In the gym, I stick to 3 to 4 sets (4 sets for compound exercies and 3 sets for isolation exercises) of 10 reps each. But the problem is I'm unable to maintain 10 reps in 2nd and 3rd sets.

I'm taking around 2min rest between the sets. During the 10th rep of the 1st set, I feel that I could do 2-3 more reps.

Of course, in order to reach my target 10 reps, at the end, I'm trying to cheat the reps by improper technique (using other muscle groups, using momentum etc.) or by doing incomplete reps.

  1. which one is better for hypertrophy, to do 10 reps in the 1st set, 8 in 2nd & 6-7 in 3rd (or) 10 through out all the sets?
  2. Should I decrease my resistance (weight)?

Another problem during my workout in gym is there is significant drop in my performance in later exercises. Let me explain this with an example: I do pulls/chinups first (3 sets of 10 but I won't be able to maintain 10 reps through all three sets) then after doing non upper body exercies when I do standing barbell presses, the weight I could press drops dramatically. Its because of those chinups/pull ups.

How to maintain good performance through out all the exercises?

  • Have you tried sets of circuit training? That is, instead of performing 3 sets of pullups one after the other, you perform 1 set of alternating upper and lower body exercises (e.g. pull-ups, which are upper body exercises, followed by squats, which are lower body exercises) and simply repeating the circuit multiple times. The alternating reduces the number of rests taken while the repetition increases your conditioning. See if it resolves the issue you currently have. Aug 6, 2014 at 20:48

2 Answers 2


There is no set rule that how many reps or how many sets will work for you . You have to listen to your body for your rest, reps, sets , hydration , diet, exercise etc and go for what best works for you. Getting fatigued as you spend more time in the gym training is normal . Now said that, what you can do is go for pyramid style of training . You start with one or two warm up sets with weight you can do 10-12 reps, and then go to working set , with max weight you can do 6-8 reps , and then decrease the weight from set to set . You will find the same weight more challenging , with which you were comfortable earlier. Don't hold yourself back if you can get few more reps in a set. Also cheating is allowed only in the last set of a particular exercise. Following this way you will be able to do exercises with more weight , get out of your comfort zone and develop those muscles. Also my advice would be to try reducing your rest period between sets , and also scrutinize your diet and water intake. The key here is


And this may come in the form of your reps , resistance or diet.


What you are describing is a pretty common occurrence. Couple that with how easy the body adapts to physical stress (ie. weight training) and the result is the dreaded training plateau. One of the best ways to maintain performance and possibly improve is to not let your body adapt to the physical demands placed on it. You can accomplish that by occasionally changing the reps, sets, and order of exercises. Variety is important in making strength gains.

  • I'm sorry but I didn't get you.
    – claws
    Aug 6, 2014 at 20:29
  • 1
    What specifically did you not understand?
    – rrirower
    Aug 6, 2014 at 21:15

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