T Nation

number of sets and strength phase

what would be an appropriate number of sets for different body parts when on a strength phase? i am using the maximal weights outline, but not doing any supersetting (too many people in the gym to do that). i do back and bis day 1, chest and tris day 2, legs day 4, and shoulders and ancilleraries day 5.

Total # of reps on a strength phase from Fitness & Strength Training for All Sports:
15-25 @95-100% 1RM,
20-40 @90-95% 1RM,
35-85 @80-90% 1RM,
70-110 @75-80% 1RM
The # of reps depends on both the # of exercises & fitness (GPP I think they mean). With 4 exercises shoot for the lower bound of the rep range & for 2 exercises go for the higher bound.

Could be your stabaliser muscles are still fatigued ro the preceeding sets. Maybe some external shoulder rotations would help. Do you train delts after chest? Could be your triceps, the obvious weal link in any pressing movement, are totally blitzed from any earlier pressing work. Delts are a relatively small muscle group that dont need tonnes of sets, could be theyr’e just overtained. To to address each of the above possibilities in turn to see which one is more likely. It could just be that due to your lever length/muscle fibre make up you are able to make very deep inroads into your ability to recover between sets and need an extra 60 seconds recovery.

well, hmm, not exactly the responses i’m looking for. haha. for example, i’ve on back and bicep day, i’ll do five sets of pullups for 5x5, and then maybe 3-4 sets of rows around the 5 rep range. then i’ll do 3-4 sets of biceps in the same rep range. is this adequate? or do i need to add more sets?

yes it is adequate
remember there is an inverse relation ship between intensity and volume.
I wouldnt call the method you are using strength training though. It seems like it would defintely be a hypertrophy focussed strength training if that makes any sence. For pure strength training you may want to drop the reps a little lower than 5 and up the weight.

Sets’n’reps that I find ideal for strength:
5 sets of 1 rep OR 3 sets of 3 reps or 2 sets of 5 reps.

well, the maximal weights program changes every few weeks, doing sets of 6x2 and 5/4/3/2/1 etc. is that not strenth training?

The number of sets you’re doing is fine. I don’t think you need to add any, however, you might need to lower the number. It’s a good workout, give it a shot and if you feel you get burned out quickly then try lowering the number. This is something you can figure out later. However, my concern would lie in your split, you’re doing 4 on/1 off? Yeah, day 5 may be lower volume but I still think that may be too much. If I were you I’d drop it, you work shoulders on back and chest anyway, so don’t worry, they’ll still grow.

Jason I think that you are on the right track. but if you are doing 5 sets of 5 you should not be going to failure on all five sets this is too much volume. I think that 5 sets of 5 is fine but the first few sets should just be a rehersal. You may also want to think of doing chest and bi and back and tri. because by the time you get to you smaller muscle groups your nervous system is shot. After the 3sets of 5 or 5 sets of 5 what ever you do you could go to say 3,1,3 or some other type of wave loading. Good luck TJ

If i remember correctly it is a periodized plan aimed at hypertrophy with concurrent improvements in strength. It is not a pure strength program like the people at westside do. I also agree with a previous post your frequency may be a little too high. The Nervous system needs time to recover to.

to Nathan N: my split is pretty much sun and mon, then wed and thurs…so two on, one off, two on, two off.

to TJ: i'm not lifting to failure at all. as far as doing chest and bi and back and tris i might switch it up every three weeks. if this is the case though, i could add more sets for bis or tris though right?

and i’ve been taking 3 min rests to pretty much fully recover

thanks for your help

I think that your volume is pretty good, but your frequency needs manipulation. I’m on the same time of program (5 rep sets) this week, and am moving on to sets of 2-4 reps for the next two weeks. I’ve found that if you are going to work out two days in a row, one workout needs to focus on upper body and one on lower body. The best way to do so in my opinion is Day 1: Chest, Delts, Triceps. Day 2 : Hip dominant exercises (deadlifts, etc), abs, and calves. Day 3: Off. Day 4: Back, (Lats and Rows), Biceps, and forearms. Day 5: Quad dominant exercises (Squats, etc.). Note that this is the MOST you should be doing in a series. I actually will rest every other day if I don’t feel totally recovered. Just listed to your body, and don’t work out more than two days in a row for any reason in a strength phase.

Here’s Prilepin’s table posted on the Yahoo Supertraining group by none other than Coach Davies!
Percent Reps/Set Total Range
55-65 3-6 24 18-30
70-75 3-6 18 12-24
80-85 2-4 15 10-20
90+ 1-2 7 4-10