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Workout Sets: Different Types and How to Perform

It’s no secret that you need to work out if you’re looking to get a lean body, lose weight or have an excellent physique. However, choosing the proper workout set can be daunting, making working out sometimes overwhelming.


Also, the types of workout sets you may need to go through can seem complicated when you don’t know where to start as a beginner.


This article discusses various workout sets, including super sets, straight sets, drop sets, pyramid sets, and many more. We will also cover how often you should implement these exercises to get the maximum benefits.


Workout Set Types:


Pyramid Set


A pyramid set is a kind of workout where you adjust the weight and the number of repetitions as your training progresses. You begin your workout with high reps and lighter weights, progressively increasing weight loads and lowering reps.


For instance, you might execute 12 repetitions with 50 lbs in set one, 10 repetitions with 60 lbs in set two, and 8 repetitions with 70 lbs in set three. Pyramid sets enable a progressive increase in intensity and warm up your muscle gradually.


Straight Sets


Straight sets are the most common way to organize your weight training program. Straight sets entail performing a series of sets, one after the other, with rest in between. For straight sets, you use the same amount of repetitions and weight. For instance, for one exercise, you could do three sets of 12 repetitions with 50 lbs.

The method provides the best adaptive response for the trained muscles.


Super Set


The superset is a type of workout set where you pair exercises. In this form, you perform the sets immediately after the other without resting. You don’t rest, only when changing to take the position of the second exercise.


Supersets are divided into three types. They include:


1. Antagonist Superset


In antagonist superset form, you alternate exercises that work on the opposite muscle group. For example, you can alternate lat pull-downs, shoulder presses, leg extensions, and curls.


You can also pair an upper-body exercise with a lower-body workout, such as pairing bench presses with lunges or biceps curls with step-ups.  


2. Agonist/ Compound Superset


In this type, you pair exercises that work for the same muscle group. For instance, you can alternate between lunges and squats, seated dips and triceps extension, or bench presses with push-ups. 


All these supersets are essential, especially if you have limited time to work out. They allow you to do more excises in a short period. You can also adopt this kind of set to increase the intensity of your training as it reduces the amount of time you rest.


3. Tri and Giants Sets


Tri sets involve doing three exercises for the same muscle group without resting. A Giant set is when you do four or more excises of a similar muscle group. These two types of sets also increase the intensity of your training.


Rest-Pause Set


Rest- pause set is a set that allows you to perform more reps to failure with the same amount of weight. For example, you perform a set with a weight of 30 pounds to failure, rest for 10 seconds, and then execute another set with 30 pounds to failure, rest, and so on for a total of 3 to 4 rest-pause circles.


The short rest pauses in this workout aid in restoring ATPs and partially flushing accumulated lactic acid in muscles.



Pre- Exhaustion Set


In this set, you perform isolated exercises first until you exhaust your targeted muscle, followed by compound exercises.


Each progression set adds additional muscles to aid the work of the muscle under consideration. For instance, you may perform a lying dumbbell fly (a chest isolate exercise) followed by a bench press (workout for chest and triceps).


Lower body pre-exhaustion set exercises include leg curls (hamstrings isolate exercise), followed by straight leg deadlifts (glutes and hamstrings), and lungs (hamstrings, quads and glutes).


Pre-exhaustion set induces more muscle hypertrophic growth. However, it is advised that strength training beginners should avoid overtraining their muscles. Intermediates and expert trainers can do it with caution.

Circuit Set


Circuit sets entail doing all workout exercises one by one with short rest in between, only when switching to the new position for the next exercise. Circuit sets reduce the training period by reducing resting time and increasing muscle strength, stamina, and muscle conditioning.


Drop Set


A drop set workout is a training approach wherein you perform reps of a specific exercise until you cannot perform anymore. You reduce the weight load and repeat the process until failure and so on until you complete the training.


For instance, you might bench press 150 lbs until your muscles give out and you cannot perform more reps. Then, you would typically drop the weight by 10% and continue until you have completed your sets. Most weightlifters and bodybuilders perform three total sets of drop-set exercises.


