T Nation

Tri-Sets Method

What do you guys think of tri-sets for hypertrophy?

I’ve often seen it prescribed for the previous goal in mind, but never got much out of it myself.

For those of you not familiar with tri-sets, it’s basically hitting the same muscle group with 3 different exercises without resting. Sometimes the rep ranges vary from one exercise to the next; like:

A1. Flat Barbell Bench Press (4-6 reps)
A2. 30-degree Incline Barbell Bench Press (8-10 reps)
A3. 45-degree Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (12-15 reps)

Rest (and possibly repeat).

Now, I’ve often heard that optimal strength training requires you to use at least 80% of your 1RM; and that optimal hypertrophy training requires at least 70% of your 1RM (although I’ve heard beginners could get away with 60% of 1RM). The reason why I bring this up is because with every passing set fatigue increases, and therefore decreases the load that could be handled in the following sets (even more so when no rest is taken) which would, in most cases, force a lifter to use a load less than 60% of their 1RM.

Going back to my example, this would mean that a lifter would probably have to use a load that he would normally use to hit 12-13 reps for the 8-10 rep set, and 20 reps for his 12-15 rep set!

Anyways, you guys see where I’m going with this.

So… can anyone say they’ve ever used this method successfully?


TUT, volume and heavy weights all contribute to hypertrophy. With a set of 80%/70%/60%, you’re doing all three. You’ll bloat just like I did, but make sure you don’t use them too often.

also consider including single joint exercises…not just presses and you don’t necessarily have to cram a different angle into the tri-set by doing a flat and then varying angles of incline.

that wont be easy in even a moderately crowded gym and you’ll spend too much time switching bench degrees and rushing from one bench to another. consider doing one tri-set of all flat and then another of all incline or decline: something like:

A1: flat bench w/ db (4-6)
A2: flat flys (8-10)
A3: flat bench w/ bb (12+)

then go to the next angle. fly/press/fly works well too for a change up. i love to keep my muscles guessing.

Depends on your experience and what not?

I wouldnt recommend for beginning but they are always good

if you read up on different training styles, many use this

Milos Sarcev uses this (but more Giant sets 5-6 exercises) and has seen great results

Others dont

Experiment, but wouldnt use them exclusively

Pretty much what’s already been said, I do use them as they tend to make me very sore the next day and I really feel it during the workout. For chest I did;

small incline DB bench (6-8)
same incline DB flies (8-10)
Pushups (failure)

Even for back

Straight arm pulldown
Wide-grip pulldown

I wouldn’t use it all the time, like already said, but it’s fun to use from time to time.