How to Perform SETS for Most Muscle Growth!

  • Published: 03 February 2019
  • The way you perform your sets can make a huge difference in the amount of muscle growth you can experience from your training. In this video, I’m going to break down 4 workout scenarios using the bench press as an example and detail how you want to perform it for maximum gains. From supersets to drop sets to straight sets, each will be shown so you can see which is the best when you want to build size or strength.

    First of all, it is important to differentiate between size and strength goals. While these two usually go hand in hand (particularly when you are just starting out and are experiencing newbie gains) they do tend to drift further apart the deeper your training gets). If you are chasing primarily strength goals then you will want to focus on any training set structure that allows you to achieve the highest strength output in your session.

    It is here that straight sets rule the day. The example shown in the video uses a 10 rep max for ease of math however, everything demonstrated can simply be scaled down to a lower rep range (closer to 3-5 reps per set) with the idea being to physically and mechanically overload the tension generated in the working muscle and build a better neural adaptation to the stress to spark strength gains over time.

    When you get into the more advanced training strategies like drop sets and supersets you are doing two things that start to interfere with your strength training. First, you are taxing the muscles in a way that could make it difficult for you to come back and train the movement again a second or even third time that week. This could compromise your ability to build the neural connection needed to see improved strength as quickly as you could.

    You also start mixing the signals you are sending to your muscles as to what your training goal is at the moment. If strength is the main focus of your training then you will need to relent on the inefficiency created by pursuing hypertrophy. Strength training requires efficiency of training. The two do not go hand in hand in this manner. As stated earlier as well, you will get size gains from your strength training so you do not have to feel as if you are completely abandoning the cause because you choose to train with straight sets.

    As for drop sets and supersets however, something interesting comes into play here. When selecting the exercise that you are going to perform you want to be sure that if you are doing agonist agonist supersets that you choose an exercise that is complimentary to the shortcomings of the first exercise performed. In this case, the bench press does not provide resisted adduction of the arms to and past midline on the chest. The standing cable crossover does. Pairing these up in succession is a great way to tax the chest and apply a stimulus for growth.

    Here you would want to forego the pursuit of strength however and look to maintain the volume of the bench press as you fatigue. It would be important to allow the weights to drop if needed in order to keep the 10 reps shown in the sample.

    Pre-exhaust sets are another way you can train these two exercises. You would simply change the order in which you performed the crossover and bench. In this case however, the bench press loads would be significantly compromised leading to a decreased effect on the chest than the previous methods. This is not bad however, just understand that this would be a better technique for training the triceps as an accessory to the bench press to improve their contribution to the lift without having to sacrifice full range of motion and perform partials.

    So as you can see, it matters how you perform your sets. If you want a complete program that matches your current training goals and shows you how to do every set in a step by step manner for best muscle growth and gains, be sure to click the link below to get started training with the ATHLEAN-X Training System today.

    For more videos on how to perform your reps for most muscle growth as well as the best way to build muscle fast, be sure to subscribe to our channel below and turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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Comments • 1 713

    ATHLEAN-X™   8 months back

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* - Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached!

    If you don’t win, no worries. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

    • Massive Iron
      Massive Iron  4 months back

    • Tito Real
      Tito Real  4 months back

      How do I enrolled in your program and how much does it cost?

    • John Louth
      John Louth  8 months back

      Hey what would you say my calorie in take should be a day I go gym six days a week I'm at 17% body fat and I'm 130 IBS

    • Christopher Huber
      Christopher Huber  8 months back

      Jeff your info is so damn solid. No absolutes, different training methods... a lot of your info is confirmed by my Hodgepodge lifting knowledge gathered from Omar Isuf, Silent Mike, Mark Bell, Furious Pete. Except you have an absolute command of so many different training methods. You are basically like a knowledge base of training information, and none of it ever feels like bro science.

      SHRADHA CHOUBEY  8 months back

      My upper chest is very much muscular as i have been working hard for like a month now to improve those upper pecs by various push up variants and using resistance bands... Now when I flex my chest, I find that my upper chest touch my chin and looks decent but my lower chest is very loose.. It is swollen when I don't flex and when i flex it is just very jiggly. What can i do to improve it? I am 15 years old and i dont want to stop my height growth. It would be very much appreciated if you could advice me some exercises without equipments and by just using my body weight to work on the problem. Thank you.

  • LilWeenySauce
    LilWeenySauce  5 days back

    “Let’s say 225 for 10 was our max”


    • waalex11
      waalex11  2 weeks back

      So, basically super drop sets.

      • justin case
        justin case  2 weeks back

        I have no idea what I'm doing right now.

