Usually the question I get is “do we have to do that AGAIN?” from one of my various trainees regarding performing a third set of a given exercise. Then, whether I catch them or not, they roll their eyes and assume I’m just trying to kill time!
Like most exercise programs what we assign is based off scientific studies which proved to be effective. In a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Condition found that 2-3 sets is best for building strength. They found that performing 1 set or 4-6 sets is less effective to build strength then 2-3. They also found that 2-3 sets works best across all demographics.
So should we do 2 or 3 sets? In my opinion, 2 if you’re a beginner is sufficient and 3 if you’ve been training consistantly for over a month. Worry less about how many sets you are performing and more about how hard you are working DURING the set.