The number of sets per muscle group per session depends on the individual’s experience and skill level. For beginners, 1–5 sets is enough to trigger muscle growth. For intermediates, 2–10 sets per session is ideal, while advanced individuals can benefit from 3–12 sets per session. The target is to have the muscle be pumped and disrupted after each session, but not so much that recovery becomes a problem. The best approach is to start with a low number of sets and gradually increase, watching for overlapping soreness or a drop in performance, which indicates that it may be time to decrease the number of sets. The total number of sets per session will depend on the accumulation of systemic fatigue, which affects all the muscles and the body.
Dr. Mike is here to discuss periodization and hypertrophy. He answers the question of how many sets one should do when they train. For beginners, as few as 1 to 5 sets per muscle group per session is enough to trigger muscle growth. For intermediates, 2 to 10 sets per session is a good amount and for advanced trainers, 3 sets minimum to a maximum of 12 sets is a good target for hypertrophy. Overlapping soreness and a decrease in performance are signs that you are doing too much and it’s time to reduce the sets. The best approach is to start with a low number of sets and gradually increase until reaching a point of too much, then back away and reduce volume, then gradually build back up. The total number of sets per session should not be so high as to cause systemic fatigue that affects all muscles and the rest of the body.