Best exercise selection? Straight sets, pyramid sets, supersets, tri sets, giant sets, drop sets

When designing a weight training program, you must decide how many repetitions, or reps, of each exercise you’ll perform. You must also choose how you will group these reps into sets. Here are a few things to consider when designing your programme.

  • Straight sets

Straight sets are the most commonly used in a weight training programme and they will look something like this.

Squats 50kg x 10 50kg x 10 50kg x 10

Repetitions are grouped anything between 1 and 16 depending on the exercise, body part, weight used and individual preference.

Sets are the groups of repetitions. I usually use between 3-5 sets in my training depending on the exercise, rep range, weight used.

Most weight training programmes will start with strength training (lower reps more sets) and end with higher reps less sets depending on goals

  • Goals

Are you interested in strength, building muscle, body part focus? Or do you just want to use weight training as a way to keep healthy? I don’t include fat loss here as I believe this has more to do with diet.

  • Training frequency

This will impact your daily exercise selection and the recovery time you have in between training sessions will impact how much stress you can afford on your muscles in each session.

  • Recovery

Recovery is underrated. I don’t just mean stretching and foam rolling but how well you recover in between training sessions. For example, drop sets will cause more muscle damage than a traditional straight set however a drop sets takes less time and if you are only training twice a week you will have more recovery time so in this case a drop set would be a more optimal exercise selection.

  • Adherence is key

Sure I could be working on an “optimal” programme for my goals but if I don’t enjoy it then I won’t do it.

Designing a training programme takes a lot of consideration and an individualised training programme can make all the difference to your training. Working with a good coach is a worth while investment. You will be able to work on a programme that suits your experience, lifestyle and goals.

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