When performing drop sets, it’s critical to maintain your rest periods as brief as possible –enough time to lessen the weight. Cable machines and dumbbells are ideal for this exercise because they reduce time wastage when removing weights from a barbell.


Types of Drop Sets


Drop sets are classified into two sorts. They both, however, share a common goal: to get every last repetition out of the exercising muscles. The two types are:


  • Plate Stripping


This strategy is only applicable while executing a barbell set. It lets you drop plates from the barbell between sets to lessen load – hence the term “plate stripping.”


Once you’ve done the required reps, you’ll need a training partner to assist you in removing the weight (one of the plates) from the barbell. But only if you’ve failed with your current weight. You proceed until there is no more weight on the bar.


The assistance of a partner also ensures that you do not take a break during the set.


  • Up the Sack


It is the simplest way to do a drop workout set because you perform it on a machine. The method also does not need you to have a partner to unstack the weight. You can do the workout set on your own. You can perform it by simply pinning and unpinning your weight up or down.


How are Workout Sets Beneficial to Your Body?


Workout sets are a great way to maintain a consistent workout. Here are some of the benefits of workout sets:


They Encourage Hypertrophy


Drop sets allow you to work all the smaller fibers of your muscles in a given set, exhausting your muscles completely.


A 2019 review found that this intensive resistance exercise enhances muscular growth, or hypertrophy, which refers to developing tissues like muscles or organs.


In the pre-exhaustion approach, you must first execute an isolated exercise to fatigue the intended muscle before performing a complex activity. These exercises encourage higher muscular hypertrophy growth in this way.


Boost Endurance


Drop sets are excellent in increasing muscular endurance. According to a 2012 study, researchers compared various resistance training techniques and found that the drop set approach effectively increases the overall workload in a workout program.


This research suggests that employing drop sets in workouts involving various joints contributes to the workload.


Maximize Short Time in Gym


Compared to other weightlifting and resistance training techniques, drop sets, circuit sets, and supersets help you maximize all your time in the gym. Doing standard sets allows you to do one workout at a time. If you are short on time, try one of the super-set types to hit as many muscle groups while you’re at the gym to maximize your pump. 


Increase Training Intensity


Workout sets such as pyramid training and supersets help you increase training intensity because they allow you to work with heavier weights with short/no resting periods between sets.


By doing fewer reps and taking less time between each set, you can increase the intensity of your workout without increasing the amount of weight or repetitions.



Improve Strength


Super sets can increase your strength. This can be particularly useful for people trying to lose weight, as it will help them build muscle mass and burn more calories during their workouts.


It can also help you improve your stamina and cardiovascular fitness, which means you can work out for longer without getting tired or out of breath.


Increase Muscle Mass


When you do a workout set, you’re essentially breaking down your muscles so that they can rebuild themselves more substantially than before. This process increases the size and strength of your muscles, improving your performance in sports or activities where you need to move quickly or explosively.


Which Workout Set Provides the Most Progress


All the exercise sets were designed to stimulate muscular hypertrophy or growth.  Supersets, tri-and-giant sets, and circuit sets can all increase muscular development, but they work better at defining and shaping the muscles. 


Drop sets and rest-pause sets result in increased muscular growth because of the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscle when stretched to exhaustion. Lactic acid also promotes fat reduction and muscle growth due to its impact on some hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone.


How to Implement Workout Sets and How often to Perform Them


Workout sets can produce results, but they are not something you should practice on a daily or even weekly basis. Give your body time to heal before undergoing similar stress.


As per 2012 research, working out your body to exhaustion and overworking your muscles results in higher amounts of adenosine monophosphate (AMP) compound. Elevated AMP levels may reduce muscle growth, which is the reversal of your resistance training objectives.


According to several strength coaches and sports trainers, you should include these workout sets in your workout program just once or twice a week.




Workout sets are very beneficial for bodybuilders and other athletes. They help strengthen muscles, increase stamina, build your physique and increase strength. However, these are advanced training methods; therefore, if you’re a newbie, you should seek the advice of a certified strength trainer or coach before doing the techniques.


A trainer will assist you in developing a regimen that is tailored to your fitness level and muscle-building requirements. If you opt to complete the workouts, have a spotter or partner if you’re using free weights, and don’t overtrain.






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