A very common question that many people have is how many sets and reps are you supposed to do for each muscle group to build the maximum amount muscle? In today’s video, I’m going to dive deep into answering this question and really the fact is that, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sets and Reps. In case you’re an absolute beginner let me start by clarifying what a set is. A set is a group of consecutive repetitions. So what that means is that if you do 10 reps of let’s say a shoulder press and then you put the weight down that’s considered a set.
Now the reason why I can’t just be like just do 6 sets or 9 sets or 20 sets is that building muscle is not simply dependent on the number of sets. Building muscle is a function of total training volume. And volume is your sets times your reps times intensity. At this point, you already know what sets and Reps are. The intensity in regard to building muscle is usually defined by how much weight you’re using during that set. So you could generally view volume assets X reps X your weight load. For the most part the more volume you do the more your muscles will grow. So your goal has to be to increase your volume overtime if you want to gain some muscle mass. Something else that you should know is that different people have different ratios of muscle fiber types in their body. We have slow twitch muscle fibers which are mostly used for longer duration activities such as running at a steady pace and performing exercises at higher rep ranges. And we also have fast twitch muscle fibers which you would use when you’re going really heavy with lower reps and when you’re doing something explosive such as sprinting. The percentages of slow and fast-twitch muscle fibers are highly dependent on your genetics. One isn’t necessarily better than the other however each requires a different approach to stimulate growth. Fast twitch require less sets less reps and heavier weight, while slow-twitch will require the opposite, more sets more reps and lighter weight. When I say lighter weight I still mean you should go heavy. You should be going heavy enough to where you’re still failing at the end of your set. All I mean by lighter weight is that you’re obviously not going to be able to lift the same weight for 15 reps that you could lift for 6 reps. But again if you have mostly slow twitch muscle fibers that doesn’t mean that you pick a weight that you could easily do for those 15 reps it should still be heavy and you should be failing by the 14th or 15th rep for sure. You may be wondering what type of muscle fibers you have. And really it’s not that important what type you have. THE REASON FOR THat is because you have both, so the important thing is to understand that you have two different types and you should train both types of muscle fibers. You can do this by doing periodization. A simple way to define periodization would be to mix up your rep ranges. So for 3 weeks you would do three reps then for 3 weeks you would do 6 to 8 reps and then for 3 weeks you would do 10-15 reps. This will guarantee that you stimulate both of your muscle fiber types. when choosing how many sets to do, generally the heavier the weight that you lift and the less reps… believe it or not you’ll usually have to do less sets because you’re getting a lot more volume from the higher intensity. And the opposite is true for when you go for the higher rep ranges and the lower intensities… you’re going to have to do more sets. With periodization, the reps, sets, and the length of time for which you do it for is not set in stone. For example a different popular approach is to do 2 days of higher reps and sets like 8 to 12 reps for 6 sets and then one day of a heavier weight for less reps and sets like three to six reps for only three sets. Periodization is just another way of saying mix it up. You could do smaller cycles of mixing it up like the two lighter days and one heavy day that I just mentioned, or you could do larger Cycles like the 3 week cycles that I was talking about earlier. Both approaches work and you should try both.So even though it is possible to lose a hundred pounds in 7 weeks and it is possible to lose over 30 pounds in one week it usually isn’t applicable to regular people in the real world. And allow me to explain why. First of all most of the contestants on the Show start off extremely heavy. one contestant was even 526 pounds. Most of you are not starting off at such a high weight. Without getting too in-depth into the reasons why all you gotta know is that the higher your starting weight the faster you’ll be able to lose a larger amount of weight. But even with the higher starting weight aside, these contestants are forced to work out 5 to 6 hours a day while eating strictly supervised diets. That’s what gets them losing double-digits every week. I’ve been training for a long time and sometimes I would do double sessions in one day. Which would mean I would do a workout and then come back later to work out again. Maybe at the most, I worked out three and a half or four hours in 1 day. And I would never do that back to back for consecutive days. Also, my body was already in great shape to handle that kind of stress. But working out that much would still absolutely kill me. How in the world these people on this show are able to work out that much without straight up dying is beyond me. But something that you can be sure of is that the average person is not going to be able to maintain that kind of pace. Even the advance person will not be able to maintain that kind of pace especially because as you become more fit it’s harder to lose more and more weight. The risks of losing weight that fasts easily outweigh the benefits. You run the risk of developing gallstones, mineral deficiencies, and you can end up in the hospital like many biggest loser contestants from exhaustion. On top of that even if you don’t care about your health and you only care about your looks, well losing weight that fast, your looks will suffer too. You’re definitely going to lose muscle mass and there’s a much larger chance of having excess skin and stretch marks when you’re done.
So I still haven’t given you guys a solid amount of sets that you should be doing to grow your muscles. Like I said it’s not a very straightforward question. But what I could do is give you guys an answer based on my experience. I explain in the video.
Check out my client Matt’s transformation where he put on a whole bunch of muscle.