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Hi everyone,


I have been gone a while, getting things in my life in order and what not. But I am back now.

So I have finally found the perfect diet for myself and I have even dropped one size since April. I am feeling great and I am motivated again (I lost my track a little at some point).

I am even going to attempt the next 4 week challenge. Yay!


Anyway, so I am looking for a little advice from some advanced members on my sets and reps.

Its a simple question that I have really, and I am looking for a simple answer.


I do a one set of 12 low weights to warm up (about half my heaviest weight) and on my heaviest weight I am currently doing 3 sets of 8 reps for each exercise.

I am busy weight lifting to build lean muscle and lose all my extra fat. It is the only thing that has been working for me.


Sometimes I still doubt myself though. Am I on the right track or should I be doing 4 - 5 sets of 8 instead for a better result?

I am unsure if it is unnecessary to be adding extra sets. So far the 3 sets of 8 make me stiff but not unbearably sore. 

Is it necessary to add the extra and create more "post workout soreness" (for lack of a better description).

Or should I stick to my 3 sets of weight and just increase my weight when I feel that it is no longer effective?


What sets of reps do you suggest?


Thank you for in advance for easy to understand advice.


You guys rock!

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I'm NOT advanced, but I point out a few newbie things (cuz I had similar questions)


* the number of Reps depends on your goals.  more reps to exhaustion means you are working on muscle stamina.  Less reps (cuz the weight is much more) is working on muscle strength

* 4-5 by 8; seems like a Lot of 'Volume'.  that means you are lifting quite a bit.  for me I settled on 3 sets of 5.  increase weight rapidly to ensure that the Last set of reps is really hard

* if you want, STILL MORE-  once your last set is done and your arms are aching NOW REDUCE the weight and push more.  this is called "pyramid". if you don't need pyramid and can go set after set- are you sure you're PUshing enough weight?


I can't figure out if you are a newbie or not?  if you ARE- you should have no concerns about 'plateauing'  add enough weight till you are Barely able to push the reps and you should improve.


for me... Personally.  Given the Amount of different exercises I do- the chore of changing weights and proper gym ettiquette... I doubt I would have time to do more than 3 sets anyways.


online- I've read advise that weight lifting sessions should be BRIEF. its in the Recovery that you build and with proper technique you should be able to hurt yourself enough in 30-60mins,





the "NEW" normal is good with me! as Life was Never really Normal anyways....


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@TGPThanks a million for the advice.

I am not completely new, have been in the game for about 4 months as well now.

I was also on pyramid (did not know there was a name for it though). It was a program that a friend gave me, but I recently (about 3 weeks back) went to 12 reps warm up on low weights and 3 x 6 - 8 reps on heaviest weights (just another program with heavier weights - these weights I can actually feel much more than my previous program), and I was just feeling uncertain about it. (my previous program was more of a muscle endurance type of program)

My goal ultimately though is to build strength and muscle because that will ultimately help me lose the fat as well, plus it is something I have grown to feel passionate about because it makes me feel so freakin' awesome! Hahaha

I plan on increasing my weight either every 4 weeks or as soon as I feel that I can do 8 - 10 reps without hassle (in other words when it gets too light for me).

I guess that I was uncertain because I was used to the pyramid, but after the advice I think I am on the right and perfect track so I am going to stick to this then.

Plus, I am still sore from yesterday morning's workout so I also hence assume that I am on the right track. (Also, its been three weeks and my pants are a little looser which is also a good sign).

I just needed some kind of confirmation from someone else that I am on the right track. The internet doesn't have any simple or straight answers, and I feel that you gave me just that. 

I am truly grateful for your advice, thank you so much again.

You are awesome!

Have a rocking day!

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Wild Wolf,


Let's first put to bed the need for soreness: you don't need it. Actually, you're probably best avoiding it if possible, as that glycolytic burn can rob you of your capacity to lift heavy the next day.

Second, about how many times do you lift per week for each movement? 3x8 once a week will be killer during that workout, but you could likely fill in more per week. Additionally, this depends on the exercise you are using. For instance, I average between 50 and 60 total reps per week of squat, usually between 15 and 25 for deadlift, and sometimes up to 80 for bench. Note that not all of these are maximal lifts, as I wave volume and intensity--most hover around 75%--and these are over multiple sessions.

For squat and bench 20-30 total reps per session is pretty solid, and for deadlift, 5 is plenty. If your goals are both muscle size and strength, I'd do a 5x5: you add a grand total of 1 lift to your plate, and you can typically nail heavier weights with better form. End result is more (and safer) strength with similar gains in mass.


Hope this has been helpful

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If what you are doing is working for you, then stick with it.


When, it stops working, then, I would consider making a change, but, until then, just keep doing what you are doing.


With that said, I think sometimes people change things too much.


When you do make a change, it can (and should be, in my opinion) be as simple as adding an extra set, or resting a little bit less between sets.


You do not necessarily need to change up your whole routine.


Hope this helps

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It's really important to find a connection between the work you put in and the benefits you get out. "Post workout soreness" isn't a great long-term metric to gauge the effectiveness of your workouts.  It's subjective; difficult to say whether your more or less sore one week than the next.  


Find objective metrics that align with your goals, and aim to improve them every workout. Establish some records in terms of weight, sets, reps, rest-periods, etc and try to break your records.. For example, it's going to be very difficult for you not to improve your lean body mass if you improve the amount of weight you can use for 3 sets of 8 in the squat and bench press. If you have these metrics in place, you'll get immediate feedback every workout on whether you're making progress or not. 


Without good metrics to measure the quality of your workouts, the only thing you have to rely on is your internal sense of "how hard" you worked out. There's a few problems with that approach: 1) It's not fun! Grinding away and trying to subject yourself to as much discomfort as possible stinks. 2) It's hard to sustain for any length of time. You'll never approach two workouts with the exact same level of motivation, and if you're judging yourself solely on that, you'll get discouraged on days you feel slightly less motivated. And, 3) you can do all sorts of things that are incredibly hard and are completely ineffective. Endless jumping jacks can be brutal, but won't increase lean muscle mass. 


Establishing and tracking your metrics and records will remedy those issues: 1) competing against your own records is fun and give you something to look forward to 2) beating your records will reinforce the rewards of your hard work and keep you motivated. 3) if you choose smart things to measure, like how much weight you can lift in compound exercises, you'll know that your work is paying off. And if the metrics you're using aren't working to advance your goals, you'll have information with which to reassess your program. 


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