How Many Sets to Build Muscle?

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Posted on Wednesday 3 August 2011

One of the most common questions is how many sets and reps is ideal for muscle gain. It is a very good question and it is important you get it right to make the most of a workout.

However, everyone has a different opinion and different advice on how many reps to do which can make it very confusing. You might be thinking logically that the more sets and reps you do then the more muscle you will gain.

This isn't true. When it comes to reps the answer is simple; if you want to bulk up then you need to do less reps. Higher rep ranges will not stimulate your muscles as effectively for muscle growth.

Higher reps will only increase muscle endurance but not make your muscles bigger. If you want to get nicely define, toned muscle then aim for a rep range of 15+ reps.

So what is low? Well in my opinion 6 to 12 reps is an ideal range. In a lot of work outs you will see 6 reps are recommended. This is the best range for optimal results.

So what about sets? This isn't as clear cut, but again you don't want to over-do it. For beginners one set of each exercise is usually enough. Over time this can be increased to 2 and then 3 and even 4. But you should never need to go above that number of sets. The number of sets and reps is an individual thing and depends on the individual persons strength.

In my experience; the best thing to do is try different rep and set ranges. See what works. Try, for example, 4 sets of 12,10,8,6 for a month, then try reducing this by a set. Log all your changes to see what results you get.

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