How Many Exercises Per Muscle Group Does it Take to Build Muscle?

Have you ever wondered why you are struggling to build muscle? If it seems like no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get the results that you want, then you are not alone!

The often nagging question that runs through a lot of people’s minds is, “How many exercises per muscle group does it take it to build muscle?” There might be times that you worry about overworking certain muscle groups while underworking others. In this blog, you can find how many exercises to do per muscle group along with a few other tips about building muscle that you may need to know.

The Short and Long Answer

Believe it or not, there is no one answer that will fit everyone in every situation, so we decided to break it down a bit to help clarify it for you.

The short answer is to do 1 to 3 exercises per muscle group with 4 to 5 reps for each exercise. Keep in mind that this might not work for everyone. As with any type of exercise, whether they are designed to build muscle or lose weight, there are a lot of factors to consider.

The long answer has more to do with how often you are training that muscle group. You also have to consider the number of reps you are doing per exercise and how much effort you are putting into each rep.

Count Reps, Not Exercises

The total number of sets you do for each muscle group has the biggest impact on how each muscle grows. That includes the total number of reps you do during the week, as well as in a single training session.

It can be a slippery slope, to say the least. When you’re trying to build muscle, finding the perfect number of reps can be challenging, especially for beginners.  If you are not doing enough reps, your muscles will not grow. If you do too many, your muscles will become overworked, which will only hinder the ability of your muscles to grow.

This is why it’s more important to count the number of reps rather than the exercises themselves. For example, if you did three different exercises for one muscle group, but only did one rep each, you wouldn’t see any real results.

Repetition is what builds muscles, so it wouldn’t be accurate to only count the exercises themselves.

This is important to keep in mind because there is a ceiling on how much exercise and reps can stimulate your muscles in one sitting. If you reach that ceiling, then you’re doing your muscle groups more harm than good.

Studies have been conducted to prove this point. You can have two different groups of men doing the same exercises for six months, the only difference being the number of reps. In the end, it was the person who did more reps per exercise that showed muscle growth. 

Consult or Work with a Trainer

One of the best ways to determine how many exercises and reps you need to do per muscle group, is by working with a trainer. A reputable trainer can help guide you when it comes to the type of exercises and the number of repetitions. They can also help you perfect your form when you feel that you are ready.

If you are in the beginning stages of building your muscles, then there are a few things you will want to keep in mind. In the next section of our blog, we will give the beginner a few tips to get them headed in the right direction.

Tips for the Beginner

Many people who are starting to work on building their muscles make the mistake of doing too much at once. This can cause injury and keep you from reaching your goals. Some beginners also find their information in fitness magazines and think they can jump on board with little to no guidance.

These are both mistakes that can not only fail to build the muscles you crave but land you in a world of pain as well. Below, you can find a few tips to help you out the right way.

Consult Your Primary Health Care Provider First

Before you start any new exercise routine, you will first want to consult with your doctor. You might think that a little bodybuilding can’t hurt you, but you could be very wrong.

Any previous injuries that you have had you could make worse by overworking yourself.  It’s always best to check with your physician first. Your doctor can help you determine which muscle groups are safe for you to exert and what safety measures you should take

Don’t Overdo it/Rest

One of the biggest mistakes beginning muscle builders make is trying to do too much at once. It’s important to note that sleep and recovery time is just as important, if not more so than the workout time itself is.

It is important to remember that, while professional athletes may work out six to seven times a week, you’re not a professional athlete. It is always best to do one day of workouts, then one day of rest. Pulling muscles is not the way to build them and can sideline you for quite some time. This can end up destroying all of your hard work in the process. Rest and recovery are key if you want to build your muscles, remember that.

Eat Plenty of Protein and Hydrate

Another rookie mistake made by beginners is failing to hydrate properly. Staying hydrated plays a huge part in muscle development.  It’s no different than how becoming dehydrated can make you sick. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after any exercise routine.

Proteins are the building blocks of your muscles, and without them, your muscles will turn to flab. Bulk up on the proteins, but also be careful to eat right as well.



So what is the answer to the age-old question?

While there is no set amount of reps or exercises you should do per muscle group to build muscle, this blog should help you quite a bit. Remember, as a beginner, you should take it easy and build your muscles the right way.  As an experienced muscle builder, you should still be careful. Stay hydrated and work on the muscle groups that you want to build the most first and go from there.



  1. Jay, A Workout Routine, A Workout Routine: The Optimal Volume per Muscle Workout, Informative Article
  2. Staff, All Body Building, The Gym: 10 Tips for Building Muscle for the Beginner, Informative Article
  3. Staff, Muscle Evo, How Many Exercises Per Muscle Group Should You do to Build Muscle?, Informative Article