sets and strength

can anyone tell me what a recommended amount of sets would be for strength training instead of hypertrophy, also would you do more sets for bigger muscle groups than smaller for strength training? thanks for any info you can give

Read everything by Poliquin, here. You might find tidbits like this:

Intensification Phases are characterized by:

  • Low number of exercises (1-2 per bodypart)
  • Lower Reps (1-6)
  • Higher Sets (10-12 per bodypart)
  • Lower volumes (total number of sets times total number of reps, e.g. 6 sets of 3 reps=18 reps of volume)
  • Higher intensities (80% and above)
  • Longer rest intervals (3-5 minutes)

The ‘Past Issues’ are wonderful, check them out sometime.

are the 10 to 12 sets with the warm up sets or without, and how much warm up sets if with, just curious, thanks

Either. The difference between 9 and 12 work sets isn’t hugely significant.

A solid warmup could be a 3 set pyramid beginning with, say, 40% of your intended load, and then an additional 20% for each successive set. Light stretching is optional.


when i do the 5x5 method lets say with the chest, i dont see a point in doing any other exercise for the chest, because if you improve on the 5x5 method you wont really improve much in the other chest exercise because you are more fatigued from the 5x5 improvement, also i work out a muscle group every 5 days so i may actually need to keep the volume down, dont know if any of this makes since or not, any thoughts

I disagree.

There is a HUGE difference between 9 and 12 working sets! Unless you think that 33% isn’t significant?

Regarding warmup, I’ll say this: It is acceptable to do a large number of warmup sets, but it is not acceptable to do a large number of reps in those sets. The purpose of a warmup is to familiarize the body with the expected load, and to familiarize it with the range of motion.

Let’s say you were warming up to a working weight of 225 for 5x5 on bench. A warmup scheme might look like this:

45x5, 95x3, 135x3, 155x3, 185x3, 205x3

Now, regarding your supplementary work question. If you’re looking to increase your strength in a primary movement, it’s beneficial to do some work for the invividual components that power the movement of the big lift. For example, if you’re looking to bring up your bench, tricep work is in order. If you’re working deads, accessory hamstring work will go a long way in producing a desirable training effect. That is, making you stronger!