The Science of How Many Sets Optimize Muscle Hypertrophy

how many sets for hypertrophy

Within the fitness world, there seem to be diverse opinions on how many sets a person should perform to build muscle optimally.

On one end of the spectrum, some believe a low number of sets is sufficient, with some even proposing 1 set of repetitions to failure per exercise is all you need to build muscle.

On the other end of the spectrum, others suggest that so long as you can successfully recover from it, more sets mean more stimulus, thus the higher number of sets you can perform the better for muscle growth.

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The Science of Drop Sets vs Normal Sets for Hypertrophy

science of drop sets for hypertrophy

Drop sets are a so-called advanced muscle-building technique.

Generally, a drop set involves performing repetitions to failure with a given load and then immediately reducing the load (typically by 15-25%) and performing repetitions to failure again. Typically, one to three load reductions are done, but more can be done.

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Do You Gain More Muscle Fibers With Training?

muscle hyperplasia

In response to resistance training, muscles typically increase in size.

One of the most commonly accepted and supported ways that this occurs is via an increase in the size of their individual muscle fibers. This whole process is called muscle hypertrophy.

However, another plausible way muscle could increase in size is through something called muscle hyperplasia. 

Muscle hyperplasia refers to an increase in the number of muscles fibers within a muscle.

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