Weight Training Sets Explained

 This month I am going to discuss the different weight training sets you can incorporate into your weight training. I am just going to keep it basic and not go into too much technical detail. The purpose is just to demonstrate how by utilizing these different methods of sets you can easily add variety into your weight training without needing additional gym equipment. This is perfect for people training in home gyms where you have a limited amount of equipment.

First of all, a set is a group of successive repetitions performed without resting.

Straight Set Training – Straight set training is where you use the same weight and same reps for all 3 sets. For example 3 sets x 12 reps. This is what all beginners should start out on, using 12-15 reps for each set. Just because it is recommended for beginners does not mean that you should stop using it when you reach advanced training levels.

Pyramid Sets- This is where you start out with a light weight and perform high reps. You then increase the weight and perform less reps. The sets would look something like this 15, 10, 8, 6 reps. This was all the rage with bodybuilders and I often find that once people have been training for a while they just use this method exclusively. Like any aspect of weight training it is important to incorporate variety so you will continue building strength and or size.

Set Rep Progression- This is where you use the same number of reps for each set, but progressively add more weight. For example Set 1: 12reps @ 50kgs, Set 2: 12 reps @ 60kgs, Set 3: 12 reps @ 70kgs. This is a more advanced weight training technique because to work these effectively you have to know that you will be failing at the end of the last set. If you fail too early, just drop some weight and pound out the remaining sets. If you do’t fail, perform another set with more weight.

Super Sets & Giant Sets- I touched on these last month. A super set is when you alternate between 2 exercises – for example you perform 1 set of bench press at 12 reps and then without rest, perform 1 set of lat pulls. This is repeated. Giant Sets are the same but use more than 2 exercises.

How many reps should I use in my set?

Just use these very simple guidelines:

5-8 reps if you are trying to build strength.

8-12 reps if you are trying to build muscle mass.

13+ reps for muscle endurance.

When you are constructing your workout just mix and match the different set methods. For example if you do 2 exercises for chest try the following:

Bench Press: Pyramid 15, 12, 8, 6

Incline Dumbbell Press: Straight Sets 3 x 12

If you combine these different set methods with the Weight Lifting Techniques discussed previously there is even more ways you can add variety to your training.

As to which method is the best, well there is only person who can work that out – you! Try each method out and be consistent with your training. Monitor the results and learn. Also remember that something that may work now may not future. So listen to your and body.