        • Eric Tat
          Eric Tat  2 weeks back

          How many ways are there to skin a cat, Jeff?

          • Yael Garcia
            Yael Garcia  2 weeks back

            Translate to spanish pleaseee

            • swygster
              swygster  3 weeks back

              Take your brain to failure and get that gray matter hypertrophy.

              • deeconfrost
                deeconfrost  3 weeks back


                • Moon Sajjad
                  Moon Sajjad  1 months back

                  don't know what to do in those 5 min rest periods

                  • Mephistopheles019
                    Mephistopheles019  1 months back

                    Wtf..... The more I watch this, the more I know two things are true: I've been training wrong, and my bro-science is failing me.

                    • Ben Tyner
                      Ben Tyner  1 months back

                      What about pyramid sets ? Could someone help me with that

                      • jague2u
                        jague2u  1 months back

                        Hey Jeff I have great question. What if the machine for cross overs is too far from where you are benching? What would you recommend? For example, my gym in my home town has two floors and the cable machines are no where near the bench press. I would have constantly run up and down the stairs and risk losing my spot or there would be others already occupying the machine.

                        • Barnaby Jones
                          Barnaby Jones  2 months back

                          For gaining strength, isn't pyramiding the way to go? Ex: "warm up" with 157 for 2 sets, 10 reps, then 179 for 2 sets, 8 reps, then 201 for 2 sets, 5 reps, then 225 for 1 set of 5 reps then 245 or whatever you max out at for 1 or 2 reps? Again, for strength not definition

                          • FromBeToReality
                            FromBeToReality  2 months back

                            THUMBS UP!
                            then watch (and comment), whether you're going to utilize the information shared or not.

                            THIS was over my head and NOT applicable to me. (it's specifically for guys.)

                            • Paul Mangat
                              Paul Mangat  2 months back

                              What an amazing way of explaining, great job bro and thank you

                              • Dhanar Putra
                                Dhanar Putra  2 months back

                                At first, I go to gym only to strenghten my muscle. Just keep its muscle strong enough to lift a heavy shit.
                                Right after watch his video about pushing your muscle to the max potential but not to point of injury, I just get pumped to challenge myself.
                                Thanks Jeff.

                                • Carlos Perez
                                  Carlos Perez  2 months back

                                  Another awesome video. After 21 years without stepping into a gym, this is all brand new again. Lots of learning happening here. Things to look forward to, as I keep progressing in my foundational strength gain.

                                  • J Cee
                                    J Cee  2 months back

                                    One take

                                    • Richard Jackson
                                      Richard Jackson  2 months back

                                      I get bored waiting anything more than 2mins between sets

                                      • Ant Strength
                                        Ant Strength  2 months back

                                        JEFF ✊JEFF✊ JEFF ✊JEFF! ✊😂 AWESOME. How is it I learn so much from you over the years !? Ill tell you one thing , I WONT SAY THE Name of the "school" I was certified from , but I will say , I wish athlean x trainer school existed! We would have alot better trainers out there , and from my experience here in Florida, we got a lot of bums and morons out here trying to call themselves trainers , the industry here for trainers suck! Suck ! Lol hey I went to Marine Corp boot camp , but I'm sick of seeing all these "boot camps' being advertised . And they do well! Lol😅 housewives SMH 🤦 . Idk man guess I thought the industry would be different, I feel like Jeff and I had similar goals , to put out the truth and solid training guidance. Keep it up man 💪

                                        • Stéfan Adam
                                          Stéfan Adam  2 months back

                                          Too complex form me...... lost here

                                          • over seer
                                            over seer  2 months back

                                            Can’t wait to get to the gym tomorrow

                                            • Ahmad Hanifi
                                              Ahmad Hanifi  2 months back

                                              Aren’t the resting periods too long?

                                              • Pari lama
                                                Pari lama  2 months back

                                                Im confuse increase weight after set or decrease

                                                • Danny Bartelt
                                                  Danny Bartelt  2 months back

                                                  Yeah, but I’m looking for the most anabolic way to skin a cat :/

                                                  • Миша Ле.
                                                    Миша Ле.  2 months back

                                                    Rising sets?

                                                    • Keith Keister
                                                      Keith Keister  2 months back

                                                      Oh man! 30 years in construction ruined my shoulders. left front delt bigger than my right, medial delts really small, rear delts, they almost not there. GOT TO GET MY SHOULDERS RIGHT!!!

                                                      • Melk Tert
                                                        Melk Tert  3 months back

                                                        Scenario1 for me then

                                                        • luke walker
                                                          luke walker  3 months back

                                                          Jeff hoovers when he takes a dump for maximum quad gains!

