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Sets, reps and progression. please help

Hi i'm new to lifting and was wondering if I should lift a weight until i get fully tired for each set? e.g. set 1 = 10 reps, set 2 = 8 reps, set 3 = 6 reps.

or

should I aim for the same number in all sets, e.g. set 1 = 10 reps, set 2 = 10 reps, set 3 = attempt to do 10 reps but fail at 6 or 7.
 
That's a complicated question and will depend on what you want to do, your age, and fitness level now vs where you want to be.

If you're power lifting I suggest looking into Starting Strength, or Strong Lifts 5x5 to get started with reps/sets/proper lift form.
 
like @global_dev said, hard to answer without knowing what your goals are
I personally do more of a bodybuilding-style workout, I do high intensity training, which was first popularized by mike mentzer, and later Dorian Yates.
I kind of do the same style of workout that Dorian Yates did, where I do a few warmup sets, and do one set to absolute failure, which is the heaviest weight I can do for 6-8 reps. I train each bodypart once a week.
This training works for my goals, so I can only tell you what I do until I know more about your goals.
 
I was doing high intensity training for about 6 months but started losing too much weight with hi reps and low weight, so I've changed over to focus on building strength with some high intensity accessory exercises after the big lift of the day (either squat, deadlift, bench press, or military press). The program is 12 weeks alternating two phases where the weight goes up and the reps go down from 10, 8, 6 then deload and start back at 10, repeat until the 12th week and find something new to do lol. This was designed by a trainer name Jason Ferruggia - he kind of caters to the 40+ crowd.
 
I was doing high intensity training for about 6 months but started losing too much weight with hi reps and low weight, so I've changed over to focus on building strength with some high intensity accessory exercises after the big lift of the day (either squat, deadlift, bench press, or military press). The program is 12 weeks alternating two phases where the weight goes up and the reps go down from 10, 8, 6 then deload and start back at 10, repeat until the 12th week and find something new to do lol. This was designed by a trainer name Jason Ferruggia - he kind of caters to the 40+ crowd.
High intensity doesn't have to mean high reps. Note that @alla2465 is doing only one set of 6 - 8 reps per targeted bodypart. I assume he's lifting lighter weights super slowly. That's what I do, I'm quite fit and look it, and I'm convinced it's the way to go--esp for the 40+ crowd. Saves the joints and tendons, takes up far less time. Worked for Mike Mentzer, as noted. Take a look at Doug McGuff's vids on youtube and read his book, one of several by different authors on the subject.

I've also incorporated isometrics. Those are also intense and can be quite effective w/o all the wear and tear.
 
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High intensity doesn't have to mean high reps. Note that @alla2465 is doing only one set of 6 - 8 reps per targeted bodypart. I assume he's lifting lighter weights super slowly. That's what I do, I'm quite fit and look it, and I'm convinced it's the way to go--esp for the 40+ crowd. Saves the joints and tendons, takes up far less time. Worked for Mike Mentzer, as noted. Take a look at Doug McGuff's vids on youtube and read his book, one of several by different authors on the subject.

I've also incorporated isometrics. Those are also intense and can be quite effective w/o all the wear and tear.
I'm in my 20's so I go for the highest weight I can do for 6-8 reps, obviously if you are older you should go lighter for your joints.
But as long as it feels "right" it's all good, and only you can judge if soemthing feels right for you in terms of weight.
high reps never worked for me, seems to be more about indurance, and not about building strength or muscle.
I think a lot of people tend to lift the weight up slowly, but then go down really fast on the negative portion of the rep, and that is the single biggest mistake one can make.
imo, you need to be explosive and fast when you lift the weight up, this generates intensity and strength which you require to lift the weight, when you lower the weight, don't just drop it down, lower it very slowly in a controlled manner, you should be able to pause at any point when doing the negative.
So for doing thhe rep I would count to 1, and doing the negative lowering portion I would be able to count to 3-4.

Also something I think is very important, especially for the 40+ crowd that need to save their joints is to not lock out on any excercise. Locking out puts all the tension on your joints, not the muscle. Excess tension on your joints over a long period of time is asking for trouble, so I think stopping the rep before locking out is important for longevity.
Just my 2 cents on what works for me.
 
This is the first time I’ve heard advice to not lock out to save your joints. Everything I’ve read and been trained by pros is to lock every time or suffer serious injury, as in a barbell to the face.
 
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