Sets and Reps

Morning all

This week whilst coaching, I had one of my athletes ask me what was the reasoning behind the amount of reps and sets I had set them.  At the time they had just finished 3 sets of 3 deadlifts and were going on to 5 sets of 5 overhead presses and they wanted to know why they weren’t doing the 3 sets of 3 again.  

So this lead on to a conversation into a brief overview of the nuts and bolts of exercise science and a training methodology I have used for years to great success.  The methodology in question is one by Dan John, which he calls ‘realistic reps and the rule of ten’.  His method is ridiculously simple and to be honest that’s probably why it’s so effective, too many people seem to try and over complicate programming and it really doesn’t need to be.  

Anyway Dan suggests a couple of rules to use when setting sets and reps for strength training:

The Rule of 10

For your big compound lifts like your deadlift, snatch and clean and jerk, Dan says you probably have 10 good reps in you.  So these 10 reps can be split up into a variety of different set and rep combos, to get the best strength gains, some may look like 2 sets of 5 reps, 5 sets of 2 reps, 3 sets of 3 reps, you get the idea, pretty simple isn’t it.

The Rule of 15 to 25

The same concept as the rule of 10 applies now to the rule of 15 to 25, which is now for all your pressing, pulling and squatting patterns.  So just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, those 15 to 25 reps can get mixed up into different combinations like 5 sets of 5 reps, 3 sets of 5 reps, 5 sets of 3 reps, have a field day and make some different set and rep patterns up like 4 sets of 5, 5, 3 and 3 reps. 

Sets and Reps

Image Source:

This structuring of training is perfect for getting that minimal dose response needed to progress your training and can also prevent the overtraining effect.

I found an article by Dan John on this if you wanted to read from the man him self:


Give it a try and have a good weekend guys.

Stay strong and live, love and laugh!





This website offers health, fitness and nutrition information designed for educational purposes only.  You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.  Any images displayed have been done so identifying the source from where it was found.  Prior to use all images will have undergone detailed search to source the ownership of said image/s so to credit their work.  Any breaches of copyright or licence agreements will have been done so outside of the website owners knowledge and is happy the credit the original owners work or remove any image/s that do not wish to be displayed.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field