I've started working out several month ago at home. I'm building my own training routines and using mostly Super-sets. (as for the equipment I use dumbbells, exercise bands and body weight).

Mostly I use 5-6 sets of 2 exercies (a super set). I perform each set twice.

The objective is full-body exercise while building the core and muscles.

The problem is I don't know if I workout too much or too little... How would one know that?

Sometimes I can't finish a routine and sometimes it's too easy. Sometimes if I don't eat much carbs before the routine - I break in the middle (feel deep fatigue and can't move).

Ideas? :)


EDIT: I've been asked to elaborate more on my goals.

I'm looking to beef up a little and shape up. I've got a pretty average body structure - 1.81 m / 90kg (little over weight).

So the goal is to lose some weight (fat) and gain more muscle.

I'd like to get a great core (health, posture, muscle) and more strength with toning (arms, chest)

  • Great question @Bob, its often hard to get a feel for how hard you should be working out so you don't get injured and don't progress too slowly
    – Ivo Flipse
    Dec 8, 2011 at 12:41
  • @Bob it might be helpful if you expanded on your goals a bit more. When you say "building the core and muscles", are you looking primarily for strength, mass, body composition, or...? Very specific goals will likely change the answer.
    – G__
    Dec 8, 2011 at 16:19
  • @Greg - you're right. I've added a little more info
    – Bob
    Dec 8, 2011 at 18:00
  • Consider the question turned on its head: What is the minimal effort/intensity that you need to do in order to get the maximal effect of any possible training routine you could do? To that end, I recommend that you read "Body By Science". I used to do a very time -intensive workout, but now I do an effort intensive, time-efficient workout that seems to be packing on the muscles. ( I now have shirts I can no longer wear due to muscle hypertrophy. ) Dec 8, 2011 at 19:36
  • @RossRogers - Thanks for the tip. It seems there is pretty harsh debate going on about the benefits of the program. I must agree with them that 12mins/week won't beef you up or make you leaner.
    – Bob
    Dec 8, 2011 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


I'm pretty sure there's no 'science' to determine intensity - you need to do that by results: both positive and negative. You'll know in 3-6 weeks if your routine is good if it's starting to provide the results you want - on the flip side, if you're getting injured, sick, etc. you know it's a bad routine....and if there are no positive changes - not a good routine (so, you have good, not good and bad).

If you based your routine on one of the hundreds used by trainers, that are available in either books or web (many for free) - they you can be assured that (depending on the author/trainer) that it's well rounded.

Your description of 5-6 sets x 2 reps x 2 exercises - seems like the reps a light UNLESS you're going heavy on the weights (which is something you probably shouldn't consistently do). The 'typical' set/rep pattern is 3 sets of 8 reps (even if you superset) for size/endurance and 5 sets of 5 reps for strength....

The statement that 'sometime I can finish easily sometimes I can't' seems to indicate that your supersets and/or daily routine is not well balanced or focused. Think about what supersets are for: either to allow extra rest on the focus area while working auxiliary muscles (ex: the focus is on chest so you're doing bench presses, the second exercise could be calf raises or lunges)....OR to add more strain to the focus area (ex: focus on chest so you're doing bench presses, the second exercise could be over head press).

  • Isn't doing 'experiments' what science is all about? ;-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Dec 8, 2011 at 22:59
  • According to Jeff Atwood, yes. Don't be afraid to use the science.
    – user241
    Dec 9, 2011 at 14:17
  • Science? Maybe...but people don't systematically approach to show the positive and negative affects...just for change.......So, maybe in a very narrow scope of what science is. The definition is: 1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences. 2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation Dec 9, 2011 at 14:20
  • Thanks. I guess I'll try using different approaches to find the best one.
    – Bob
    Dec 11, 2011 at 9:22

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