How Many Sets Should You Do Per Workout To Build Muscle?


One of the most common areas of confusion among lifters is figuring out exactly how many sets per workout one should do. In fact, “how many sets should I do” is a question I get asked all the time. But when it comes to how many sets and reps to build muscle, there’s a lot of different opinions. Some say to don’t need many sets per workout for muscle growth, whereas others are under the impression that you need to completely annihilate your muscles every workout. So who’s right and how many sets should you do to build muscle? Well first off, let’s discuss what exactly we mean by a set. So just to be clear, a set in this case will refer to a set performed within the 6-12 rep range since this is in line with the research I’ll be going through. If you do less reps than this, you will need more sets whereas if you do more reps you will need less sets. Also, each set should be taken close to failure with high effort. A warm up set doesn’t count.

With that out of the way, let’s find out how many sets to build muscle is optimal. So we know based on recent research that more volume (e.g. more sets) leads to more muscle growth. This would make it seem that the more sets the better, right? Well, not so fast. There actually seems to be an upper limit to the number of sets per workout you should do before it starts to provide diminishing returns. In fact, it seems to be right around 10 sets for a single muscle group. So for example when trying to figure out how many sets for chest you should do, you’d want to be wary of this 10 set limit and avoid going too far overboard when training your chest – as that can just impair recovery and is essentially “junk volume”.

BUT – we also know that when it comes to how many sets per week you should do, around 10-20 sets per week is optimal. Which means that rather than doing all your chest sets in one workout as a chest day for example, you’d be much better off splitting that into at least two separate days per week such as with an upper/lower split. This way you stay under the per-session set threshold, are now able to get in enough sets per week for that muscle, and will now be training at the optimal training frequency of 2x/week. All leading to better gains in the long run!

So it’s quite simple. First figure out your target number of sets per muscle group, and then work backwards to split that up most effectively throughout the week.

And for all-in-one science-based program that shows you exactly how to do this by optimizing every aspect of your training and nutrition for you, such that you can build muscle and lose fat as quickly as possible, simply take the body type analysis quiz below to figure out what approach is best for you: />


Abdo Megahid
Instagram: @abdohmegahed

Club One Fitness


Vector art from

Volume and muscle growth relationship:
James Krieger analysis:
More evidence for upper limit to sets per workout:


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  1. Hope you enjoyed this one! I’m planning out my content so comment below what other topics and video series you’d like to see me cover in future videos. Cheers!

  2. Bro I’m so confused. Ok if I have a ppl split and on my push day I have two different chest exercises that I repeat a total of 4 times would that mean that in the workout I am doing 8 sets of chest? The entire workout is repeated 4 times but since I have two different chest exercises that would mean I’m doing 8 sets of chest right?

  3. I have one doubt
    For example if iam doing chest workout
    I have flat incline decline etc… Like this i will do 6 variations… For Each variation i will do 4 sets (per set 8 to 12 counts)… Now 6×4 = 24 sets in a single session… Will this leads to junk volume or.. My schedule is correct?….

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