How Many Sets Should You Do Per Exercise?
Israel invited me to make a post about how many sets you should do per exercise. For a lot of people going to the gym, the amount of sets you should remains unclear. This post will help you out.
Benefits of Sets. What is the purpose of a set anyway? What is it good for?
- Improved Technique. The more sets you do, the more you can practice your technique. If you’re new to weight lifting, 5 sets leads to technical proficiency faster than 3 sets.
- Increased Stress. If you Squat 60kg for 3 sets of 5 reps, you have lifted 900kg. 5 sets of 5 reps with 60kg amounts for 1500kg volume. Volume stresses your body: it forces it to build muscle & strength.
The Problem with Sets. Your body needs to recover from all that stress. You can’t do high amounts of sets for a long time without overtraining. Some symptoms you might experience:
- Lack of motivation
- Strength loss
- Problems sleeping
How Many Sets Should You Do? Best is to shoot for 15 to 25 reps per exercise depending on how many reps you do. Your warm-up sets don’t count. Examples:
- 3 sets of 5 reps. Build strength, power & myofibrillar hypertrophy.
- 5 sets of 5 reps. Same as 3 x 5, but more stress & technical work.
- 3 sets of 8 reps. Less strength, more sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
- 2 sets of 12 reps. More endurance & sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
All rep ranges build muscle, strength & endurance. But some do it better than others. Start light, learn to do your exercises correctly & add weight each workout.
Unless you understand how sets & reps affect your body and thus the results you’re getting, stick to a routine proven to work. If you don’t know which one, check out StrongLifts 5×5. It takes 3x30mins per week.