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Best way to Judge Strength/Muscle Growth?


I have a quick question so Ill try and make this short and sweet.

Im doing an upper/lower split and ive learned not to worry about what the scale says because your weight can vary so much. SO, the “best way” to judge strength is to continually put more weight on the bar (I think we all can agree with that).

now for my question: I do 3 sets per exercise. I add weight each set. so db bench for example. ill do 65x15, 70x12, 75x10.

so the next time I go to the gym and do db bench I would like to either do more reps or add more weight for similar reps. would it make more sense in terms of judging strength by doing 3 sets of the SAME weight (like 3 sets with 65lbs or w/e) or should i continue adding weight and track my reps that way?

my gut is telling me it doesnt really matter but it might be easier to judge by keeping weight the same.

sorry if that was long haha. thanks for the help!

[quote]bmar22 wrote:

my gut is telling me it doesnt really matter but it might be easier to judge by keeping weight the same.

[/quote]

I think your gut is right… either way works. If you use the same weight and do more reps the next time that’s good… if you change the weights on each set and do more reps for those sets next time, that’s good.

[quote]Gmoore17 wrote:
bmar22 wrote:

my gut is telling me it doesnt really matter but it might be easier to judge by keeping weight the same.

I think your gut is right… either way works. If you use the same weight and do more reps the next time that’s good… if you change the weights on each set and do more reps for those sets next time, that’s good.[/quote]

My issue with this is that it’s not truely the best way to develop bigger muscles. What I’d suggest for the OP since his reps start out above 12 and on the 3rd set he’s down to 10 reps that he can and should increase the weight used on all three sets.

I.e. next workout the weight the OP is doing now for his 3rd set of 8 should be for his 1st set as the weight he’s doing at the rep range he has seems to be too light for him.

Its called “sets across” and “ramping” btw. Personal preference.

If you ramp your weight in the traditional bodybuilding style, all sets but the last are warm-ups.

Only the last set counts when it comes to progression… You only add weight to the warm-ups when the difference becomes too great (i.e. you’re benching 405 for 8 on your work set but your last warm-up is only 225, that’s obviously too much of a gap).

You can reduce reps every additional warm-up set to stay fresh for your top set in that case…

If you want to do straight sets, stick to one of the straight-setted 5*5 routines and gain some experience. Imo that would probably be the best option for you right now anyway.

Doing straight sets with higher reps is just plain counter-productive to rate of strength-gain… There you’re imo better served with ramping up to a single work-set.

I used to just focus on adding more weight to the bar any time possible, but found this less than optimal for growth.

Lately ive been focusing on increasing the volume each week, and have been very happy with my results.

Theres many ways to achieve this, but basically with the same weight you should try to do more reps each workout. Then when you reach a pre-decided total volume, you up the weight and cut the volume back down.