T Nation

Alternate Sets or Straight Sets?


question about alternating sets or straight sets

okay so i just started a higher frequency routine where i workout chest and back and arms twice a week
heres the routine
monday - chest back arms
tuesday - legs
wednesday - shoulders arms
friday - chest back and arms

anyways thats not important my question is:
i do 2 exercises for chest and back each for each chest back and arm day, should i alternate sets of chest and back exercises or finish all sets of one chest exercise then move to a back exercise and finish all sets before moving to the second chest exercise and same with the last back exercise?

i always alternate the sets of arm workouts just for pump, and thats the only reason im asking about the set scheme, is because i know id get a bigger and better pump if i alternated sets, but i have noticed when i finish one chest exercise then move onto the back exercise then by the time i hit my next chest exercise im more recovered and ready to hit heavier weight?

which do you guys prefer or think i should do?


Well, for one, your routine setup isn't very efficient, to put it nicely.


you answered your own question.

You're better rested if you alternate, and can hit heavier weights....so do it that way.


why isnt my set up efficeint, i based off of what modock told me to do on an earlier thread except i switched legs from thursday to tuesday


and you answered my question all messed up i said if you alternate you get better pump but you cant hit the next exercise as strong as you would if you didnt alternate and finished all sets of one chest exercise before hitting a back exercise then going to your next chest, then your next back exercise


Hmm. I misread the OP. thought you said you get a better pump AND can do more weight alternating. After re-reading, It comes down to your priorities. Are you lifting to get a pump or move weight? In general, more weight would mean more muscle growth, so it seems like you should go with the option that lets you move the most weight.


well the goal is hypertrophy and if strength was the goal i would go with the one that lets me move the most weight, but like i said the goal is hypertrophy so im wondering if a workout with a better pump would help that cause


In general, a pump doesn't necessarily mean hypertrophy. You can get a pump curling a barbell for 20-30 reps, but you're not going to get muscle growth (any appreciable amount) from it.


I'm interested in what exercises you plan on doing.


Why's that?


for chest back and arms i do this:

flat barbell bench
weighted pullups (narrow grip palms faceing eachother parallel)
incline barbell bench
wide grip rows
barbell curl (45lb bar)(slightly wider than shoulder width)
overhead tricep extentions (since we dont have dumbells i just put weights on one side of a 25 lb straight bar and lift it over my head like a dumbell tricep extention with two arms.)

thats the first workout the second time in the week that i hit chest back and arms looks like this

incline barbell bench
wide grip lat pulldown
weighted dips
one arm rows reverse grip (kind of like the same grip youd use for a chinup with palms up except doing a row)
concentration curls
one arm tricep extentions with the rope on a pully system

i also do arms with shoulders and on that day i do this:

skull crushers
preacher curls

i do 3-4 sets on everything that i workout more than once a week and my reps may very weekly from 2-10


oh the one arm tricep extentions on the pully system are over head

and the preacher curls are with the EZ bar


It's something I've always wondered. I know Modok is a fan of alternating. I do it mainly for time reasons, and it does tend to feel easier on the joints.

They say you can stimulate more hypertrophy by resting less between sets, and I guess this is one way of doing that...


That's actually how I would pair things up ... if I did full body. I would doubt I could give it my all, each exercise, but power to you! I super set some things for time purposes, so I can see the positives for training in such a way.


Nevermind, I'm dumb and couldn't read earlier.


I thought Modok liked to finish all sets of a chest exercise before moving to the back exercise rather than switching exercises between sets kind of like superseting


I really hope some advanced members chime in here as I'm very interested in their thoughts. This is something I've always wondered, but don't really see it being discussed much on the forums or in articles.


I would recommend alternating your alternations, meaning sometimes superset and sometimes don't. There are two forms of hypertrophy: Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and myofibrillar hypertrophy. In sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, you are using the bodybuilder technique of staying in a relatively lighter rep range (probably 8-15) and using higher volume to establish the 'pump', which basically stretches the muscle cell forcing it to adapt to a bigger size. Myofibrellar hypertrophy involves heavier weights resulting in lower rep schemes(1-5) which stresses the muscle so much a pump is not necessarily formed, but the actin and myosin that are the contractile components of muscle tissue increase in number. More actin and myosin=more muscle strength. Basically, take advantage of both if you want maximum results. Favor the pump aspect, but understand heavier weights=more muscle.


meeeeeeeeeeeee 2


i like this answer im going to look into this


Go fuck yourself with this bullshit