twice a day so you can as well, right?

Or wrong…

Proceeding with caution is the best advice I can give.

Look if you do it right by all means you can train twice a day.

I do it, I’ve been doing it for years.

And like I said, pro athletes, do it too.

The difference between you and a pro athlete though, is they have a team of professionals around them.

Monitoring them, feeding them, telling them when to rest, telling them how intense the week or day is going to be.

If you don’t have all that, it can be very tricky to get the balance right.

But look, I get it.

You’re seeing results and they can’t come fast enough.

So how do we get that balance right?

You need to make sure you are getting enough rest for a start.

It would not be wise to do 2 sessions within a few hours of each other.

You need at least 6 hours to get some food in order to recover.

The other thing you want to make sure you’re getting right is to not double up on things.

Just like you wouldn’t do a heavy leg session two days in a row you definitely don’t want to do it twice in a day.

The only way to do doubles safely is to make them different.

I’ll do an upper body strength session in the morning but I might go for a run in the afternoon.

Doing strength and cardio on the same day is fine.

But I wouldn’t do a heavy leg session than a big run in the afternoon.

Maybe you could do a big leg session then some light boxing work in the after for cardio.

And be aware of the intensity of your sessions.

Two light sessions a day is fine, one heavy one light is fine.

But try to avoid two intense sessions.

If you do that though, have a rest day the next day.

I won’t typically do two many double days in a week.

Never more than 2 days in a row.

I also put a deload week every 4-5 weeks.

A week where I cut my sessions right back. I still train just not as hard. It lets my body recover.

Before you go today make sure you get yourself a copy of my FREE Ebook, Train wherever the f*ck you want!

Learn how you can burn fat and build muscle from anywhere in the world!