A Great Set/Rep Scheme Combination for Size & Strength

How many reps for how many sets? is probably one of the most frequently asked questions a strength coach gets

There are literally hundreds of great set/rep schemes

However, one of my favourite was taught to me by a former Mr. Universe by the name of André Maillé. Not only was he ultra muscular, he was also brutally strong. As in curling with his back against a post 225 lbs (102.5 kg) for 12 reps…Press behind neck with 315 lbs for reps

The system goes like this:


1. Pick a weight you can do 5 sets of 6 comfortably with.

2. Your goal is to achieve 5 sets of 9 before you increase the weight.

3. Every second workout do 2 forced reps on the last set to increase time under tension.

That is it. Simple? Yes! Effective? Yes!!! It is a patient approach to get bigger stronger. So in real life, it could look like this:

Workout 1

8,7,6,6,6

Workout 2

9,8,6,6,6 + 2 forced reps

Workout 3

9,9,8,7,6

Workout 4

9,9, 8,7,6 + 2 forced reps

Workout 5

9,9,9,9,7

Workout 6

9,9, 9,9,8 + 2 forced reps

Workout 7

9,9, 9,9,9*

* time to increase the weight till you are back down to 5 x 6. For small muscle groups, 5 kg is the norm. 10 kg for large muscle groups.

So this system works, it is for patient people interested in gaining solid mass and long lasting maximal strength. It matches Paul Carter’s concept of base building. Usually 2 exercises per bodypart are used with this system.

Written By Charles R Poliquin