We have a MASSIVE guide on the exact number of sets and reps (it’s where the video above comes from), but you can follow the basics here.
- If you’re just interested in getting stronger, you can do: 3-5 sets of 5 reps, with a focus on lifting heavier and heavier each week.
- If you’re looking to add more size along with strength, mix up your rep ranges. Sets of 5 reps will build compact explosive strength, while sets of 6-12 reps will build more size but less concentrated strength.
If you get bored, want to change things up, or you’re looking to bust through a plateau, you can do the following:
- This week, I might do 3 sets of 5 reps for each exercise (other than the core exercises), adding enough weight to each exercise so that it’s incredibly taxing.
- Next week, I’ll do four sets for each exercise, adding weight each time and doing less reps. For example, I’ll do an overhead press in the following sequence:
- 100 pounds: 12 reps
- 105 pounds: 10 reps
- 110 pounds: 8 reps
- 115 pounds: 6 reps
The good news is that no matter which path you take (pure strength, size, or a mix of both), as long as you are adding weight each week – and eating enough – you WILL be getting stronger.
ANY path will work, provided you are progressively overloading your muscles with an increased challenge!
What’s progressive overload?
Coach Jim explains it all for you right here:
Let’s provide you some examples here to continue to challenge your muscles:
- If you do 5 sets of 5 squats at 140 pounds this week, aim for 5 sets of 5 of 145 pounds next week.
- Or if you’re doing 3 sets of 10 at 100 pounds, then next week try for 3 sets of 10 at 105 pounds.
Get stronger, which is 20% of the puzzle. The other 80% is nutrition (which I cover later)!
As I said before, if you want even more info, you can head to our article “Determining the Correct Number of Reps and Sets” for a deep dive into the subject.