Weight Training Wiz: Which Set is Right?

Find the right kind of sets to fit your training goals

There are tons of different types of sets you can use for weight training workouts, but which ones are most effective? The answer is that they can all be effective, if done properly and, of course, depending on your fitness goals. Just changing the types of sets you do is a great way to switch up your workout routine and keep your muscles challenged. Here are five types of weight training sets, along with some of the benefits of each.

Straight Sets
Straight sets are the most basic kind you can do—a certain number of sets with the same weight and same number of reps each time, taking short rests in between. With bicep curls, for example, you could do 3 sets of 15 reps at 20 pounds, or 4 sets of 12 reps at 30 pounds, resting about 30 seconds between each set. Straight sets are commonly used by people looking to condition muscles and maintain strength levels. They are also good when you're just starting out. They'll help you avoid over-stressing your muscles as you build stamina and adjust to training.

Super Sets
With super sets, you alternate between two exercises, which can help you limit the rest time needed in between, thus burning more calories quicker. So, for example, you might perform a set on the leg press, then a set of shoulder raises, and repeat the sequence. These are also good for muscle conditioning and either increasing or maintaining strength, depending on the number of reps and amount of weight you use.

Giant Sets
Giant sets are similar to super sets, but more of a circuit-style training in that you rotate four or more exercises rather than just two. Also like super sets, these enable you to reduce rest time in between exercises, saving time and increasing calorie expenditure by keeping your heart rate elevated. These, too, will condition muscles and either build or maintain strength depending on the number of reps and amount of weight you use.

Drop Sets
Start at the heaviest weight you can handle while still performing a full range-of-motion. Once you reach failure at that weight, lower the weight and again perform as many reps as you can. Keep dropping the weight and going to failure, without taking breaks, until your muscles are completely fatigued. Drop sets are beneficial to anyone aiming for muscle growth.

Pyramid Sets
For each set you do, add more weight and lower the number of reps. So this could be a tricep rope press down set of 15 reps at 40 pounds, then 12 reps at 50 pounds for the next set, then 10 reps at 60 pounds following, and so forth. These also promote muscle growth by challenging your strength levels with heavier weights.

The story was first published on Karina's Fit Zone.