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How many total sets should I do during my strength training?

The number of sets you perform is completely dependent on your goals and your physical capabilities. For a beginner, you may start out as low as 5 to 12 total sets (1 set of 5 to 12 exercises) where an intermediate and advanced individual may perform 24 - 36 total sets depending on their goals (3 to 4 exercises per body part, at 3 to 5 sets per exercise). In the situation of the intermediate and advanced exerciser who is performing a higher number of total sets, it will be important to spread the workouts out appropriately throughout the week to ensure they don't over-train. Also, they would typically be training only a couple of muscles groups during a training session, as opposed to the beginning client can do more of a total body routine due to the lower number of total sets and thus less overall volume.

Your total sets are really going to be based on what your goals are.  Now if you are a beginner to strength training your sets maybe only 1-2 sets per muscle you are working for that day.  So you may only get through maybe 4-6 exercises with only 4-12 sets total for your workout.  As for the more seasoned athlete the sets will be much higher going from 3-5 sets per exercise.  Also make sure you give the body enough rest in between workouts to recover as well.  Again make sure you see a certified personal trainer if you have access to one to help map out your goals and to see a good starting point for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.