T Nation

How many # sets & reps. for pure muscle size?

Looking to increase muscle size in some areas.
How many sets and reps should I do?
How about tempo as well?

Not so concerned about strength right now, just size.

Where strength goes, size is sure to follow.

Dude, your gonna have to do some reading. Often the best results come from a mixture of things. For back and chest I’ve used Ian King’s “Twelve weeks to super strength” series. Generally he used 1 or 2 work sets (That means you don’t include any of the warmup sets)…but the reps varied from 2-12 depending on the week (there’s 4x3 week stages). It worked great except retrospectively I should’ve eaten more! I only ate massive in the last 3 weeks, before that I was only slightly hypercaloric which prevented me from optimizing my gains.

Do a search for the body part you want to focus on. Read a few of the programs and either follow one or see what tempos and set/rep system they use. I really like Ian King’s programs…they’re pretty tough but work wonders. See what else John Romaniello wrote (I’m doing Diamonds in the Rough for calves right now and love it). Hell, I don’t think there’s any writer for this mag that doesn’t write great programs…READ EVERYTHING!!

Now that’s a serious can of worms. A few basic bodybuilding paradigms:

  1. Everybody adapts to training differently.

  2. Progress stagnates if the training stimuli isn’t changed periodically.

Essentially, growth is a function of volume, intensity, and recovery. Goldberg wants you to lift heavy. Heavy lifting (a high percentage of your max) isn’t possible with 10+ rep sets, so instead of the standard 3x12, you would try 5x6, or 10x3. As long as the overall volume remains high, you will progress.

And of course, supersets, pre-exhaustion, slow eccentric movements, and a host of advanced techniques promote more complete muscular breakdown.

Exercise variety is certainly important. Acclimatization results in growth stagnation; throw your body for a loop with different weights in new directions and the soreness fairy will leave a pincushion in your sheets at night.

Compound movements with unstable weights (ie, dumbbells and bodyweight, not machines) recruit the most muscle for a given rep. Do them often. The root of a serious program is not concentration curls.

Consistent workouts dictate success. Younger lifters can often train to failure consistently without dramatically affecting recovery time. Older lifters often cannot. In order to lift 5 times a week without overtraining, you must not push to failure.

DI

2.79 Sets
8.12 Reps
2.78-.93-1.25 Tempo

Those are the perfect set/rep schemes for muscle hypertrophy.

In fact, they’re the only ones that work.

I’m with Ike, only I think it is 2.78 sets.

Ike-Didn’t you read this month’s “Flex?” They changed everything! Now we’re screwed!

Fuck that, I’ve got ANDROPECINATOR. Sixteen tabs a day for striated glutes and a giant vein in place of my forearms.

Come with me to the abdominator and I will shout slogans at you. Go past the max! Master your ass!

DI

not really Goldberg

Yes, really, Invisible.

Ike: 3 years ago-body weight:138, bench press (example, other lifts follow the same proportion): 185

2 days ago-body weight: 143, bench press:270

so no, not really

Strength is a basis for size.

Perhaps another look at what already is known would be of some help. Many attribute strength gains to nueral training. Studies as early as 1954 have contradicted the theory of strength increase as a result of the ability to activate more motor units. Yes there learning an coordinated effort to consider, but the bottom line is that in an individual, the ability to generate more force is greatly attributed to a greater cross sectional area. Fibers don’t all contract at once. That is known. Their becoming more synchronus would explain the ability to generate more force, but this is not completely linear. What is needed is a steady increase in the amount of tension by a muscle to elicit growth continuously. that is, add more weight. To whomever posted their strength gains, I would love to see their training journal to note exacly when the strength gans came, when they slowed down, and the body composition details at steady points during the training cycle. go heavy, heavier at each successive workout and you shouldn’t worry aboutsize gains.

whatever you say invisible. maybe thats why your invisible. just kidding.