Hail to the Dinosaurs!
Last week I outlined a 5 x 5 workout and then covered
the question of poundage progression or weight jumps
from set to set as you moved from your first warmup
set to your work set.
And that led several readers to ask the ever popular
"How many work sets is best?" question.
"Is it better to do ONE work set on each exercise?"
"Or is it better to do TWO work sets?"
"Or are THREE work sets better?"
I refer to this question (because they're all the same
question) as "ever popular" because readers ask it
all the time.
If I had a nickel for every time someone sent me an
email and asked the "how many work sets" question,
I'd be a wealthy man.
So here's the answer.
NONE of the three options are better. They're all good --
but what works better depends on the trainee.
Now, having said that, let me note that doing two or
three work sets is very tough and very demanding.
So if you do multiple work sets, keep the number of
exercises to a minimum -- or only do the multiple
work sets on one key exercise per workout and do
the one work set option for the other exercises.
And, of course, if your training time is limited or
you're extra busy at work or school or things
are extra hectic in your life -- then do one work
Older trainees often do better on one work set
because it makes it easier to recover from your
And, of course, you can mix things up.
You can do one work set in each exercise in week
one -- and do three work sets in each exercise in
week two (using a lighter weight) -- and alternate
back and fourth from week to week.
I actually like that, because it gives you two
different lines of progression to follow -- one with
your weight for ONE work set and one with your
weight for THREE work sets.
Or you can do a program where you start with one
work set and gradually buiuld up to three work sets,
then add weight and drop back to one work set and
repeat the process. That works very well.
So that's the answer.
The rest is up to you.
In other words -- pick one of the options and carry
As always, thanks for reading and have a great day.
If you train today, make it a good one!
Yours in strength,
P.S. Go here to reserve your copy of my new book,
KNIFE, FORK, MUSCLE as we wind down the big
P.S. 2. I cover 5 x 5 workouts -- and many other
effective training programs -- in these books:
a. Gray Hair and Black Iron
b. Strength, Muscle and Power
c. Dinosaur Training
P.S. 3. My other books and courses are right here:
P.S. 4. Thought for the Day: "Make a plan, and test it
in the gym. Make adjustments as necessary. It's that
simple." -- Brooks Kubik