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How Do You Manage Reps & Sets Progression?

How do you manage your progression with sets and reps ?

Let’s say your program says 3x10 :

  • 1st session 9-9-8 then 10-10-9 then 10-10-10 increase weight and repeat.
  • 1st session 9-9-8-4 then 10-10-9-1 then 12-10-8 increase weight and repeat. Here your target is to hit 30 reps in 3 sets.
  • or something different ?

And which one was the most effective for you ?

If your program says 3x10, it’s telling you to do the first one. You can do the second one, or whatever else, but if someone writes a program with 3x10, they’re telling you to do 3 sets of 10, not 3 or 4 sets adding up to 30.

What @flappinit says. The difficulty is finding a weight that you can do 3x10 with straight sets without grinding or missing reps. Maybe try a weight you can 12-13 clean reps with.

Another method is how Dan John programs them. The first set is about 50% of your 10 RM, your second about 75% of your 10 RM, and your last is your 10 RM and fight to get it. Once you get to the point you can do more clean reps, then add weight. (Personally, I really like this method).

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Paul Carter’s 8-12-8 method is pretty good.

Yup, you can ramp up in weight or do straight sets. DJ’s method will allow you to add more weight faster, since you only have to perform 10 reps of a weight instead of 30 total reps to move up. But straight sets are also a beautiful driver of hypertrophy - performing multiple hard work sets is harder than hitting your 10RM once, IMO. I spent a long time doing that and got some good size out of it, but now I do more of the Paul Carter 8-12-8 method that @jshaving mentioned, which is pretty similar to Dan John’s method.

Call me a pedant but if my program says 3x10 then what I would do is 3x10.

I’d progress it by increasing the weight when I feel I could do 12 reps in my last set. It doesn’t need to be perfect.