T Nation

Sets, reps, and weight

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each option for, say, an 8x3 program:

  1. Choose a weight that you will be able to get 3 reps with for all 8 sets, approaching failure on the last set.

  2. Choose a weight that you will be able to get 3 reps for a few sets and do as many reps as you can for the remaining sets. If you can get 3 reps for all 8 sets, you need more weight.

  3. Change the weight every few sets to match the rep scheme. (for example: set 1=3x265, set 2=3x275, sets 3&4=3x280, sets5-7=3x275, set 8=3x270) Chad Waterbury told me that this was the best option for his ABBH routine.

  4. Gradually build up the weight so that early sets are relatively easy, with the heaviest set being last. I believe Westside uses this, except with singles.

Is one of these methods better than the others for strength, while another is best for size, or is it important to incorporate all of these methods?

Though I far from being an expert, I would suggest that your comment about mixing it up would be the best approach until you can determine what works best for you. It ttok me a long time to discover that I was not the 6-8 rep type of guy. To be effective I had to hit the 10-12 range. So does this answer your question, I guess not my point is basically each person will find one approach works better than another. There is not a magic plan that works for everyone…If I mis-read your question feel free to roast me…:slight_smile:

I thought that with ABBH you pick a weight and use this same weight on all sets and that you should just be able to complete the final rep of the final set.

IMO you should use a weight on each set that is challenging and stressful, but not impossible to lift. I prefer not going to failure except on the last set, and only one workout out of a few. I believe you should vary the weight depending on how you feel. If you put on 315 for 3 and it feels light, increase the load. If the next set feels heavy, use your best judgement to either stay there or decrease the weight a little. As long as you are improving your total weight lifted per workout, even if it is only 5 lbs per workout, you are still making progress.