Workout volume is an important marker of the relative load and effort of a workout. Volume is determined by factors such as sets, repetitions, load, weight displacement, and body mass. Volume load (VL), the most common technique for measuring training volume, is calculated by multiplying repetitions x weight x sets. Other techniques include maximum dynamic strength volume load (MDSV reps x [bodyweight – lower leg weight + weight lifted]), time under tension (TUT: eccentric time + concentric time), and total work (TW: force x displacement).
Researchers from Appalachian State University in North Carolina found large differences between the four methods when calculating volumes, following workouts designed to develop either strength, power, or muscle mass. For the average bodybuilder, VL remains the easiest and most practical method of assessing workout volume. It is useful as long as you don’t try to compare one type of workout with another.