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Multiple Sets of Low Reps


When you guys train with multiple sets of low reps (like 6x2or 8x3 or anything like that), how does this work exactly?

Usually the same weight is used for all of the sets, right?

Are you supposed to fail on any of these sets? Like the last rep of the last set?

How do you progress on this style of training? Because I imagine it would be pretty hard to add 5 pounds to all of your sets each week.


The purpose of those sets is to work a shit lload of volume WITHOUT having to go to fail. I think the term im trying to reach is steady progression in the sense that if your doing 6x2 @ 225lb bench for example, complete it. Next session, do 5x2 and on the sixth set do 3 reps. Continue until it is 6x3, then go to 235 for 6x2


I train more or less how you describe. Multiple sets of low reps, and same weight for all work sets.

I have limited experience but for what it's worth I think the key to progression here is to start the cycle of training with all of your sets using a certain weight, and then increasing the weight used the following workout for as many sets as possible. For example :

Week 1: 300 pound squat 6 sets of 2.

In the workout following this, it might not be possible for you yet to get 305 for 6 sets of 2 so instead you could do,

Week 2: 305 pound squat 3 sets of 2 followed by 300 pound squat 3 sets of 2.

You bump the weight for a few sets while keeping it the same as the previous week for the remainder, this is still a PR. The following week you might be strong enough to do,

Week 3: 305 pound squat 6 sets of 2

I progress this way if it's not possible to do the prescribed sets using the same weight.

Also, I don't think failure is advised when working with such a high percentage of max as is advocated with multiple sets of low reps.

My 20 cents worth.

Edit: Pipes' suggested method is also a very effective way of measuring progression.


In my opinion multiple sets with low reps has always been THE number one way to building strength. You should use multiple sets during your preparatory period of training (or accumulation) when you use lower intensity (less than 90%).

If its hard to add 5 pounds then you are starting with too big poundage. In my opinion you should never fail a rep when using this protocol. You should concentrate on perfect form on each rep and leave at least 1-2 reps in the bank on all sets...it might be only 1 rep in the last set if you are not well conditioned. Remember that working as low as 70-85% of your single rep max for multiple sets of 2-5 reps is effective in building your strength. This is how majority of IPF powerlifters and weightlifters still work.

There's another period for working max weights (over 90%) but then you should lower the volume.

The first part of the famous russian squat routine is a good way to build volume in the preparatory period.

6x2 @ 80%
6x3 @ 80%
6x2 @ 80%
6x4 @ 80%
6x2 @ 80%
6x5 @ 80%
6x2 @ 80%
6x6 @ 80%

You can also go for example 5x5 instead of 6x2 for every second workout.

Also doing multiple sets without using constant weight can be a good option if you have troubles in increasing weight (even though that doesn't have to be the main concern during the preparatory training). So progression like

6x2 @ 75-77.5-80-80-77.5-75
6x2 @ 75-80-80-80-80-75
6x2 @ 75-80-82.5-82.5-80-75

etc... is a good way to increase weights without lowering volume. Just make sure that all working sets are above certain minimum (like 75% in this case). And you can mix between 2's and 3's for example (every second workout or even during the same).


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It depends on what your goals are. When I wanted to gain strength in the 3 major lifts, I used the Westside training template (ME and DE). I would do usually 3 lifts over 90% for the primary movement (conjugated form of squat/deadlift/or bench) per Maximum Effort workout and 8x3 for dynamic workout with approximately 60%.

Right now I am doing Waterbury's 25 reps scheme, similar to the way he set it up for the V-diet 3.0. I do as many sets as required to reach 25 reps. As an example, bench pressing 225lbs x 4,3,3,3,3,3,2,2,2 for a total of 25 reps.


Yes, yes, yes. Multiple sets of low reps is the stuff strength is made of. High rep stuff on secondary movements is ok for hypertrophy but if you really work the multi set low-rep thing, you'll get bigger and much stronger. Use this for compound movements only, not isolation movements.

10 sets of 1 is great. Same weight.

5 sets of 2 is great. Same weight.

8 sets of 3 is (OK). Same weight.

This system needs to be a once a week deal, maybe even once every two weeks. Alternate it with another set/rep scheme like a 5x5 or something a little more interesting like a 3-rep max followed by a 10-12 rep-max with a set weight.
Don't go to failure, leave one or two reps in the bag UNLESS the extra effort will complete a goal weight.
Adding 5lbs a week is tough, but adding a rep or two every time is great.
Look, if you only add 5lb a month, you're looking at a 60lb increase in a year and if you're kinda new at this you'll add more than that. Enjoy.