                                                          • Action Zach
                                                            Action Zach  3 months back

                                                            I would love to be friends with Jeff.

                                                            • Attrazzione
                                                              Attrazzione  3 months back


                                                              • Jimmy Ramirez
                                                                Jimmy Ramirez  3 months back

                                                                Hi i’m Jim. combination routes at the gym like triceps, chest, muscles is it good and what is the best way to perform at the gym Jeff.

                                                                • A9
                                                                  A9  3 months back

                                                                  5 minute rest i'd fall asleep!
                                                                  problem with long rest breaks for me is I feel WEAKER after

                                                                  • Can We Get 1,000,000 Subscribers With No Videos

                                                                    People are surprised how he still has video ideas but im more impressed he writes essays in the description

                                                                    • over seer
                                                                      over seer  3 months back

                                                                      How do you know when you are no longer a newbie and are done with the foundation training???

                                                                      • Alexander Terminassian
                                                                        Alexander Terminassian  3 months back

                                                                        maybe one minor issue I have with Jeff he does not address( forgive me if I missed some relevant videos) the periodization, I do not recall him ever saying that some days should be not so heavy and maybe outright light. Even when I was young my heavy and rather heavy workouts ( no more than 4-5 altogether) were followed by some 1.5 - 2 weeks of lighter days. As my sum was slightly in excess of 1400 for under 200 lbs person that was not a totally erroneous method. Again, my apologies if I missed something but exercising always heavy and to failure...........

                                                                        • Carlo Gambino
                                                                          Carlo Gambino  3 months back

                                                                          HI Jeff, I came back today to add my own weight to these three Scenario's, in checking Scenario's one, two and four are correct when adding the weights v reps on both sides, however when we look at scenario three the math is off on the addition on both sides,e.g., weight v reps to cross over weight v. reps. Scenario three at the bottom when we add both sides we get 8,750 you wrote 8,550 you also wrote 570 lbs per minute in 15 minutes (GRANTED that is correct per minute if the addition were correct as well), it should be 583 lbs. per minute in 15 minutes with a total weight of 8,750 lbs. Also where you wrote 7,120 lbs. really adds up to be 7,100 19 minutes it should be 373 lbs. per minute, you wrote 374 lbs. per minute. I am a real math geek lol so I wanted to share. thank you again Jeff, I have my formula based on your intel, I am working out smarter now because of you my man! ROCK ON.

                                                                          • Carlo Gambino
                                                                            Carlo Gambino  3 months back

                                                                            I have been into density training for a few years and did not realize it, I would set my timer and crank out three sets of 12, curls, bent over row and over heads, I can do that in about 15- 20 minutes...I just thought it was a cool thing to that I am getting some education per se. I want to slow down, do more drop sets and make the muscles work harder, I am even doing that with the kettle ball.

                                                                            • Carlo Gambino
                                                                              Carlo Gambino  3 months back

                                                                              There is just too damn much intel on this channel/.. Every fufing time I look at my phone I see another video AHAHA Does Jeff have any down time? lol THANKS FOR showing me how to train smart. I read an article on Jeff they call him "The brains behind the muscle." not bad....

                                                                              • Ibrahim Ajami
                                                                                Ibrahim Ajami  3 months back

                                                                                Would u please do a reshoot for the video and talk slower, as people with english is there second language its hard to understand what u r talking about. Thx

                                                                                • Mario Valento
                                                                                  Mario Valento  3 months back

                                                                                  You can slow down the speed of the video in the settings for the video

                                                                              • Young Jesus
                                                                                Young Jesus  3 months back

                                                                                lmao I'm too stupid to even understand what he's saying.

                                                                                • Joe
                                                                                  Joe  3 months back

                                                                                  So many people waste their workouts because of a lack of understanding. To much misinformation is confusing the shit outta many of us.

                                                                                  • MrZer000
                                                                                    MrZer000  3 months back

                                                                                    What kinda drop sets are those, jumping between two weights? Dropset as i know:

                                                                                    • Tamer Said
                                                                                      Tamer Said  4 months back

                                                                                      5 min rest🤔🤔😃😃

                                                                                      • Randy Wiley
                                                                                        Randy Wiley  4 months back

                                                                                        Good stuff Jeff

                                                                                        • ICUS Free
                                                                                          ICUS Free  4 months back

                                                                                          Make it more simple your losing some of your audience.

                                                                                          • KD
                                                                                            KD  4 months back

                                                                                            5 min rest people will trip in the gym lol u done jet yeah 1 more set 10 min later fuck u

                                                                                            • canihazburgers
                                                                                              canihazburgers  4 months back

                                                                                              It took until 8:38...but there it is.