– How Many Sets and Reps Should You Really Do?

mike-mentzer-dorian-yatesI can be a little on the stubborn side. If you’re an athlete, a lifter or a coach, you should be a bit stubborn. You have to stick to your guns if you want to be successful. Carve out a system of beliefs and charge full steam ahead. That’s how you get shit done.

Like Jim Wendler says, you should have a “Training Manifesto”. Establish a set of standards for your own training, but have an open mind with a filter, Wendler says. “You have to be open to new ideas, but you have to also be wary of what you read.”

When I first started grad school, my mind was shut tighter than Fort Knox. Nothing could unchain me from my get-stronger-at-all-costs attitude.

But then, for the first time since I picked up a barbell, my point of view was challenged. And when I disagreed with the information I was presented about exercise, I didn’t make friends very fast. It wasn’t until I learned to know my enemy and make use of this new information that I could understand why maybe I wasn’t 100 percent right all the time.

The heart and soul of this argument was the use of multiple sets (i.e. 3 sets of 10 reps) vs. single sets (i.e. 1 set of as many reps as possible until failure). Which was better for building muscle? As a powerlifter, I was in support of the former. But my professors, as disciples of research, supported the latter after 30-plus years of examining the data.

Who was right? The true (and annoying) answer is… all of us.

That’s right. You can use as few or as many sets as you want and still build muscle and strength. How is that possible? Check out my latest article on to find out how.


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