T Nation

8-12-8: How Many Sets? Frequency Per Week?


As above in reference to your latest T-Nation article.


I’m not Paul but you can easily design a simple upper-lower split including your fave exercises m, ramping up to 1 or 2 all-out sets. That’s how I do it.


I would do an upper lower and IT COULD look something like this:

Monday (Lower)
Back Squat - 4x8-12
RDL - 4x8-12
Lunges, Abs

Tuesday (Upper)
Bench Press - 4x8-12
BB Row - 4x8-12
Chin-Ups, Curls

Thursday (Lower)
Deadlift - 5x3-5
Back Squat - 4x8-12 (a bit lighter than Monday’s load)
Lunges, Abs

Friday (Upper)
OH Press - 4x8-12
T-Bar Row - 4x8-12
Pull-Ups, Curls

You get the picture.


Thanks for the input. Looks good.


I wrote about this on my IG.

I trained each muscle directly once a week, and did one top set per movement. That’s it. That’s what I did for the majority of those 10-15 years.

I didn’t train the muscle twice a week, I didn’t do whole body routines, I didn’t believe that “volume was the driver for growth” (it’s not). I focused on those single working sets and tried to get stronger on them.

I gave the list of movements.


Thanks, Coach!

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Hey Paul, love the low volume single set approach. What would be your thoughts on a set of 8-12 total reps rest paused? Hypothetically something like going from 4-2-2 to 6-3-3 over time, before adding weight. I believe Christian Thibaudeau has talked about this before to reach a set of 8-12, but didn’t really delve into progression. Would this be feasible for those of us who like low reps? Thanks in advance, love your work.


I don’t like that method because reps below 6 will be pushing for a higher degree of loading, which has a higher correlation of injury associated with it as well. A minimum of 6 reps for upperbody work, when training for growth is my standard. Anything less than that I think is sub-optimal. If you’re going to use a rest/pause approach then I find it best to hit at the very least 8 reps on the opening set.