5 Sets, or Less, Per Muscle is All it Takes, True Training Story...
How many sets should you do for each body part?
Many gym rats will tell you 12 sets, 15 sets, 20 sets, 30 sets and in the extreme example of Steve Michalik's Intensity or Insanity Training up to 70 sets for each muscle.
This can be very confusing, should you do 12 sets or 20 or more sets?
I say you don't need anywhere near that many sets. Also who wants to spend all their time in the gym, when they don't have to?
First of all if you can do even 12 sets for a muscle you are not doing each set very hard at all, it's like jogging and sprinting you can jog for a long time because it is not that hard but when you sprint you can't do it very long because it is hard. In fact the harder/faster you run the shorter time/distance you will be able to do it.
It's the same with weight training, the harder you train the less time/sets you will able to do.
There is another factor involved and that is energy. Your body does not have an unlimited amount of energy available, so it makes sense to conserve it like you do any other limited resource.
The smart thing to do is to do a workout that will stimulate the most muscle growth with the least time and energy wasted, so that your body can use that extra energy you saved to make you grow bigger and stronger.
So how many sets am I saying you should do for each body part?
Five sets or less is all you need and you will also get faster results by doing so!
But wait, you say, no bodybuilder ever did so few sets.
Oh, really? I guess you never heard of Casey Viator the youngest Mr. America in history, or Mike Mentzer Mr. Universe and Heavy Weight Mr. Olympia. Or how about Dorian Yates who won the Mr. Olympia six times!
Yes, they all did 5 or less work sets for each body part and got big fast by doing so.
I myself, when I first started training was doing 10 to 20 set for each body part, but wasn't getting the gains I hoped for. It wasn't until I took Mike Mentzer's advice and cut back the sets while cranking up the effort that I really started making big gains in muscle mass and strength.
Ok, so how does this work? How do you fully stimulate a muscle to grow with only 5 or less sets?
Here's an example for chest:
Bench Press: 3 sets 12 reps, 10 reps and 8 reps, adding weight each set.
Incline Bench Press: 1 set of 8 to 10 reps.
Dumbbell Fly or Pec Deck: 1 set of 12 reps.
You would take each set either to the point or almost to the point of complete muscle fatigue or failure, where you couldn't possible do another full rep in good form no matter how hard you try.
You don't have to take all sets to total muscle failure but you should at least do one rep short of it and the next workout try for that one more rep.
Here's another example for biceps, which is a smaller muscle that doesn't need as many sets as a bigger muscle like chest.
Barbell Curls: 2 sets 12 reps and 10 reps.
Incline Dumbbell Hammer Curls: 1 set of 12 to 10 reps.
So why not give low set high intensity training a try? I'm willing to bet that you will never go back to high set low intensity training ever again.
To get the most out of your training you should also try Always Gaining Muscle Building Software