T Nation

Too Many Sets?


Hello all, I have just created my own workout with the lessons from CTs how to design a damn good workout and I was curious if my chest shoulder triceps day had too many sets. I do 9 sets per muscle group equaling 27 sets per workout.

My leg days (I have two one for quad the other for hamstring and glute) I only do 9 sets total and on my back and bicep day I do 18. I will prolly add 3 sets of shrugs to back and bicep day for 21 total sets because my rear delts need a bit of work. But on my chest shoulder tricep day I am pretty beat up by the time i get to triceps. I can't even do more than 3 dips when I get there. Should I back off sets or just do easier tricep exercises like an assisted dip and light skullcrushers? Really I am just looking for somebody to tell me if 27 sets is too much.

I make sure to take in plenty of calories and I am trying to pack on a few more pounds.


Show us what your doing that will help a lot

exercises, sets reps loads, goals, rest. etc



27 sets seems like a lot, what makes it worse is that you only do 9 for your legs and currently 18 for your back in comparison. Post your routine but that doesn't sound too balanced.


Alllrighty then,

Exercise Sets Reps Rest(in seconds)

Sunday Legs Quad dominant
Squat 3 6-8 90-120
Lunge 2 8-10 60-90
leg ext 2 10-12 45-60
terminal leg ext. 2 12-20 30-45

Monday Back and Bis
Pull ups 3 6-8 90-120
Seated Cable Row 3 8-10 60-90
Straight arm pulldown3 10-12 45-60
Standing BB curl 3 6-8 90-120
Seated DB curl 3 8-10 60-90
Cable curl 3 10-12 45-90

Wednesday Legs Hips dominant
Sumo Deadlift 3 6-8 90-120
Good Morning 2 8-10 60-90
Leg Curl 2 10-12 45-60
Reverse Hyper 2 12-20 30-45

Friday Chest Delts Tris
Bench 5 6-8 90-120
Incline Bench 4 8-10 60-90
Standing BB military 5 6-8 90-120
Arnold Press 4 8-10 60-90
Dips 5 6-8 90-120
Lying BB tri Ext 4 8-10 60-90

I just did what the guide instructed me to do. Friday is long but still doable, and since Friday is Push thats why i do shoulders and chest and tris. I freaked a bit because I realized I couldn't do a dip but i should just do some assisted I think. Either that or I could drop the reverse hyper and throw shoulders on Wednesday and do chest and tris friday.

However I did feel very worked on Friday and I may stick it. Tell me what you think about it. I eat enough and rest on my off days to sustain this amount of training, though to you im sure it isnt much. I am 204 lbs looking to hit about 215 and then go on a fat cut. I have been gaining since I weighed 170lbs. I am 6 feet or 6' 1".


IMO, if you have to ask the question, then you are doing too much.


To be honest with you nobody will be able to tell you if 27 sets is too much except you. At least one of my workouts usually has well over 40 (I haven't counted exactly) sets and I don't overtrain or start to lose muscle (as some would have you believe).

So try it and make any changes that are necessary.

Although this may fly in the face of certain "rules" that are currently accepted, I believe that the body is capable of great things. Assuming that something as simple as a high volume training session will cause your body to shut down shows a lack of belief in your own abilities. Of course you may find that high volume is too much for you but you have to try it to know for sure.


If you can't even do 3 regular dips, you're either out of shape or you're probably training yourself to failure/near failure. Stimulate, don't annihilate. On each of those exercises before you start working your triceps, there is plenty of tricep work there.
I might also add your workout for Monday is a bit messed up. That's a lot of redundant concentration curls to be doing.


In would personally add some damn load to the DL for sure and maybe even the squat. get then in the 1-5 rep range youve got plenty of work in the higher rep ranges some intensity will help



Thanks everybody, I got what I needed to hear.


Generally most people can handle 12 total sets for their larger muscle groups (chest/back/thighs) and 9 total sets for their smaller muscle groups (shoulders/arms/calves)

The main thing you have to fix is avoiding redundancies.

For example if you are able to do barbell curls, then dumbbell curls, then cable curls, I can already tell you weren't giving your all to your first barbell curl sets. Because all of those exercises work the same movement of the biceps, except for POSSIBLY dumbbell curls if you are rotating the wrist at all... see what I mean?