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How Many Sets Maximise Muscle Growth?

Is there a perfect number of sets you should be doing to get stronger?

Previously, we talked about how long you should rest between sets. However, how many sets maximise muscle growth? That is a valid question which we try to answer below.

You should know by now that training your body to be healthier and fitter is not an exact science. Much like individuals are unique with their own biology and genetics at play, the way someone trains might not be optimal for you, but it could be for them.

How Many Sets Maximise Muscle GrowthSource: Pixabay

That’s why it can be difficult to put a nail in the coffin and say for certain how many sets you should be doing or how to train this or that. However, we can give you a general idea and a ballpark number for you to try for yourself and see how it pays off.

So, how many sets maximise muscle growth? To answer that, we borrow the knowledge of Dr Mike Israetel who has a PhD in Sport Physiology and is the co-founder of Renaissance Periodization, a YouTube channel focused on hypertrophy.

Check out his arguments regarding how many sets maximise muscle growth.

How Many Sets Maximise Muscle Growth?

The golden rule of how many sets you should be doing is clear according to fitness coaches. It should be enough to trigger muscle growth, but not too much that would cause so much damage to your muscles that you cannot recover for the next training session.

So, how many sets maximise muscle growth? It also depends on your level of fitness and how often you go to the gym. Per muscle per session, here is what Israetel came up with.

  • Beginners – 1-5 sets per session
  • Intermediate – 2-10 sets per session
  • Advanced – 3-10 sets per session

Start with the lowest number that gets you the “pumped” feeling and add 1 or 2 sets per week as your muscles get used to the work.

how many sets maximise muscle growth

Regarding how many sets total per session, that number can vary between 15 and 25.

If you are training a big muscle, like the quads or back, that number will be closer to 15. However, if it is a smaller muscle like the biceps or calves, the number would be closer to 25. And maybe even more than that depending on your level of fitness. But be wary of doing more than 30 total sets per session as it falls within the junk volume category.

Junk Volume Weight Training – What is it and Why Must You Avoid it

There you have it, the answer to how many sets maximise muscle growth. To get a better overall view of the subject and listen to Dr Mike Israetel’s explanation, click on the video below.

VIDEO – How Many Sets Maximise Muscle Growth?

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