Strength Training Sets

Strength and endurance training are two major pillars in any workout routine. You can try different kinds of exercise sets to tackle your strength training goals.
Strength Training Sets

Last update: 20 December, 2019

You should know and understand the different strength training sets that exist. This will help you to reach your exercise goals. Focussing on them today, let’s take a deeper look at each kind of set. Understanding them can help you plan out a routine that fits your needs and helps you meet your specific objectives.

In our post, learn about the different kinds of strength training sets and how to use them.

Different types of strength training sets

Just as we mentioned above, the different strength training sets are based on different objectives. Keep reading to learn about them in detail.

1. Supersets

Today, we want to focus mainly on antagonist supersets. Antagonist supersets are two sets of different exercises that work out two different muscle groups.

In addition, supersets don’t include rest periods between the two sets. For example, you can combine a bicep exercise and continue immediately to a tricep exercise. One advantage of doing supersets is that you can finish your workout fast. You rest one muscle set as you work out the other so you can eliminate breaks.

Adding on, when you work out an agonist muscle, the antagonist muscle gets a passive workout as well, which helps shorten its recuperation time.

2. Pyramid sets: strength training sets

We have to make the distinction between normal and reverse pyramid sets:

  • Reverse pyramid sets: In reverse pyramid sets, you tackle the toughest sets first and finish with the easiest. As you progress in the exercise, you increase the number of reps. First, start with 4 sets at 85 percent of your 1RM. Then lower at 5 percent increments until you reach 65 percent of your 1RM. This method will help you get through the challenging start without burning out before the finish.
strength training pyramid
  • Normal pyramid sets: Normal pyramid sets have the opposite set-up, starting light then ending heavy. They’re a great workout option if you want to save the heaviest for last and gradually build up to them. But make sure you calculate your 1RM accordingly so as to not burn out before you tackle the last set.

3. Post- and pre-exhaustion set: strength training sets

Let’s look at the differences between post- and pre-exhaustion sets. Both include an isolation exercise then move on to a compound exercise.

  • Pre-exhaustion: these sets start off with an isolation exercise, such as a bicep curl, and continue with a compound exercise, such as bicep pulleys. These sets work for exercises that require heavier weights, allowing you to work out a specific muscle group before fatigue hits.
  • Post-exhaustion: unlike pre-exhaustion sets, post-exhaustion sets start with the compound exercise and move on to the isolated exercise afterward.

4. Giant set

Giant sets are exercise combinations, usually 4 or 5, in which all the exercises work out the same muscle group. In addition, there are barely any breaks during the exercises.

Giant sets can be an interesting workout option if you want to tackle compound exercises or big muscle groups. These sets are all-around and start off intense but finish on a lighter note.

Use a heavier weight for your first exercises but finish the giant set off with something lighter.

5. Burn-out set: strength training sets

Burn-out sets primarily consist of finishing one routine and starting on another set to increase fatigue. For example, you could do bench presses, 1 set of 10 reps, and add on 5 additional reps.

strength training burn out

6. Bi-sets and Tri-sets

Bi-sets and tri-sets are routines that work out the same muscle group continuously with no breaks in between the exercises. The first case links two exercises together while the latter, three.

These multi-sets aim to increase metabolism past traditional levels. Aside from tackling different exercises, you can also stimulate the same muscle in different ways with these sets, which will make your workout more fruitful.

7. Forced sets

Forced sets rely on an external hand. First, you do all the reps you can do by yourself. When you reach your limit, another person helps you move the weight to add in additional reps.

Forced sets are great for building because they produce much more stress on muscles than normal workouts. However, be careful not to push your body too far or you might suffer an injury.

8. Cluster sets

Cluster sets divide exercises into shorter sets while adding in quick breaks in between them. This form of working out aims to achieve a fuller workout, increasing the efficiency of each set and rep.


There are so many different kinds of sets in strength training. But, no set is better than the other.

You have to choose the best set for your personal objectives. If you’re thinking about getting into strength training, look over the options again and choose the one that best suits you!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Augustsson J, Thomee R, Hornstedt P, Lindblom J, Karlsson J, Grimby G. (2003). Effect of pre-exhaustion exercise on lower-extremity muscle activation during a leg press exercise.
  • Haff, G., Hobbs, R., Haff, E., Sands W., Pierce, K., & Stone, M. (2008). Cluster Training: a novel method for introducing training program variation. Strength and Conditioning Journal,1(30), 67-76.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.