Sets, reps and exercises for a great workout


Many people have questions about how many sets to do and how many reps and how many exercises for each muscle group.

The question is too big and the answer is even greater as it depends on your goals.

How many exercises per muscle group

First of all we need to look at the number of exercises you will do per muscle group.

muscle names

There are nine muscle groups that we can only distinguish for simplicity. calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, abs, chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps.

The best way to work a muscle is to work all the muscle fibers and the only way to do this is to do exercises that work the muscle from different angles so that you can tax every part of the muscle.

Often advanced bodybuilders will do three or four exercises for each muscle group. This means for example that for your shoulders you will make front lateral elevations for the front deltoid, lateral lateral elevation for the middle deltoid, and reverse butterflies for the rear deltoid.

Number of sets per exercise

Then we will look at the number of sets you will do for each muscle group.

I think it's important not to promote your muscles and the best way to do this is to reduce the number of sets you do in each workout. The way I get the sets going when I have a long layoff is to do one set for each exercise and three exercises for each muscle group.

You will be able to measure when it is time to increase the number of sets by listening to your body.

  • Your muscles adapt quickly to any type of training so after a few weeks you will be able to add a whole to one of the exercises
  • and then another in another exercise maybe a week later
  • and as you get stronger you will feel you have more inside you after a little rest after a set
  • and it can come back with another set to push your muscles harder.

But it is more important to fail in each of your sets then it is simply to make more sets. Try your best to make each set more difficult instead of trying to get more sets per muscle group.

Number of repetitions per set

Lastly is the number of repetitions you need to make in each set.

The prevailing wisdom since I can remember is that for a large group of muscles such as your quads, chest, back, biceps, triceps or hamstrings you need to do four to eight repetitions per set after you've done a warm-up, it's very different if you are getting a workout for a team and muscle mass is not a priority when you are just looking to warm up your body to stay active, for things like pre-workout warm-up programs then this rule of X amount of repetitions per set does not apply, it is completely different, here you are looking for high repetitions, low intensity movements.

For smaller muscle groups such as calves or shoulders you need to do more reps per set, which means you have to do eight to twelve reps per set.

The way to do these initial ones anyway is to warm up and then make a light set for a large number of repetitions and then after your muscles are good and warm, move it up for a few rows then say the number of repetitions.

For advanced lifters, the last set is high for a small number of reps until you can no longer move the muscles, then undo it and try to get two more reps.

When a person starts lifting, it's really easy to do things.

The last thing you want to do is have a very hard workout and then not be able to get out of bed the next day because you are very sore.

The best feeling and results are if you made one weights to say and then it's a little hard the next day but it feels better after some stretching and the next day they feel next to the pain.