2nd Aug 2013

Tri sets – 1, 2, 3 to muscle growth

Tri sets – 1, 2, 3 to muscle growth

After a couple of years of productive weight training you will undoubtfully get into the dreaded rut of making minimal gains. Some people call this “hitting the wall” or “plateuing” – whatever you call it, it becomes increasingly nessessary to increase intensity and mix up training methods to make further progress. One such method is “tri sets”.

A tri set is one large set comprising of three sub-sets of different exercises which all target the same muscle group. This may be easier explained with an example (targeting the shoulders); the athlete performs ten reptitions of dumbbell lateral raises, then completes ten reptitions of upright rows, finished with ten reptitions of shoulder presses. These three exercises are performed back to back without any rest.

Tri sets are an advanced, high intensity training method which is guaranteed to push the target muscle group beyond its limit. The reduction to workout duration is more than offset in the increase in intensity. This makes tri sets a great option for when your workout time is limited, such as during a lunch break.

Examples of tri sets for different muscle groups

Back

Seated cable row 10 repetitions
Under-hand pull down 10 repetitions
Wide grip pull down 10 repetitions

Perform three to four sets of this tri set. Note how we have opted for exercises which use a cable station which makes it much easier to quickly change resistance levels between the three exercises.

Chest

Dumbbell flies 10 repetitions
Dumbbell press 10 repetitions
Chest dips 10 repetitions

Perform three to four sets of this tri set. The dumbbell flies are placed at the beginning of the tri set to pre-exhaust the chest fibres prior to the pressing exercises.

Triceps

Cable press down 10 repetitions
Close grip bench press 10 repetitions
Triceps dips 10 repetitions

Perform three to four sets of this tri set. As with the chest tri set, the cable press down is performed at the beginning to isolate the triceps and tire them prior to the other two compound exercises.

Biceps

Barbell biceps curl 10 repetitions
Alternating dumbbell curls 10 repetitions
Alternating hammer curls 10 repetitions

Perform three to four sets of this tri set. The three curl variations will offer great stimulus to the various arm flexor muscles, including the biceps.

Shoulders

Dumbbell lateral raises 10 repetitions
Military press 10 repetitions
Upright row 10 repetitions

Perform three to four sets of this tri set. The lateral raise isolates the lateral head of the deltoids prior to the over-head press and upright row.

Calves

Standing calf raises 15 repetitions
Seated calf raises 25 repetitions
Donkey calf raises 15 repetitions

Perform three to four sets of this tri set. The standing and donkey calf raises will target the gastrocnemius whilst the seated calf raise targets the solues. We finish on the donkey calf raise due to the stretch the calf receives which is desirable at the end of the tri set when the muscle is pumped.