How Many Sets Should You Do Per Muscle Group?

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How many sets do YOU do per muscle group in a workout and why?

Don’t listen to the memes! Those last sets of your workout aren’t the ones that determine your results! In fact the first sets are the ones that cause the most growth.

More volume almost always gives better results, but each subsequent set of the same workout gives less results in return and pushing yourself too far can even have negative effects on your gains (though it takes quite a lot to get to this point).

Keep in mind this applies for each muscle separately and the “optimal” volume can vary greatly between individuals. This is why studies consistently show that increasing training frequency is almost always correlated to better results. The lesson here is that it is better to train less sets several times a week then it is to train more sets once a week. The more experienced you are, the more sets you will need to do to keep growing, but we recommend you start with 2 sets per muscle and progress up to 6 sets, finishing at 1-2 reps from failure.

EBT (Evidence Based Training) M.Ds with a passion for fitness & nutrition making science simple. Build muscle, burn fat, perform better. Like, comment & follow us on IG & Facebook, and check out for our full blog with tons of free content. Also please share research with us as we love discussions! The information above is not medical advice.

Source: Wernbom M, Augustsson J, Thomeé R. The influence of frequency, intensity, volume and mode of strength training on whole muscle cross-sectional area in humans. Sports Med. 2007;37(3):225-64.

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