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What is the big deal about 3 sets in your workout

Three Sets Explained

There are many questions that you probably ask yourself about working out:
• Why is this so challenging?
• Do everyone’s muscles burn this much?
• When will this get easier?
• Am I the only one struggling to stay with this?

Why Three Sets?

I hear it from clients all the time: “WHAT? We have another set?!” By now, all of you should know that we are going to do three sets of most everything.

Usually, I respond with something like: “Let’s go, it’s not like your arms going to fall off.” or “Your legs aren’t going to spontaneously combust into flames. Just get moving!” But now, I’m going to take some time to explain WHY.

Why do we always put you through the torture of three sets?

When we exercise, we create microtears in the fibers of the muscles. These microtears, when repaired, are how a muscle grows.

During the first set of an exercise, we work the fibers that are typically used every day. For example, you are using your biceps when you bring food from your plate to your mouth to eat. Even though it only takes a few muscle fibers to conduct this movement, these are the same fibers used during your first set of bicep curls.

With the second set, we start to incorporate muscle fibers from deeper inside the muscle. These muscle fibers are not used as often.

The second set will exhaust the muscle fibers that are most often used and will now start to recruit the deeper fibers which aren’t utilized in normal everyday activities. For instance, these fibers might only be used when carrying a heavy box.

By the third set, we are now engaging muscle fibers that are deep down inside the muscle and are attempting to fatigue them as well.

Since these fibers are not needed as often, they aren’t exercised on a regular basis. The only way to strengthen them is to first exhaust the commonly used muscles, and then work the deeper muscles. These are the muscles used when lifting something very heavy, like a couch, or, better yet, stopping that couch from falling while moving it up a set of stairs.

Without conducting multiple sets, it is very difficult to reach the fibers deep inside the muscle and grow them stronger.

What’s more, every angle at which your hands, elbows, knees or other joints are held targets different fibers.

This is why your trainers introduce training variables into your workouts. We are attempting to fatigue the fibers deep within your muscles, as well as the frequently used ones.

When you start a weight training routine, you are often sore deep inside the muscle. But after a while, you are not as sore because the muscle fibers have reformed themselves to withstand the stress under which you are putting them.

Therefore, we as trainers continue to force your muscles under different stimuli and to ensure that they never adapt to the stress, that way they must continue growing to sustain the demand.

So, now that you know why we always do three sets, zip it and get moving!

Sarge Fitness sincerely appreciates your business and wishes you the best as you work towards your fitness goals!


(703) 328-0959 cell

Tom Kalka, President and COO

Sergeant’s Fitness Concepts, LLC



“Those who think they have no time for exercise will soon have to find time for sickness”

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