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Quick Muscle Building with 3 x 10

Likely the most often used loading parameters for an exercise are 3 sets of 10 reps. This protocol has become the default setting for many weight training programs. So why is 3 sets of 10 so prevalent? Is it the best choice for your specific goals?

Sets of 10 reps result in a mix of myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This makes 10 rep sets an excellent protocol for muscle gain, but only moderately useful as a strength builder. Like any parameter, if you use 3x10 for too long it will be rendered ineffective. But if your main goal is to gain muscle then 10 rep sets can be an excellent addition to your weight training program.

Three sets may or may not be enough volume to cause significant muscle growth. It depends mainly on how the sets are performed. For example, if all the sets are done to failure then 3 sets will probably be enough for most people to gain muscle. However, if the first two sets are treated as an extended warm-up, and not performed anywhere close to failure, then it is likely that 3 sets will not be a sufficient stimulus to gain muscle.

Other factors to consider when selecting the number of sets for an exercise are the volume of the other exercises in the workout, the overall volume of the training program, and your individual recovery capacity. We canít generalize too much if we want to be accurate, but for most people in most situations 3x10 performed with a 10-15 rep max (the most weight you could lift for 10-15 reps for one set) will yield significant results until your body has adapted to this program.

Always remember that any protocol can work for a short period of time. Designing weight training programs that give long-term consistent results is the trick. The 3x10 protocol is no exception. So if you're looking for a good protocol to gain muscle then 3x10 may be the answer. But if you have already been using it for a few weeks or more then it may be time for something new.

Check out for information on gaining muscle and quick muscle building.

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