Mix Up Your Sets
When you walk into the gym and start lifting, what kind of reps do you do? Do you have a plan ahead of time regarding how many sets and reps to perform?
I think most of us just take the usual route and go with 3 sets of 10 for every exercise we do. However, is that going to give you the best results physically? It may give you average results, and for some that may be enough, but for most it isn’t. It will get you somewhere with average results...but then you may plateau. Instead, I suggest you mix up your sets to achieve great results.
My biggest tip for strength training: Always mix things up.
Sticking to the same exercises and the same routine will get monotonous and your body will simply get used to it.
Instead, keep switching things up: choose different exercises, choose different equipment, and choose different types of sets. I discussed ways to “never do the same workout twice” in a past blog post. (insert link)
Vary your intensity and continually increase volume. That way you see continual results and progress.
Today I want to share with you How to Mix Up Your Sets. Instead of your standard “straight set”, try a different type of set for a month and then maybe another one the next month! I will be sharing 7 set types with you. All of which are great and fun ways to make your workouts more exciting and effective.
Before I do, you should know that when I use “_” it means a rest break.
PS- At the end is a video demonstrating them!
7 Types of Sets
#1 Straight (simple) sets: the normal type of set which is doing one exercise for multiple sets with rest in between.
Example: Exercise A performed for 3 sets of 10
#2 Super sets: Two exercises are completed back to back before taking a rest period. The two exercises could be working the same muscle groups or not. Ideal if you want to build muscle in less time.
Exercises: A and B performed for 3 sets of 10
#3 Tri sets: three exercises are performed directly after the other without rest; then rest afterward. It’s like a super set but with 3 instead of 2. The three exercises could be working the same muscle groups or not; they could even be part strengthening or part cardio.
Example: Exercises A, B, and C performed for 3 sets of 10
#4 Drop sets: doing one exercise and then lower/drop the weight about 20% to do more reps til failure. There is usually no rest period when dropping the weight in a drop set.
Example: Exercise A performed for 10 reps, then weight dropped to do more reps to failure (til failure means until you literally can’t do anymore- feel the burn!)
#5 Ladder sets: a long set where you do ascending or descending reps of one exercise. Ideal as a final exercise to burn out the muscle. It could be 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 or 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.
Example: Exercise A performed for 10 reps followed by a rest, then 9 followed by a rest, then 8, etc until 1 on the last set
#6 Pyramid sets: doing one exercise but slowly increasing the weight about ~20% with each set. This is a good way to warm up at the beginning of your workout.
Example: Exercise A performed for 10 reps with 8lb, then 10 reps with 10lb, then 10 reps with 12lb
#7 Timed sets: doing one exercise for a certain period of time with rest in between.
Example: Exercise A performed for 3 sets of 40 seconds
Example: Exercise A performed for 3 sets of 10 and then rest until the minute mark hits. Exercises done on the minute every minute.
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Great strength training tips! I really should start working out again! Thanks for sharing!!
Kim, thanks so much!
Mixing it up is necessary. Gets boring like everything else if you don’t change it up. Like how you gave us what you do and the sets
Candy, yes so true!
This is a great post, you gave some really solid information and advice to gym goers, especially those that are beginners and aren’t sure about mixing things up like you suggest.
Elizabeth, thank you!
Thank you for this advice Stephanie. I’ve recently started working out to get healthy and I had no idea about mixing up sets.
Kara, glad you learned something!
Thanks for sharing many tips for getting fit and healthy. It helps me a lot and my partner enjoys it as well.
Blair, thanks for reading!
Been doing your 4 week program guns and buns. That not varied