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Should I Do More Sets?

Hi,

Currently I’m doing 3 sets to 75% of failure, 3 times a week. I do full body workouts and one gym session lasts about 40 minutes.

Will increasing the amount of sets from 3 to let’s say 5 and still do each set close to failure give me better results?

Regardless, I am applying progressive overload by either increasing the load or reps.

Will more sets close to failure build more muscle faster than 3 sets to near failure? Or is it enough to do 3 sets to near failure? I would be progressively increasing load or reps regardless.

Thanks

did you try the best damn workout by Christian thibodeau ? look like your kind of approach ! you should take a look at

Never heard of that workout but I’ve just read up on it and it’s very close indeed to what I have been doing for the past 14 years, even from when looking at the exercises mentioned. What I have always done is gradually increase the load over time.

I was basically wondering if doing more sets will build muscle faster. But the article (https://www.t-nation.com/training/the-best-damn-workout-plan-for-natural-lifters) mentions that it is better to keep volume low and workout more often when you’re a natural lifter (which I have always been) to allow protein synthesis to be greater than breakdown. So according to the article the answer to my question would be to keep doing three sets per muscle per workout and work each muscle 3 to 4 times a week. So as long as I am applying progressive overload doing more reps or increasing the load over time, I will build muscle and doing more sets will not accelerate the process.

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you answer your own question hehe

have a good day !

What does this mean?

It’s entirely pointless to discuss increasing sets without knowing how many exercises and reps you’re doing in each session throughout the week. What does your plan currently look like?

3 sets can be enough or it can be not enough or it can be too much. Again, more details are needed to actually know what’s going on.

Details below:

I’m doing 3 sets to 75% of failure

What does this mean?
It means the amount of reps I do for an exercise if 75% of the total reps I would have done if I had gone to failure. It means for biceps for example I took a 40 kg weight (please note I am not a beginner, I have been lifting weights since 2004 and have gradually increased the load over time) and did three sets to failure. On set 1 I got to failure after 12 sets, on set 2 after 11 reps, and set 3 after 9 reps. I then calculated 75% of 12, 11 and 9 to make sure I don’t lift to failure but close enough to it to stimulate the muscle enough. Which means I lift 75% of failure: for biceps on set 1: 9 reps, set 2: 8 reps, set 3: 7 reps. Then over time I gradualluy increase the load or the reps from there. I used to workout to failure on every set for 2 years and that was too much for my nervous system to take. I was feeling like passing out all the time and always tired and my heartbeat constantly elevated.

Will increasing the amount of sets from 3 to let’s say 5

It’s entirely pointless to discuss increasing sets without knowing how many exercises and reps you’re doing in each session throughout the week. What does your plan currently look like?
I always do 3 sessions per week and 3 sets per exercise per workout. In one session I do full body workouts: biceps 40 kg 9 reps 3 sets, triceps 40 kg 8 reps 3 sets, traps 40 kg 11 reps 3 sets, lats 40 kg 9 reps 3 sets, shoulders 40 kg 6 reps 3 sets, legs 35 kg 12 reps 3 sets, chest 35 kg 9 reps 3 sets, abs 0 kg 23 reps 3 sets, neck 25 kg 13 reps 3 sets. This takes me around 40 min per session. Gradually over time I increase the load or reps.

Will more sets close to failure build more muscle faster than 3 sets to near failure? Or is it enough to do 3 sets to near failure?

3 sets can be enough or it can be not enough or it can be too much. Again, more details are needed to actually know what’s going on.

Looks like it :slight_smile:

Okay yeah, that’s not really a thing. And it’s not an effective way to train. If you don’t want to lift to failure, stop just 1 or 2 reps beforehand, not 25% sooner. That’s leaving too many reps undone, so you’re not getting sufficient training stimulus.

This is gonna sound rough… but you’re absolutely a beginner. You’re incredibly weak. Even though you haven’t mentioned which exercises you’re using, based on the weights, your completely beginner level. That’s (sort of) a good thing because it means you can still see great progress relatively quickly as soon as you start training better.

Sorry, man, but it looks like you’ve been training incorrectly for 14 years. You really need to follow a well-designed program from the site, whether it’s Best Damn Workout or whatever. For example, the Waterbury Method is a full body, 3 day a week plan that uses 10 sets of 3 and 4 sets of 6. There are plenty of different ways to program training more effectively than what you’re doing.

