T Nation

More Sets/Less Reps vs. Less Sets/More Reps

Which method do you prefer overall?

When would you personally use each method?

For example:
10x5 vs 5x10 in my experience (50 reps total)

10x5 Pro’s - Reps are crisper. Don’t get as fatigued even in the later sets. Use more weight.
10x5 Con’s - Can take a longer time to complete if rest periods are too long.

5x10 Pro’s - Takes less time. You really feel your muscles burn. Get in better condition.
5x10 Con’s - Later reps are not as crisp as earlier ones. Use less weight.

The one big thing I’ve noticed is on a 5x10 my muscles feel pumped while on a 10x5 my muscles just feel rock hard after a training session.

For strength I’d go with 10 x 5, for size I’d go with 5 x 10.

Left to my own devices, I always gravitate toward few working sets with really jacked up intensity modifiers. My most effective deadlift training is effectively 2 worksets: 1 big deadlift set, and 1 big squat dropset.

Different for different exercises.
I hate doing high rep dead lifts. 10 is my self imposed max (most of the time). With 3-8 being my golden zone.
But squats, bench and press, any where between 3 - 12 are fun.
Leg press is a high rep only exercise. 10 min rep minimum but 12-15 is standard.

Boy are you missing out on some fun, haha.


Yeah - I wish I could. But I have a lower back complaint from playing silly sports as a kid. If I high rep dead lift I get pain for days.
I do high rep squats. And every so often I used to do a set of 20 breathing squats. But 20 dead lifts are not worth the resulting week off the gym.

Best progress I ever made was in staying with lower rep ranges, usually between five and eight, but allowing my total number of sets to go higher.

It may not always give you that pumped, feeling engorged with blood feeling, but that doesn’t mean that you have a maximally stimulated hypertrophy in your muscle fibers.



I’ve always done the lower rep ranges, and felt really good. When I decided to compete my coach made me do really high reps which I’d often leave the gym feeling like I could do more. 5 months later I placed 2nd and looked great, idk if it was his method or do to my first cylce of supps.