How many sets should I do?

By Marwan / July 9, 2014

A quick article for you guys today, we will be taking about how many sets should you do during per exercise?

This was very confusing when I first started, no two people would say the same, and none had any idea why!  I looked like they just picked out the number from the magazine!

Some people would be doing 3 sets, some would be doing 5.

So the question is how many should you do?

The answer is…Are you ready for this?? The answer is not set in black and white!!


Don’t be.  I will explain why.

Before setting out consider this…What is your goal?

Are you a bodybuilder?


Are you a powerlifter?

Are you looking to get stronger?


Are you looking for a ripped physique?

There is an inverse relationship between sets and exercise.

If the number of sets go up the number of exercises would go down, if the number of exercises go up and number of sets go down.

Powerlifters – typically looking to get stronger and would be training in the 1-6 reps for strength.  Their rest times are anywhere between 3-10 minutes between sets.  The closer you are to your 1 rep max the more you are conditioning your Central Nervous System (CNS)

Bodybuilders – Typically looking to trash their muscle fibers so they break down and build back up.  Less likely to specialise in one exercise or muscle group and looking to hit the muscles from various angles.

Here is a table to make it easier for you…

Exercises                                  Sets                                           Rational

10+                                            1                                                Multiple loading from different angles, looking for variety.  Will have low skill level.  Less likely to get good at anything. People who train in this range are endurance athletes or people in rehab

<—-5                                          4-5                                            Variety of angles, speciality benefit or specialisation improvement.  This is your typical bodybuilder.

<—-1                                          10                                              Lots of skill development but lacking in variety.  The powerlifters of this world and strength athletes.

The key to this as always is to periodise so as the body adapts, change it up in order to give it a new stimulus.

I hope you enjoyed this article and are a little clearer about this subject.  As ever leave your comments below and if you liked this article please pass on to friends and family who would be interested.






About the author


Hi, my name is Marwan and I set up this site to help skinny guys and girls just like you to end their frustrations and have the body of their dreams. I believe there are no limitations to what mankind can achieve.