Tie Progression To 3 Or 4 Sets?

Discussion in 'General Bodybuilding' started by GruntKC, Jun 17, 2021.

  1. GruntKC


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    This isn't a "Is 3 or 4 sets better?" question, like the title may have made it seem. Below should explain better...

    I do 4 sets per exercise, but a lot of the time I find that even if I manage to get all the required reps in the first 3 sets, I can rarely get the same amount in the 4th set due to accumulated fatigue. I've had periods where I've been stuck at a certain weight for weeks due to this.

    So I've been thinking... Would it be best to just stick it out and keep trying to get the required reps in the 4th set, or should I just base my progression off the first 3 sets, but still do a 4th anyway? I love using 4 sets and feel it's the perfect amount for me, but the progression issue keeps cropping up with this, whereas it seems easier to get all the required reps when only basing it off the first 3 sets. I assume it's because by the 4th set I'm fully burnt out, whereas even though I'm quite fatigued by the 3rd set I can often still give enough to get the required reps.

    It's not that I'm looking for the easy way out, as I'm more than willing to put the effort in, but if basing progression off the 4th set is gonna have me reaching a stalemate for ages on end, it's THAT I'm concerned about. Not got an issue whatsoever with just sticking it out though and to keep trying, if that's gonna be the best option.

  2. s man

    s man Full Member

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    Why do you feel you need to do 3 or 4 working sets for every exercise?
  3. Richard Dick

    Richard Dick Full Member

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    There's dozens of ways to progress besides just incrementing the weight when you meet your rep target. Too broad a question to give a simple answer to. I suppose the easiest solution for what you're describing is to have a rep range like 6-10 instead of just 10. You need to get 10 on the first set and at least 6 on your last set in order to increment the weight next session. This will work for a bit longer than what your doing now but the real issue is you might be past the point of simple linear weight increases and need to start planning progression, deloads, rotating exercises, etc.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021