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How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout to Build Muscle?

Find your magic number and speed up your muscle gains.

When it comes to training, how many sets should you do per workout to build muscle? Jeremy Ethier explains.

How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout to Build Muscle?

“One of the most common areas of confusion among lifters is figuring out exactly how many sets per workout one should do. In fact, “how many sets should I do” is a question I get asked all the time. But when it comes to how many sets and reps to build muscle, there’s a lot of different opinions.”

“Some say to don’t need many sets per workout for muscle growth, whereas others are under the impression that you need to completely annihilate your muscles every workout. So who’s right and how many sets should you do to build muscle?”

Abs-exercises-marcus-steph How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout to Build MuscleSource: Photos Courtesy of CrossFit Inc / Deposit Photos

“Well first off, let’s discuss what exactly we mean by a set. So just to be clear, a set in this case will refer to a set performed within the 6-12 rep range since this is in line with the research I’ll be going through. If you do less reps than this, you will need more sets whereas if you do more reps you will need less sets. Also, each set should be taken close to failure with high effort. A warm up set doesn’t count.”

How Many is Optimal?

“With that out of the way, let’s find out how many sets to build muscle is optimal. So, we know based on recent research that more volume (e.g. more sets) leads to more muscle growth. This would make it seem that the more sets the better, right? Well, not so fast. There actually seems to be an upper limit to the number of sets per workout you should do before it starts to provide diminishing returns. In fact, it seems to be right around 10 sets for a single muscle group.

How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout to Build Muscle – Junk Volume

“So, for example when trying to figure out how many sets for chest you should do, you’d want to be wary of this 10-set limit and avoid going too far overboard when training your chest – as that can just impair recovery and is essentially “junk volume”.”

Across Different Workouts

“BUT – we also know that when it comes to how many sets per week you should do, around 10-20 sets per week is optimal. Which means that rather than doing all your chest sets in one workout as a chest day for example, you’d be much better off splitting that into at least two separate days per week such as with an upper/lower split.”

“This way you stay under the per-session set threshold, are now able to get in enough sets per week for that muscle, and will now be training at the optimal training frequency of 2x/week. All leading to better gains in the long run!”

So, it’s quite simple. First figure out your target number of sets per muscle group, and then work backwards to split that up most effectively throughout the week.

Video – How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout to Build Muscle

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Muscle Groups of the Human Body

The human body is an incredibly complex system of organs, muscles, and tissues. While we often think of muscles as the large masses that enable us to move our bodies, they are also present in smaller amounts throughout the body.

In fact, your heart itself has its own muscle group! The following text describes these different muscle groups and their functions:

How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout to Build Muscle? Back muscles

The back muscles are important to everyday function. They’re used to support the spine and help move it. For example, they allow you to lift heavy objects or push yourself up from a lying-down position without straining your back. The back muscles also work with other muscle groups in the body, such as your arms and legs, to keep you balanced while walking or running.

The back is divided into upper, middle and lower sections that consist primarily of spinal vertebrae (the bones in your spine) joined together with ligaments that provide stability for movement of this part of the body.

How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout to Build Muscle? Shoulder muscles

Shoulder muscles, also known as deltoid muscles, are located in the upper arm and are used for movement of the arm. They can be divided into three parts: anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (back). The deltoid muscle is used for lifting objects and rotating the shoulder joint.

Chest muscles

The muscles of the chest include the pectoralis major and minor. The pectoralis major is a large muscle that covers most of your chest, while the pectoralis minor is a small muscle that attaches to your ribs.

The major muscle in your upper body, this broad, fan-shaped structure covers a significant portion of your chest wall (from collarbone to upper abdomen). Its name comes from its origin on each side at either end of your clavicle (collarbone), and its insertion into one side of each tip of your sternum (breastbone). In between these attachments are two long tendons that connect all three sections together.

Heart, lungs, and the respiratory system muscles

  • The heart is a muscle.
  • The lungs are muscles.
  • The respiratory system is made up of muscles that help you breathe.

Intestines, stomach and digestive system muscles

The muscles of the intestines, stomach and digestive system are called smooth muscles.

These are involuntary muscles, meaning they don’t require conscious control to contract. They’re also known as visceral muscles, because they’re found in the walls of hollow organs (like your stomach) or tubes (like your intestines).

Bladder and Reproductive system muscles

The bladder and reproductive system muscles are located in the pelvis. In order to release urine, they contract and relax.

The reproductive system muscles control sexual functions such as intercourse, orgasm, and pregnancy. They include the vagina, uterus (womb), cervix (neck of the womb), fallopian tubes, ovaries (eggs) and other organs that make up a woman’s reproductive system.

Muscles of the arms and hands

The muscles of the arms and hands are divided into three groups:

  • Brachialis
  • Brachioradialis
  • Supinator

How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout to Build Muscle? – Muscles of the legs and feet

The muscles of the leg and foot are responsible for movement. They are essential to standing upright and walking, running, jumping and other activities.

Conclusion – How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout to Build Muscle

So, there you have it. A quick and easy guide to the muscles in your body. We hope this has been helpful for you as a beginner learner or even as an expert on human anatomy. Feel free to leave us a comment below if you have any questions about how we could improve this article!

Use the tips above to find out how many times you need to work out each muscle group in order to achieve your goals.

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