T Nation

Number of Sets for Strength?

“Workouts have to be short and effective, and when you train for relative strength you have to do a lot of sets. If you do a lot of sets, you can’t do a lot of exercises. Athletes need split training to get adequate recovery.”

~Excerpt from one of the strength articles in the archives.

Is he meaning 5x5 for example all at 90% or greater effort?

Currently I’m ramping weight to one max set but this doesn’t feel like enough stimulation. What amount would you prescribe? Assuming I’m a typical 18 year old with a good diet and plenty of sleep.

I am getting stronger using this method but it stills feels too quick and ‘easy’. (My max set is not easy but all the others are.)

5x5 @ 90% is sorta impossible. i suggest 5x5 across. check out rippetoe’s Texas Method.

I like 3x5 for strength building, then when I start to get near limit weights, I cut the warm ups and work towards a single set of 5, and then a couple of weeks down the line, single sets of 3.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
I like 3x5 for strength building, then when I start to get near limit weights, I cut the warm ups and work towards a single set of 5, and then a couple of weeks down the line, single sets of 3.[/quote]

So you do 3 sets of 5 all at the same weight.

Then when that gets too hard you do a single set of 5.

Then 3 when the 5 gets too heavy.

Then you repeat the 3x5? (Hopefully stronger than you were before)

~

Just making sure I understand this.

[quote]LiftSmart wrote:
Hanley wrote:
I like 3x5 for strength building, then when I start to get near limit weights, I cut the warm ups and work towards a single set of 5, and then a couple of weeks down the line, single sets of 3.

So you do 3 sets of 5 all at the same weight.

Then when that gets too hard you do a single set of 5.

Then 3 when the 5 gets too heavy.

Then you repeat the 3x5? (Hopefully stronger than you were before)

~

Just making sure I understand this.[/quote]

Pretty much… but by the time I get to the 3’s, it’s normally time to start adding in equipment as I get ready for a comp, so it turns into a completley different exercise and I can keep increasing the weight.

Even starting out at something like 3x8, then 3x5, then 1x5, then 1x3 before coming back to 3x8 might work. It’s important to be able to ensure constant progression tho. You don’t wanna hit a max 3x8 in week one. You’re better taking small jumps over 3 or 4 weeks before doing it. Something like 5kg/10lb a week.

Dependent on training age too.

Good advice from Hanley IMO, get something goin’ that works consistently.

i like 10x3 personally.

This might help you some:

  1. If you’re getting stronger don’t change anything.

  2. Eventually, you will stop getting stronger. Then you need to adjust things. If you are doing a 5x5 type scheme training the whole body in one shot, you can milk this for awhile.

  3. Once you are squatting 500, pulling 600, and benching 350 or thereabouts, it is much more difficult to recover from training everything in one shot. It’s not impossible, but succesful regimes using this approach are not for everybody. Expect to spend 2-3 hours in the gym 3-4 times a week.

  4. Hanley gave you very good advice. Powerlifters have been getting strong from progressive overload moving from 5s to 3s to 2s to heavy singles over the course of two or three months for decades now. It still works.

  5. Some people are motor morons. They need a lot of volume with the competitive lifts or their bodies forget how to do them and they can’t retain strength. Others (Ed Coan for instance) need only a couple sets a week. Find out whether you are a motor genius or a motor moron, and train accordingly.

  6. Don’t use high volume for its own sake…do so only when and if you need to.

Thanks for the advice.

Motor Morons… I like that!!