How Many Sets Should You Do for Muscle Growth?

programming resistance training training volume
Man. Strength training. Lateral Shoulder Raise.

How many sets and repetitions of an exercise are required to change a muscle and get the look and performance results you want?

To find out what the research says, read more -

To determine an answer, researchers used common exercises like the bench press, front pull down, shoulder press, and leg press to examine the effectiveness of one, three, or five sets of exercise on body composition. After performing the exercises three times per week for six months the results showed that doing one, three, and five sets of exercises all decreased body fat percentage and increased muscle mass; however, the effects were greatest for the five-set group confirming a dose-response (volume or how many) effect for building muscle and reducing body fat percentage (Radaelli, 2015).

If five sets are good, then ten must be better according to the logic behind German Volume Training (GVT); however, when researchers looked at the effects of GVT (10 sets of 10 repetitions) versus a traditional five sets of 10 repetitions program on muscle growth and body composition the results favored five sets. Both the 10 and five sets training methods increased muscle mass but doing five sets only increased muscle mass more than 10 sets (Amirthalingam, 2017).

The takeaway message about how many sets to do is clear: to maximize muscle and overallbody changes, five sets of 10 repetitions per resistance exercise are the most effective.

Training volume or how many sets and repetitions of an exercise are required to induce muscle change is a long-standing debate in sports and fitness. To determine a dose effect, researchers used common exercises like the bench press, front pull down, shoulder press, and leg press to examine the effectiveness of one, three, or five sets of exercise on body composition. After performing the exercises three times per week for six months the results showed that doing one, three, and five sets of exercises all decreased body fat percentage and increased muscle mass; however, the effects were greatest for the five-set group confirming a dose-response effect for building muscle and reducing body fat percentage (Radaelli, 2015).

If five sets are good, then ten must be better according to the logic behind German Volume Training (GVT); however, when researchers looked at the effects of GVT (10 sets of 10 repetitions) versus a traditional five sets of 10 repetitions program on muscle growth and body composition the results favored five sets. Both the 10 and five sets training methods increased muscle mass but doing five sets only increased muscle mass more than 10 sets (Amirthalingam, 2017).

To earn CE credits and learn more about updated resistance training methods, take this course Build Effective Workouts Using the New Science of REP Tempo OR visit our course listings at Courses (physicaltherapy.education)

 References

Amirthalingam T, Mavros Y, Wilson GC, Clarke JL, Mitchell L, Hackett DA. (2017). Effects of a Modified German Volume Training Program on Muscular Hypertrophy and Strength. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Nov; 31(11):3109-3119.

Radaelli R, Fleck SJ, Leite T, Leite RD, Pinto RS, Fernandes L, Simão R. (2015). Dose-response of 1, 3, and 5 sets of resistance exercise on strength, local muscular endurance, and hypertrophy. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. May; 29(5):1349-58.

SUBSCRIBE FOR THE LATEST TRAINING R & D

Opt in to receive the latest updates on resistance training research for the gym and health and medicine.

I hate a ton of emails and promise to carefully select RT information to share. I will never sell your information, for any reason.