# Max. Weight vs. Volume - what to orient on?

I'm always reading about total volume being one of (or even the) most important factor when it comes to building muscle. In order to progressivly overload, I try to add weight everytime I can in the given increments (for my gym that would be 2,5kg). If I'm not able to add weight, I try to atleast do one more rep than last workout.

Doing that, I was able to bench press 27,5kg for 12 reps last week (= 330kg total volume). This week, I tried to get myself up to 30kg but only was able to perform 10 reps, which is my minimum goal for one set (totalling in 300kg volume). The fact, that I was able to lift 30kg, to me indicates I got stronger.

But since the total volume obviously dropped, I'm a little confused what to orient on.

• You mention that you were able to do 12 reps with 27.5kg, for a total of 330kg total volume. There is a flaw in how you measure this. Let's say you loaded the bar with 330kg. You would not be able to move the bar at all, and the total volume would be 0kg. Do you see how this way of measuring your strength fails?
– Alec
Aug 29, 2018 at 11:55
• @Alec How should one measure it then? Isn't volume equal to mass times reps? Aug 29, 2018 at 11:58
• That's a measurement for volume, yes. But volume and strength don't have a one-to-one relationship, as illustrated by the example with 330kg on the bar, resulting in 0 volume. We measure strength in terms of the highest possible weight you can lift for exactly one rep. We call it our one-rep-max, or 1RM for short. Anyway, I'm just trying to clarify this before writing an answer.
– Alec
Aug 29, 2018 at 13:17
• @Alec Okay got you, thanks for the clarification. Aug 29, 2018 at 15:52
• That is not how you calculate volume. Volume is reps times sets. Tonnage is reps times sets times mass. Aug 30, 2018 at 0:54