T Nation


I am curious as to how many sets everyone does during one training session.

I have always felt that a minimum of 12 sets and a maximum of 24 were best for me during one session. While I have tried many variations, including as many as 60 one time. I find that my 12 to 24 rule fits me pretty well.

How about the rest of you, how many sets do you feel is best for one training session?

I would be careful with the choice of the word “rule”; it’s a little too limiting in my mind. Perhaps guideline would be a little better?

It really depends on intensity. I probably do 24 or more sets in most workouts, but that’s what Westside calls for.

sets without number of reps per set is irrelevant.

you say 12-24, well are those sets of 12 or sets of 2?


That is for you to tell me! I usually train in the 6 to 12 rep range.

What is your “guidline of thumb” when you train. No…that did not sound right. What is your “rule of thumb”?

We are talking sets here!

Holy crap that is a lot of total reps per workout. You’re telling me you do anywhere from 72 reps (12 sets * 6 reps)to 288 reps (24 sets * 12 reps) per workout? I typically do anywhere from 6 to 9 total sets when I’m doing reps in the 6 to 8 range. I doubt during any workout I break a 100 reps. I’m way too burnt. Even if I go up to 18 sets I’m averaging reps of 3 for the workout (54 total reps).

My “rule of thumb” is usually dictated by the number of reps. If I am using higher intensity the reps are low and sets are high per exercise 2-4 reps anywhere between 8-12 sets and lower the intensity the higher the reps and lower the sets. Always varies between my goals. Right now I am doing 5X5 upper body to maintain strength while combining 5X5 and edurance (gpp) bodyweight exercises and energy system work to condition my legs for a ski trip in a month. Prior to this I spent 3 months doing WSB and had great gains in strength and 10bs added BW. After my trip(honeymoon) I will return to WSB.

I am currently doing The Creation Continues by John M Berardi The peridization for today looks like this.

Cleans: 8 sets x 3 reps (135, 135, 135, 135, 135, 185, 185, 205)

Squat: 8 sets x 3 reps (225, 225, 225, 225, 275, 275, 315, 315)

Dips: 8 sets x 1-2 reps short of failure (8, 8, 8, 6, 6, 5, 5, 4)

when im training for hypertrophy i follow something along the lines of ovt/gvt. about 100 reps per large muscle group.

when im training for strength i do anywhere from 25-50 total reps per bodypart.

I’d say I usually do 4 or 5 exercises per session, with 4 or 5 sets per exercise. So thats 16 - 25, a simmilar range to the one ZEB mentioned.

This can be a little higher if I’m doing something like drop sets or pyramids.


Actually, if I work four sets 6 to 12 reps that is an average of 9 reps x 24 total sets = 216 total reps. And this would be a big workout for me. 9x12 sets = 108.

You think it’s to many reps?


If it’s working for you, great. I just know that I’m just not good at handling a lot of volume during my workouts. I always tend to stay on the side of intense even during higher volume days. I just get too burnt out to approach anything over 100 reps/day. That’s just me.


I use from 15-25 sets per compound lift but at low rep ranges (2-5). i usually keep the total volume the same if for some reason i’m doing higher reps but not for any particular reason except i get burnt out quickly with high reps.

I wonder if I naturally have slower twitch muscle fiber and can tolerate the higher reps?

Whenever I train in the low rep range, it does not seem to do anything for me.

Lately been doing lower reps(for me) which is around 3-6. Sometimes I up the reps to around 8-10 but I usually do around 10-13 sets total per workout either way, so similar to what you are doing. This just seems to work the best for me.

OOps, I reread your post. I thought you had said a lower set range. So my volume is not that similar to your’s.

I usually find myseld doing between 17 and 22 sets per workout.

don’t think about reps per workout, think sets. 5 reps of heavy squats is much more taxing on the body than 5 reps of bicep curls. If your focusing on just a muscle group during the workout (gvt)than thats a different story.



The question is how many sets per workout. How many do you usually do?