This review aimed to determine how many sets should be performed on an upper body muscle group per training session to optimize hypertrophy and concluded < 3 is similar to ≥ 3 sets. Despite the conclusions of this review, it’s necessary to take into account that a recent meta-analysis has concluded that 10+ sets per week is ideal for muscle growth.
Although this review concludes < 3 sets per session is sufficient to maximize muscle growth for the upper body, trained lifters almost certainly need more than that. It is possible that upper body hypertrophy is maximized with less volume than is needed for the lower body.
A 10+ set weekly target per muscle group is a good starting point; however, make sure to spread your sets out over 2-3 sessions per week, avoid failure most of the time, and progress volume when needed, not just for the sake of progressing it.
Article from MASS – Monthly Applications in Strength Sport. The best tool for any serious athlete or coach to stay updated on the latest fitness science and how to use it, in-depth.
As we are affiliates, EBT readers can get a free sample issue to discover how useful MASS is. A subscription comes with everything shown below and more!
Effect of resistance training set volume on upper body muscle hypertrophy: are more sets really better than less? doi: 10.1111/cpf.12476.