Every single answer relies heavily on too many factors to give one absolute answer for everybody. But what if you’re a more advanced lifter? Not quite. In fact, just under 20 weekly sets per muscle seems to be a surefire limit for beginners (11). Still they found 32 sets per week grew more muscle. Fitness trainers answer the most googled questions. The actual number of repetitions would be the key difference. The important point is to exercise your muscles to fatigue — meaning that you can't lift any more with that muscle group. Generally, women and people with high work capacities do better with more volume. The upper end of that, so five to eight reps, will also be building muscle as well as strength. ‘Strength training’ is a broad term that is used when discussing the action of lifting weights, as opposed to doing cardio. In strength training, doing five reps per set is a popular way to gain mass. It depends on your goals and your experience. If you get consistent high-quality sleep, have minimal life stress, and have a consistent world class diet, your habitual volume may become suboptimal (26). Schoenfeld, Brad. Amirthalingam T;Mavros Y;Wilson GC;Clarke JL;Mitchell L;Hackett DA; “Effects of a Modified German Volume Training Program on Muscular Hypertrophy and Strength.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27941492/. Krieger, James. The lower the reps the heavier the weight, and a higher percentage of your 1 rep max we work with. To build strength, stick in the range of 1 to 5 reps and 4 to 5 sets. Aube D;Wadhi T;Rauch J;Anand A;Barakat C;Pearson J;Bradshaw J;Zazzo S;Ugrinowitsch C;De Souza EO; “Progressive Resistance Training Volume: Effects on Muscle Thickness, Mass, and Strength Adaptations in Resistance-Trained Individuals.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32058362/. In fact, how often you train a muscle, how heavy you lift, or what fancy overpriced lifting shoes you use are all secondary to training volume. Schoenfeld, B J, et al. “Effect of Resistance Training Set Volume on Upper Body Muscle Hypertrophy: Are More Sets Really Better than Less?” Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29024332. When you lift weights, your workout plan will usually specify a certain number of sets. Does Your Lifestyle Impact Your Immune System? “Reducing Resistance Training Volume during Ramadan Improves Muscle Strength and Power in Football Players.” International Journal of Sports Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24048913. If the final rep is too easy, increase the weight on the subsequent set, but do not perform more reps per set than what is suggested. Rarely, will an athlete or a much stronger guy perform only one … “Dose-Response Relationship between Weekly Resistance Training Volume and Increases in Muscle Mass: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Taylor and Francis Online, www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02640414.2016.1210197. In bodybuilding, though, where the goal is to build bigger muscles as fast as possible, most people do sets of 8–12 reps. Short, intense sets of 15 seconds or less will develop strength, but they simply aren’t as effective in prodding a muscle to grow as sets of 30 to 60 seconds. What rep range should you be training in if gaining strength is your goal? So if you want big juicy arms and thick powerful legs, volume is going to be your new best friend. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30779716. “Evidence for an Upper Threshold for Resistance Training Volume in Trained Women.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. Moreover, additional volume seems to only produce marginal benefits for strength gains, so if you’re solely looking to build strength, doing a ton of hard sets might help, but isn’t necessary to get significantly strong (5). For example, a basic strength workout might list "3x10 chest presses." Sets would need to be performed to or close to failure. “If you’re training for strength you should be doing less than eight reps per set. Just how many sets and reps you do on the deadlift will depend on the type of gains you’re hoping for. Even with the massive amount of modern research, you still have to adjust the scientific recommendations towards your individual needs and goals, but I hope this article gets you training closer towards your ideal volume. There is evidence of 3 or 5 sets performed leading to more gains in endurance, size, and strength when compared to just doing 1 set per workout. It's important to think about the nature of our muscle fiber types and their distribution. You want to not be able to get anymore reps out when you’re finished with your set. Beginners on the other hand, don’t even need much total volume to maximize growth anyways, so not much to worry about there (9,24). For example, your warm up sets do not count as volume. You are forcing your muscles to do more work overall. If you take a standard 60-second rest then you will be failing on the second and third set, which won’t get you stronger, so aim for a couple of minutes break.”, “The rest breaks can be anything up to two minutes. hard sets taken near failure trigger hypertrophy. Why are FIVES the best for increasing strength? Remember additional volume is great, but only if you can recover from it, so don’t increase volume unless you truly need to and can handle it. You only have so much training time, so it’s crucial to remember, volume isn’t always going to be even between body parts for priority reasons. But for pure strength, you need to focus on doing lower reps and you need the weights to be really heavy and really challenging. Do more volume if your recovery markers are stellar. It’s not going to end well if you go from doing 8 sets to 25 sets in one week. However, as many know I enjoy “experimenting” in order to learn more about strength training (which requires that we get out of our comfort zones from time to time). Didn’t You Know Cholesterol Grows Muscle? Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts. If you’re aiming for maximum strength or a physique like the ones you see on ESPN body-building competitions, you need to do at least 10 to 20 sets per muscle group! Furthermore, you could do a bunch of low effort sets that boost volume load, but don’t trigger much muscle growth because only relatively hard sets taken near failure trigger hypertrophy (2). If you’re doing more than six reps then the weight is probably too light, and in order to be building strength you need the reps to be really taxing on the body. Barbalho, Matheus, et al. I always think four sets are enough: it will challenge the body and load up the muscles for them to develop enough and get stronger.”, “When we look at building strength, we usually want to do the big compound lifts. Sets would then be the number of times you do that. indicating extreme volumes were only needed because the rest periods suck. If you want to focus more on pure strength, you'll want to lift fewer reps with heavier weights. “Calculating Set-Volume for the Limb Muscles with the Performance of Multi-Joint Exercises: Implications for Resistance Training Prescription.” ResearchGate. Should we use different rep ranges for different lifts? If our goal is muscle building or fat loss, it means strength or strength, or endurance. 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