I don’t go to the gym to workout. I use a duffel bag in which I add weights. As mentioned before for biceps for example I am lifting 40 KG kilograms (not LBS but kilograms). I lift this with one hand for 12 reps to failure. I wouldn’t call that weak and I am not small. By that I mean I look muscular. At my heaviest, 6 years ago I was using 50 KG. For legs and chest I put the bag on my back and do squats and pushups.

Also as far as I know building muscle doesn’t have anything to do with lifting to failure. But rather with the application of progresssive overload: increasing load, reps, sets or frequency over time.

Also I am natural. Not on any drugs of any kind. Not even flu medecine. My goal is bodybuilding not strongman, weight lifting or power lifting.

If you already know what does and doesn’t build muscle, why did you create this post?

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To ask if doing more sets would help build muscle faster. As I asked in my first comment/post.

@Chris_Colucci works for the weightlifting website you asked your training question on, which strongly suggests (to me, at least) that he probably knows what he’s talking about. Despite this, you dismissed out-of-hand his responses to your query. That speaks volumes regarding your mindset.

The impression you’re creating is that you’re not going to listen to anyone who says something that doesn’t conform to your preconceived ideas regarding training. Coming from someone whose experience is as limited as yours, this is puzzling. At any rate, best of luck with your training.

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post a picture and prove to us that you aren’t a beginner. You certainly sound like one. If you look like a bodybuilder, maybe we can all learn from you. What you’re saying makes you sound like you have no idea what you’re doing. But if you have the results to back it up, then by all means, prove that.

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I actually selected Bodybuilding category when posting but it was changed to Bigger Stronger. Maybe by the reviewer. I’m new to this website so a reviewer has to check every post I make. Despite that I went back and changed the category to Bodybuilding but it changed back to Bigger Stronger after a while. I did not dismiss his ideas. I clarified that my aim is bodybuilding and not strongman, power lifting, etc. Please read my earlier replies.

If I had 100 chances to guess how you were training biceps, I wouldn’t have gotten around to guessing “one-arm duffle bag curls”. Dude, that’s exactly why I was asking for specifics about your routine.

So, sure, that slightly changes things. But it doesn’t totally change my assessment. For example, if you’re squatting less weight than you’re one-arm curling, something’s very, very wrong with your approach and your capabilities.

That’s misstated. Lifting to failure isn’t required for building muscle, but I wouldn’t say one “doesn’t have anything to do” with the other.

Yes and no. Progressive overload is a fundamental approach to building muscle. But, to build size, you still need to use the right weight for an appropriate total volume. If you end a set too soon (before doing “enough” reps with a given weight), it doesn’t provide a sufficient training stimulus.

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Yep, I moved it because the Bodybuilding forum is for discussing physique sports and competitions. Bigger, Stronger, Leaner is for discussing more general “how to build muscle” questions like this.

I am not squatting less weight than what I lift for biceps. When squatting I have 35 kg on my back plus my entire body weight. That’s a total of 140 KG. Which is more than the 40 KG I use for biceps. I lifted to failure for the last two years and before that I did not. I got at my heaviest and looking more muscular when I was focusing on lifting heavier and heavier for 2 sets without ever going to failure or even approaching it. The last two years (2016-2017) of lifting to failure has left me exhausted and demotivated. I felt tired, exhausted and irritated all day long and I felt like I could not sustain any physical or mental effort for very long. That’s why I stared lifting at 75% of failure. To make it easier on my nervous system. That’s why I’m now asking on this forum if doing more sets as opposed to going to failure, will stimulate the muscle more. If it’s even worth doing more sets. Based on my personal experience whenever I have increased the load even while decreasing volume at the same time, I got bigger. Anyway, regardless of whether the way I had been working out for the past 14 years is “correct” or not according to bodybuilders all I know is that I am quite big and have quite a bit of muscle. I have more muscle than my uncle who works in construction all day long for the past 25 years and who’s taller than i am. I am also very strong and when I walk in the street people don’t see me as a skinny or normal guy. So obviously I have been doing the right thing. Agreed it’s not traditional but I don’t have time nor money to waste by going into a gym every day and doing 30 different exercises that target the same muscle. I’m exaggerating but what I’ve done so far has worked great for me.

It… It doesn’t really work like that

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Hush. Dude just added over 200 lbs to my squat.

Edit: Since one doesn’t have to lift their knees, shin bones, calves and feet during a squat, do we have to subtract that weight from the total? (If we do, it’s the first time I’ve been glad to have puny calves.)

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Would love to see a video of you curl an 88lbs duffel bag 12 times.

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