Double Progression: How Many Sets/Reps?

If choosing to do double progression for the main lifts of the day, how many sets and reps would you prescribe for a mix of strength and size goal?

For sets I’m guessing 3 to 5, but with the lower amount of sets progression in weight will be faster…

Example: 5x3-5


In this example I would not be able to move up in weight the following session. BUT, if it was 3 sets I would increase next session. What are your thoughts?

Thank you

Yeah, 3-5 would be my answer. With 4 being my “normal” recommendation. I find that when using low reps/heavy weights, the 3rd set is often the best one. Once you can maintain performance for a 4th set this is when the body will adapt the most.

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Coach, would you modify your Simple Guaranteed Size & Strength reps if the goal was more size than strength? Would sets of 10-12 be any better than sets of 8, and if so, would you still do three sets on day one and five sets on day two?

I really enjoyed that program, but I’m still not 100% recovered from biceps tenodesis surgery (June 5, 2019). I’d like to stick with higher reps 10-15 range to avoid stressing my shoulder too much, but I like to have a progression in place so I push myself. I was thinking of 3x10 and 5x10 but also wondered if 2x10 and 4x10 would be effective. What are your thoughts?

Oh, and this only applies to upper body. I have no desire to do 5x10 on squats and deadlifts!


Thank you, That makes sense. Would 3 to 5 reps or 4 to 6 reps be your recommendation for strength and size goals?

For what it’s worth, here’s a power building scheme CT shared a while back that should give you some guidance. Each day is dedicated to squats, BP, DL, and OP with 5 sets of 3-5 reps.

Here’s another from CT that’s an upper-lower split with 4 sets of 4-6 reps.

Pretty sure either sure either rep range “works” for size and strength.

Better? No. Just as good (for hypertrophy)? Yes.

I would likely do 3 and 4 sets respectively because of the higher number of reps.

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4 to 6 might give you MARGINALLY more growth because 3 reps/set isn’t that great for growth (unless you do like 8-10 sets, but this can cause other problems).But honestly you would probably not see a noticeable difference between the two protocoles over something like 6-12 weeks of training.

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I know there’s no magic rep range. I have CT’s article for rep ranges and goals bookmarked, but it kind of goes against my physical therapist’s recommendations. I’m 8+ months post-op, but she still wants me to keep the sets at 10 reps or higher. I’d much rather do sets of 8 and 5, though.

Yeah, being post-op changes things. I was only passing along the schemes for the OP – I wouldn’t try to make recommendations on situations like yours. Besides, from what I’ve seen you post in the past, you’re the one to give me suggestions!

Hope your arm recovers soon.

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May I ask you about double progression if I can’t move on?
I do normaly 8-10 reps and I stuck in this zone over the month.
Should I change the program (I don’t want to) or is the best way keep program (if I enjoy it mentally) and change Rep range?
So for example, one month 8-10, than other month 4-6, back to 8-10 an so on. Thanks

While ideally, for hypertorphy, you’d stick to 6-10 reps/set. You can still get similar growth (but not strength) with higher reps if you go to failure or keep 1 rep in reserve

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Two three options are:

  1. Change the exercise. You can’t keep increasing strength on a movement forever, otherwise we would all bench 1000lbs. Changing movement, and then getting stronger on that new movement is the simplest, and probably the best approach. But don’t change as soon as you can’t gain strength on an exercise (it could simply be a bad workout) you need to be stagnated for around 3 workouts to change OR feel an regression for 1-2 workouts.

  2. Change the rep range. By going either higher or lower by one rep range you can squeeze a little more progression. But this will likely work for 2 weeks (same reason as mentioned above: you can’t add weight on a movement forever).

  3. Deload for a week or two. Stop 1-2 reps short of where you would normally go. For example if you are stuck at 200lbs, doing 8 reps, 8 reps, 7, reps, 6 reps for your sets. Use the same 200lbs and only do sets of 5-6 reps for 1-2 weeks.


Thank you for the answer. But one more question please.
In first option is written the change exercise and then is change movement. I though the movement pattern should be the same but exercise different. Do I get it right?
So when you wrote bench for example (horizontal press). Should be bench press replaced with dumbbell BP or hammer press etc, everything is the horizontal press (movement)?
In your YouTube video (mandatory exercise) and article about movement is said, “these movements should be trained”.
I am not native English, so maybe I didn’t get it clearly

Ideally stick to the same pattern. You could go from flat to incline, that would be fine too. Don’t make it more complicated than it is.

Something like:

Bench: close-grip bench, wide-grip bench, DB press, hammer/machine chest press, smith machine bench, smith machine wide bench, smith machine close-grip bench, incline bench press, incline DB press, smith machine incline press, decline bench, decline close-grip bench

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be exactly similar.

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Coach is there a way to program double progression and all out sets (rest pause) in the same workout?

Or should I do 4 weeks of double progression followed by 4 weeks of all out sets (leaving 1 rep in tank)? I would rather combine the 2 together.

Maybe like Main lift - dbl progression , with 1 or 2 assistance lifts rest paused?

Or main and assistance dbl progression and then isolation rest pause for muscles involved

Thank you

What you could do is do rest/pause when you can’t reach the top of the zone.

For example is the zone is 6-8 reps and the first 3 sets you get 8 but on the fourth you fail at 6 or 7, rest 15 sec and get as many extra reps as possible (even if the total exceeds 8). BUT the next week stick to the same weight until you can get all of your work sets at the top of the range with the weight.


This is awesome. So if you can get all reps then dont rest pause but if you dont then rest pause it…

I never thought of a good way to do it like this!

Thank you!