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I have a specific routine that involves weight lifting and cardio. In the weight lifting part I am doing 4 sets of 8 repetitions of several exercises distributed on 5 days. I am not sure if I should give more details but my question is not about the type of exercises to include. I feel like I am ready to increase the amount of exercise, which was my original plan, but I am not sure what is the best change:

  1. Switch to 5 sets of 8 repetitions.
  2. Switch to 4 sets of 10 repetitions.

Is there any difference between them in terms of the benefits they provide?

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What is your goal? Strength, health, body recomposition, sports? –  Dave Liepmann Aug 20 '12 at 12:34
1  
@DaveLiepmann Thanks for your comment. I would like to lose weight and define a bit my muscles, not necessarily make them bigger (I'd settle for looking like Bruce lee :P). My life is sedentary and that is why I wanted to increase the amount of activity. –  Karl Aug 20 '12 at 12:38
    
Do you have heavier weights? How heavy are they now? –  Dave Liepmann Aug 20 '12 at 12:40
    
I have access to the gym and the basic equipment: barbells, dumbells (lighter than 50kg which is OK as I am not that strong) and machines. –  Karl Aug 20 '12 at 16:13
    
add a lot of calisthenics to your workouts (situps, pushups, dips, pullups). Those are a great introduction to fitness and well-being. –  Andreas Aug 20 '12 at 16:44
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you're doing 4x8, I think doing 4x10 would be a better increase in volume than 5x8. Being able to do another set isn't going to stimulate growth. Lifting the same weight for more reps will be harder and stimulate at least some improvement in strength-endurance.

Better than both of those options would be to increase the weight and decrease the volume. Add five pounds and shoot for four sets of 5. If that works, then in the next workout add another five pounds, or do the same (increased) weight 4x8. The process can be repeated for quite a while.

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Thanks for your valuable answer. I will consider the option you mention in the last paragraph as well an experiment with myself. –  Karl Aug 20 '12 at 16:24
    
Why would a fifth set not stimulate growth? Does that plateau after 3 sets? This seems to counter the motivation for the 5-set volume day in the Texas Method. Or is your answer specific to his 8-rep range? –  Kate Dec 25 '12 at 21:37
    
@Kate Now that I think about it, I don't know that I agree with my August self. I tried to delete this answer but can't because it's been accepted. –  Dave Liepmann Dec 30 '12 at 23:27
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