I am going to set a common misconception straight today, it’s one that almost everyone is unaware of, would you like to know what it is?
The terminology of the ‘working set’ is the misconception, the fact that people don’t understand what one actually is can result in one too many gains left on the gym floor.
A ‘working set’ is the number of given sets and prescribe reps that you will do at your weight.
When you hear someone say;
“We’re doing 6×8 today. Or We’ve got 15 sets today.”
To watch in horror as the do perhaps 1 or 2 warm up sets and the going in to their so called ‘working sets’. Many will often find they find the first few sets easy and this is a problem because what is shows is that they haven’t worked up to their appropriate working weight for their desired reps.
The ‘working set’ misconception is very very common, I have been guilty of it. Try to think of it this way; If you’re meant to be doing 5×5 on 80% of 1RM then that means all the sets (except the first perhaps) will feel challenge by the last couple of reps. This will lead to a progressively increasing oxygen debt which in tern helps your body adapt and get stronger.
The problem stems from not enough warm up sets (the more advanced a trainee is the more warm up sets will be required) 1-2 might be sufficient for a beginner, but for most average gym goers I would suggest 4-8 sets would be a better choice.
Alternatively you can just say to yourself
“I’m going to do 3×3 today.”
Followed by you working up to the heaviest amount you can manage for 3 reps before you lose a rep then do 2 more sets of 3 on the previous weight.
So either plan your training precisely and allow for enough warm up sets or just let the weight dictate the reps and keep adding weight until you hit your desired number for your working set.